A woman is abducted by a man who pretends to be a Good Samaritan.
On March 2nd, 1996, Alicia Showalter Reynolds of Baltimore, Maryland, said good-bye to her husband and left her home. It was a Saturday at about 7:30 A.M. Alicia planned to drive more than 150 miles to spend the day shopping with her mother in Charlottesville, Virginia. She left early, giving herself plenty of time to be at the mall by 10:30. Alicia’s mother arrived on time, expecting her daughter at any moment. But when Alicia was late, Sadie Showalter became worried:
Sadie continued to wait. An hour passed, then two, but Alicia never showed up. At 6:00 that evening, a Virginia state trooper found Alicia’s car abandoned along a highway near Culpepper, Virginia, 50 miles from the shopping mall. A white paper napkin had been tucked under the windshield wiper, a commonly used signal of car trouble. When the car was examined, however, there were no mechanical problems.
The next day, the local news began broadcasting reports of Alicia’s disappearance. Police set up a roadblock where Alicia’s car was found, hoping to track down people who may have seen something. At least three people claimed they saw Alicia talking to a clean-cut white man with a dark-colored pickup truck. Close to 20 women called to say that they had recently been approached on the highway by a man fitting that exact description. Police began to realize that whatever had happened to Alicia might have been a plot that had been evolving for weeks. According to Special Agent Thomas Carter with the FBI in Fredericksburg, Virginia:
At that point, the helpful stranger usually offered to drive the woman to the nearest phone. At least two women accepted his offer and nothing happened to them. Other women found the stranger to be anything but courteous. Agent Carter:
Rick Jenkins with the Virginia State Police believes the stranger was performing dry runs:
One week before Alicia disappeared, a woman driving in a neighboring county apparently fell for the same trick. Master Det. Leo J. McDonnell with the Prince William County Police spoke to her:
The woman broke her ankle, but she got away. Seven days later, Alicia Reynolds was not so lucky. On May 7th, 1996, two months after she disappeared, her body was found in a wooded area 15 miles southeast of Culpepper. She had been murdered, perhaps on the same day she disappeared. Rick Jenkins with the Virginia State Police suspects Alicia’s killer may be doing the same thing somewhere else:
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