Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Melvin Rees -- The Sex Beast

One Mystery Solved

Map: Fredericksburg, VA
Map: Fredericksburg, VA

It had been two months since Carroll Jackson apparently abandoned his car near Falls Church, VA. According to Colin Wilson, on March 4, two men were riding in a car near Fredericksburg, Va., when it got bogged down in mud on a back road. To attempt to get some traction to get out, they went searching for dried underbrush. As they gathered several armfuls to take back to the car, they made a shocking discovery. A decomposing man lay in a ditch, his hands bound in front of him with what appeared to be a necktie. The men ran back to their car, worked with haste to get out of the rut, and drove as fast as they could to alert the police.

Detectives found their way to the body. Clearly, the dead man had been there a while, but as it was winter, the body was somewhat preserved, even for that part of Eastern Virginia. It was clear that he had been shot in the back of the head. Then, as they removed him from the ditch, they made another grim discovery. Underneath him was a second body, that of a female baby. Whoever had killed these two had simply tossed the child in first. There was no sign that she had been shot, stabbed or strangled, and the pathologist later determined that she had been dumped in the ditch alive and had suffocated beneath her father, probably soon after he was tossed on top of her. It was a cruel and brutal killing.

It was not long before the police had identified the victims as Carroll Jackson and his daughter Janet. Investigators surmised that the killer had forced the car off the road, much like the man whod encountered the other couple that day, and had forced them to get into his car, probably the trunk. Assuming that Jacksons wife and other daughter had suffered a similar fate, teams of officers returned to the woods to search the area for their bodies. But after extensive time and work, they turned up nothing. Wherever Mildred and 5-year-old Susan were, they had not been dumped there.

It was not until March 21, more than two weeks later, that they finally came across the missing members of the Jackson family, much deeper in the woods. Two boys out squirrel hunting, Wilson says, came across an area that appeared to have been freshly dug. Curious, they went closer to have a look. One of them moved some of the loose dirt aside and thought he saw something. They bent over for a better view and dug a little deeper. Then they saw what looked like blond human hair. They pushed more dirt aside and realized that they had found someone buried there - a little girl. Startled, they ran home to tell their parents, who called the police. Since the discovery was in the area where they had been looking for the Jacksons, they assumed that the boys had led them to Susans shallow grave. It seemed a tragedy for this family, but it was about to become much more than that.

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