ELIZABETHTON, TN — Students in a Tennessee high school sociology class have developed a profile of a serial killer they believe is responsible for a string of unsolved murders.
Teacher Alex Campbell invited his students at Elizabethton High School to examine six unsolved homicides known as the “Redhead Murders.” After working on the case for a semester, the class analyzed the behavior of the killer they chose to nickname “The Bible Belt Strangler,” according to USA Network-Tennessee.
The class used criminal investigative techniques as well as the Doe Network — an online national database of unidentified murder victims — to analyze six deaths they believe are linked. The six murders, which took place between 1983 and 1985, involve white female victims with red or reddish hair and slight builds.
Campbell was able to present the class’s findings to an FBI profiler, who reviewed the students’ work and validated the links they drew among the six cases.
All of the women were found next to roadways, and several of the victims appear to have been strangled or suffocated. There is, however, no evidence of sexual assault or torture. The victims are believed to have been hitchhiking or working as prostitutes.
The only victim of the six who authorities have been able to identify is Lisa Nichols, a 28-year-old woman from West Virginia with strawberry blonde hair. Nichols was found on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas, in September 1984. The other bodies were found in Tennessee and Kentucky and, in the past, police have investigated them as separate cold cases.
The students believe that all of the women were most likely killed by a single assailant and that he could be a commercial truck driver. Campbell said the class believes that the killer may have lived East Tennessee. They’ve also determined that the suspect would be five-foot-nine to six-foot-two, with an average to athletic or stocky build, and would weigh 180 to 270 pounds.
Most chilling, the teacher also said that the Bible Belt Strangler may still be alive. “We believe that he stopped probably because he stopped driving,” Campbell told the USA Today Network-Tennessee. “We believe he’s still out there.”
If you have any information that could assist this case, you’re asked to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1 (800) TBI-FIND.
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Main photo: Teacher Alex Campbell with some of his students [USA Today Network-Tennessee (screenshot)]