Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Patrick W. Kearney: The Trash Bag Murderers

A Teen Goes Missing

About 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 1977, John LaMay, 17, told his next-door neighbor that he was going to Redondo Beach to see a guy he'd met at a gym in downtown Los Angeles whose name was Dave. When John didn't come home that night or the next day, his hysterical mother called the El Segundo police, certain that something had happened to him, claiming that her son didn't just go off for days at a time.

Police chalked it up as another teen runaway.

On March 18, the remains of John LaMay, who was homosexual, were discovered beside a highway south of Corona. He had been carefully dismembered, all the body parts washed and drained of blood, and neatly packed into five industrial trash bags. Each bag was carefully sealed with nylon filament tape, and three of the bags had been crammed into an empty 80-gallon oil drum, the other two left on the ground next to it. The boy's head was missing, but a birthmark clearly identified the remains as belonging to John LaMay.


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