Friday, May 22, 2009

1969 Garden State Parkway Murders Revisted

It was 40 years ago today that Susan Davis and Elizabeth Perry, both 19 year old college students, packed their belongings from the Ocean City rooming house, drove across the causeway, ate their last breakfast at the Point Diner, and then drove onto the Garden State Parkway on their way home to Pennsylvania.

It was early in the morning, as they wanted to beat the Memorial Day weekend traffic.

Later in the day a New Jersey State Policeman, on his first patrol of the day, discovered their 1965 blue Chevrolet convertable on the side of the road, top down, and had it towed by Blazer's auto on Tilton Road.

Blazer put the car in his lot, and then went fishing for the weekend.

When the girls failed to return home, their parents notified the police, and then hired an airplane to search the roads they would have traveled, with no success.

By Tuesday morning, after the holiday was over, Blazer returned from his fishing trip, and saw the newspaper headlines about the missing girls, and the State Police realized that the car that was towed off the Parkway before the weekend was the missing car.

Searching the woods off the Parkway near where the car was found, just by the bridge over Patcong Creek, a Parkway employee Wood Faunce, discovered the bodies of the girls a few yards apart, stabbed to death.

The police set up a booth at the Point Diner, the last place they were seen alive, and solicited the public for information.

Following hundreds of leads, they came up empty, as the case was cold from the beginning.

Now, forty years later, people wonder what happened, what could have happened?

One major suspect, although not in the eyes of the police, serial murder Ted Bundy, was in the area at the time. Bundy had lived in Philadelphia, attended Temple University, and was driving a professor's car to California, using their credit card for gas.

Bundy says he went to New York city, went to the porn parlors at Times Square, and then drove down to Ocean City where he looked at all the girls on the 9th street beach. Davis and Perry were staying in a rooming house on 9th Street, a half block from the boardwalk, but wouldn't spend much time there. They went to the beach during the day and to Somers Point rock & roll bars at night.

Even though they were underage at the time, when the drinking age was 21, that was not a problem for beautiful college girls who dressed up and acted mature in those days.

After the bars closed at 2 am, they mingled with some new friends they had met, and then returned to their rooming house around 4 am where they packed their bags and headed across the Ocean City - Somers Point causeway to the Point Diner.

That's where they were last seen, and the autopsy showed that they ate breakfast about an hour before they were murdered.

There was one witness who says that they may have picked up a young man with his arm in a sling, who was hitch hiking. Others think they may have left with two young me who they had met earlier.

Bundy was considered a suspect by his prison psychologist who said, after Bundy was executed in Florida in 1989, that Bundy confessed to him of killing two victims at once, the first time he did it, and notified Atlantic City Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz, who discounted the Bundy story.

The New Jersey State Police didn't want to consider Bundy a suspect either, because if it was his first crime, their mishandling of the towing of the victim's car and late start of the investigation would have made them somewhat responsible for the fifty or so other murders Bundy has been suspect of committing afterwards.

But now, forty years later, another possible scenario has emerged, and it seems, has yet to be properly investigated.

MORE TO COME

5 comments:

christine lauman said...

I thought the original story was that these women were strangled. Now you are reporting that they were stabbed.
Also, where on the parkway were their bodies found? Was it in the area behind Avalon Carpet on Fire Road?

Nomy said...

I moved to Somers Point to work as a go-go dancer at Tony Mart's in May of 1966. After the murders my father warned me how dangerous it was for girls to be out alone.

But it was the 1960s. The Summer of Love happened in 1967. Love was everywhere and danger just seemed like a myth cooked up by our elders. The Point murders seemed like an anarchonism, a throwback to my parents' generation.

How quickly times change. By 1973 my previous roommate was killed by the Mr. Goodbar murderer in NY City.

The days and nights years earlier in Somers Point seemed so innocent, like a calm before the storm. Tony was strict about his dancers. He preferred college girls to create a wholesome image for his club. We were well protected and looked after.

Thanks, Bill, for letting me telescope back in time and place. Great perspective.

Mike said...

I just finished watching "The Lovely Bones" movie. The time line seems to jive with the possibility that Susan Davis may have fallen victim to the same murderer.

Susan Davis, is my first cousin. I've heard about the Ted Bundy, theory but always felt it to be a stretch. I wonder if Susie Salmon's murderer was ever considered to be involved in my cousins murder?

Susan, was 6 months younger than me, and her mother and my mother are identical twins.

BART said...

Mike, don't think it is cruel and unjust that Susan Davis become "known" only whe she died?
It might look as if she had never existed before. But she had had short but REAL life.
Mike, as Susan's counsin, please, can you write some kind of "memorial". Can you tell us about her - what she was like?

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