Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Robinson: Adolescent Serial Killer

First Incident

On the morning of June 9, 1993, the police investigated a suspicious incident in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  A woman on East Gordon Street, waiting for her Morning Call newspaper, had looked out her window and seen the newspaper cart abandoned between two parked cars.  It was uncharacteristic of the carrier, Charlotte Schmoyer, to be negligent, so the woman phoned the police.  They called Schmoyer's supervisor, who had not heard from her and could not locate her, and then began to search the area.  They found the girl's bicycle abandoned as well, along with her portable radio, which gave them clear cause for concern.  She was also not home, only blocks away.

Charlotte Schmoyer
Charlotte Schmoyer

A few hours later, D.A. Robert Steinberg accompanied the police as they followed a tip to a wooded area at the East Side Reservoir.  They discovered a trail of blood leading from the parking lot and Steinberg noted a discarded shoe.  The tip was looking productive.  Then one searcher located the 15-year-old's body in the woods, covered with dead leaves and several heavy logs. Apparently her killer had grabbed her unnoticed early that morning.  No one had seen the incident, but a resident recalled a light blue car in the area, as stated in the Allentown Morning Call, while someone else reported a blue car at the reservoir. (It may have been one or the other, because accounts report both but no single source indicated both.)

An autopsy revealed that Schmoyer had been raped and stabbed 22 times in the back and neck before her throat was slashed open.  Three superficial cuts indicated that a knife had been held to her throat during her ordeal.  It seemed that her attacker had killed her while in the act of raping her.  After careful inspection of the remains, a pubic hair was found on Schmoyer's navy-blue sweatshirt and a head hair on her knee; these were preserved for later comparison with a suspect.

There were no real leads, aside from the blue car, and no clues from the scene of the abduction or murder, so this shocking crime went unsolved.  Residents wondered if the girl had known her abductor or if the incident had involved a stranger's random attack.  If the latter, then they were all vulnerable, despite the fact that the neighborhood had long been considered to be quiet and safe.  He could strike again.

The F.B.I., with an office in Allentown, offered the services of its Behavioral Sciences Unit, although no one then realized they may have had a serial killer in the area.  By that time, the BSU had had some success with devising profiles based on a single incident, although Kristin Casler of the Morning Call indicates that they did not actually do one for the Allentown murder.  They would have reason later to get more fully involved. 

Schmoyer was actually the second victim in a series of murders, abducted near where the first one had been stalked and attacked.  In fact, it would later appear to be the case that on the morning of the Schmoyer abduction, this offender had returned to the scene of his earlier crime, possibly to relive it.  He had spotted Charlotte, the kind of tall female he preferred, so he'd grabbed the opportunity.  He had just driven into the area when he saw her, so he pulled over to the curb.   Watching her ride her bike innocently toward him as she attended to her paper route, he jumped from his car to overpower her and force her into his trunk.  With this unexpected prize, he drove away, well aware of what he had done to another woman close by.


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