Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Ripper


On Monday night, the first press conference was held.  Police attempted to reassure the public and put to rest some of the more frightening rumors that had begun to circulate, but due to the necessity of keeping many of the crime-scene details under wraps, there was little they could say to re-assure the frightened community.  The fact was that three young women had been brutally murdered inside their apartments, probably by the same killer, who was still out there somewhere.  There was little that could be said to make the situation less frightening.

The Gainesville phone lines were jammed as students called home to reassure parents of their safety, and parents phoned their children just to hear the sound of their voices.  Callers from all over the country called the GPD, wanting to know whether it was true that there was a serial killer on the loose.  Students, fearful of returning alone to their apartments, banded together, with as many as ten or twelve people staying together in the one apartment.  No one walked alone at night, or during the day for that matter.  Young women were wary of any young men they did not know, how could they be sure that the killer was not a fellow student.  Nobody could be sure.

The panic and fear reached its zenith the next day, Tuesday, August 28, when two more bodies were found.  This time one of them was male.  Now it was not only the women in Gainesville who feared for their lives.  Being male or having a male close by no longer offered anyone a sense of security.

Tracy Paules
Tracy Paules

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