Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Luxury: The Pampered Killer

Surviving Witness

Police composite sketch of the attacker
Police composite sketch of the attacker
Dorinda did not give up easily.  She dragged them both across the floor to try to reach for a weapon, something with which to hit out against this woman, but the rope was doing its work; she momentarily lost consciousness, giving the woman time to regain her position.  But then Dorinda revived and continued to struggle.

When she tried calling out to people she knew in an adjacent shop, her attacker urged her to be quiet.  He woman's voice was calm and soothing, as if meant to steady a frightened person.  It reminded Dorinda of the way a doctor or nurse might talk with a patient.  To her surprise, she heard the attacker say she was not there to rob the store but she did not elaborate on her specific purpose.  Clearly, she was there to kill.

Whenever she could, Dorinda begged to be released, saying she had children and did not want to die.  Yet she felt the life force slowly ebbing out.  She sensed she had little time left and according to the report she later gave, she heard the woman quietly instruct her to relax.  Dorinda finally felt herself fading into oblivion, so she took one last, deep breath before she passed out cold. 

Rivers of Blood, by Amanda Howard and Martin Smith
Rivers of Blood, by Amanda
Howard and Martin Smith
Dorinda remained this way, lying unconscious on the floor for about forty minutes, according to one newspaper, until a ringing phone revived her.  Getting up, she called for help and was transported to a hospital, where she was treated for head and neck injuries.  But she was alive.  Miraculously, she had survived an attack she knew had been intended to be fatal.

It was later found that some petty cash about $25 - was missing from the cash register, as well as money from Dorinda's purse.  The six-foot rope used to choke her had also been taken from the scene.  After being treated, Dorinda gave the police a description of her attacker, and they were able to make a composite sketch. 

"I don't think she was that much stronger than me," Dorinda said for the local newspaper, "but she had done this before.  She knew what she was doing.  She came here to kill somebody.  I have no doubt in my mind that she left me for dead."

To Die For, by Kathy Braidhill
To Die For, by Kathy Braidhill
This lead, gleaned from terrible trauma, would help to crack a case much larger than a simple robbery and assault; Dorinda Hawkins had been choked nearly to death by a female serial killer.  The police issued a statement on how unusual it was for a female to attack strangers.

Book after book purporting to be comprehensive guides to serial killers, and quite a few devoted specifically to female serial killers, fail to mention the person who not only assaulted Dorinda Hawkins but also killed several women.  Rivers of Blood, by Amanda Howard and Martin Smith, is an exception. The most comprehensive coverage is found in Kathy Braidhill's true crime saga, To Die For, and in articles from newspapers local to the crimes, especially the Press Enterprise out of Riverside, California.  By the time Dorinda came under attack, two other women were already dead.


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