LEX 18 On Special Assignment

Nov 1, 2012 5:12 PM by Josh Breslow

LEX 18 On Special Assignment: The Redhead Murders

Be sure to watch Josh Breslow's full report "The Redhead Murders" Thursday on LEX 18 News At 6.

Bill Brafford describes his town of Gray, Kentucky in Knox County as "a quiet, sleepy little village."

In early April 1985, a gruesome discovery along Highway 25 awoke that "sleepy, little village." The body of a woman was found inside a refridgerator. The victim had died from asphyxiation.

"Everybody was talking about it," said resident, Judy Black.

"It was scary to find someone just dumped," said Brafford. "We always suspected it was someone from out of town."

The story dominated local headlines. Investigators believed the woman, in her 20s or 30s, was trying to hitch hike from Bell County, Kentucky to North Carolina.

An estimated 500 attended the mystery woman's funeral. The ceremony was even televised, as people wondered who she was and how she died.

Weeks quickly turned to years and the woman found in the fridge remained a "Jane Doe."

"Could be you. Could be your neighbor. Anybody," said Black.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives noticed similarities to several other killings across the country.

"There was the idea that this might've been tied in with what was called the redhead killer," Brafford said.

A possible murderer who apparently targeted redheads. The victim in Knox County was just one of at least eight young women whose bodies had been found near major U.S. highways since October 1978. The other deaths were in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. No arrests were ever made.

To this day, many of the 'Redhead Killer's' potential victims remain unidentified, including the woman found in Gray.

"A little edgey to think that someone's still out there," said Brafford. "It still weighs heavily on my mind because that's someone's daughter."

"We were just talking about it the other day. Wondering what ever happened. Was it ever solved or anything?" said Black.

Decades later, investigators and the people of this small Kentucky town wait for someone out there who knows something to come forward, allowing this bizarre cold case to finally heat up.

The Knox County Coroner tells LEX 18, authorities have received a few tips on the case, including one just days ago.

If you have any information, contact State Police.

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