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Nov. 21, 1994: Five years later, Parkway Murders inquiry continues
During the past 18 months, the FBI agent assigned to the so-called Parkway Murders has made two trips to Texas in pursuit of a suspect, law enforcement sources say.
Though five years have passed since the last of the six killings and two disappearances known as The Parkway Murders, FBI officials say they're still developing and pursuing leads. They also are still not discussing many details about the case.
The morbid saga began when two women were found with their throats cut in a car drenched in diesel fuel along the Colonial Parkway, a few miles west of Yorktown, in October 1986. During the next three years, two other couples' bodies were found, one couple each in Isle of Wight and New Kent counties. The fourth case involves a young man and young woman on their first date, who disappeared in April 1988. Some items of their clothing, and the man's car, were found near the Parkway west of Yorktown, east of where the bodies in the first case were found. More than a year ago, F. Edward Schrader, a veteran of more than 20 years with the FBI, became at least the fourth agent to take a crack at the case. Schrader wouldn't agree to an interview. Thomas Love, the Norfolk FBI office's official spokesman, said "Because it's a pending, ongoing matter, discussion of specifics is not permitted."
Another law enforcement source says Schrader visited the Waco, Texas, area twice in 1993 to check into a man convicted in connection with one murder and arrested but released for a second one in the mid-1970s. By the mid-1980s, and at the time of the double-murders and disappearances in Virginia, this man was living on or near the Peninsula, another police source says.
On one of the visits, Schrader tried to get the murderer's brother to take a lie detector test, one of the police sources says, but the brother "didn't seem quite interested in it."
The four cases known as The Parkway Murders are:
* Cathleen M. Thomas and Rebecca A. Dowski, found dead in October 1986 in a car near the Parkway, west of Yorktown. They'd been strangled and stabbed.
* David Knobling and Robin Edwards, found dead at Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge in Isle of Wight County in September 1987. Both were shot in the head.
* Cassandra Hailey and Keith Call disappeared in April 1988 while on their first date. Call's car was found along the Parkway west of Yorktown with items of clothing from both young people inside. They are officially listed as missing persons.
* Daniel Lauer and Annamaria Phelps, of Amelia County, disappeared in September 1989 while on their way to Virginia Beach. Lauer's car was found at a rest stop on Interstate 64 and the remains of the two were found nearby in a shallow grave a few months later.
Update on Local news: FORMER DELEGATE MISSES LOCAL COURTS
In 20 years as a state delegate representing Newport News, Theodore V. "Ted" Morrison Jr. quickly became a legislator whose power exceeded his seniority because of his ability to persuade and cajole, and to kill bills he thought were misguided or poorly written.
Morrison left politics in 1988, and then a year later left Newport News - to go to Richmond to sit as one of three State Corporation Commission judges. The judges decide utility rates and rules for banking, insurance and other businesses, and run the corporation commission.
Morrison, a lawyer, says he doesn't miss politics at all. But he does miss the opportunity for what he called "the rough and tumble of debate" that helped him make his name in the legislature and in Peninsula courtrooms. The hearings he conducts for the SCC "have very specialized lawyers, utility and insurance lawyers, and one thing I've found is that they're very well paid. But it gets kinda dry."
Morrison says he tries to liven up, or at least lighten up, SCC hearings by "quoting something that President Clinton said that day, or maybe Rush Limbaugh." But the verbal skewering he used to relish is over, Morrison says, in part because while a young lawyer he always hated it when judges got too involved in a case and didn't let the attorneys handle things on their own.
Morrison says that during the five years he's served on the SCC, he's most proud of how he and the other two commissioners have maintained an even balance between the wishes of businesses and consumers who plead their cases. He says the commission is criticized from both sides, but "If both sides aren't satisfied, you're probably doing something right. We used to say, as lawyers, that if neither side in a settlement is entirely happy, it was probably a fair settlement."
Morrison says he's also proud that, when a representative of Gov. George Allen's "strike force" on government reorganization came to visit the SCC a few months ago, the purpose was to find ways for other state agencies to emulate the SCC's good service to people who came to the agency for help.
That was one of the goals that Morrison set when he took the SCC job, he says, and when the Allen administration strike force recognized the success "It sure made me feel good."
THEN AND NOW
(Compiled by Angela Seward)
25 YEARS AGO A new federal law authorized increases in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments to widows and children of veterans who died of a service-connected disability.
Under the new law, widows received the following amounts monthly, based on the service member's rank: enlisted men, $167 to $228; warrant officers, $211 to $238; and officers, $211 to $426. Widows of veterans who died from causes unrelated to military service also received benefits.
Today, recipients are no longer paid by rank. All receive a basic monthly rate of $769. A cost-of-living increase will up the payment to $790 effective Dec. 1, 1994, according to the Veterans Services Division.
10 YEARS AGO James City County supervisors decided against adopting what they called an unenforceable cat vaccination ordinance.
Required cat vaccinations had been recommended by the state Health Department because of a rabies outbreak that had begun in the Shenandoah Valley and was spreading south.
A 1988 state law required dogs and cats to be vaccinated before they reach 4 months of age. According to the Williamsburg Environmental Health office, more cats were turning up positive for rabies than dogs.
A similar ordinance took effect in James City County on Feb. 22, 1994.
Since 1988, five cats and one dog have been diagnosed positive for rabies in the Peninsula Health District.
FIVE YEARS AGO Some Hampton parents were shocked to learn they would have to pay 70 cents per day so their children could ride Pentran buses to school.
Hampton is one of only two Virginia school divisions where students pay for transportation. Hampton secondary school students have been paying to ride transit buses to school since the 1950s.
Currently, students pay 30 cents per day to ride Pentran.
Students are paying 20 percent of the projected total payment of $977,000 to Pentran for the 1994-95 school year.
School officials say their ultimate goal is to eliminate the fee.