A woman is abducted by a man who pretends to be a Good Samaritan.

Alicia Showalter Reynolds

Composite of the abductor and murderer

CASE DETAILS

Witnesses saw her with an unidentified man

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:

“Right about 11:00, she wasn’t there, and I said, ‘This is not like Alicia. I wonder what’s going on?’ But I made myself wait until 11:15, and I then finally called her husband, Mark.”

Mark Reynolds:

“At that point, I said, ‘You know, the weather is kind of bad this morning. You know, there was a little fog, there was a little drizzle. It could’ve been some slick roads. Maybe she just slowed down a little bit, so give her a little while and give me a call back.’”

He told women they had car problems

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:

 “Most of the witnesses talked about a man who would come up behind them or beside them in a dark, small pickup truck flashing his headlights, honking his horn, looking in any way he could to attract their attention. Most of the women that did have some concern for their vehicle did manage to pull off to the side of the road. He immediately jumps underneath the vehicle, conducts an examination, comes out, and then engages them in a very polite conversation about the mechanical difficulties that he has allegedly uncovered.”

Her body was found in a wooded area

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:

“Some of the women would not pull over for him, but merely went to the next exit or to their destination and had someone else look at their vehicle. The only instances where we have found the individual became agitated were those instances where women either refused his assistance or refused to pull over for him. And in those instances, there was a display of anger by him such as pounding his fist on the steering wheel or murmuring things under his breath.”

Rick Jenkins with the Virginia State Police believes the stranger was performing dry runs:

“Looking at all of the stops he made, I think we pretty much all agree that he was getting his courage up, if you will. He was practicing, getting comfortable at what he was doing with stopping these ladies, until he found someone that trusted him enough for him to carry forth what he intended to do.”

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:

“She said from the first moment she met him, he was soft-spoken. He seemed to be trustworthy. She had no problem with it at all. And she knew that she needed a ride home. She didn’t know how to get home. So she accepted the ride. As they were going along the road, he would slow down, and make the excuse that he couldn’t see because of the vehicles behind him. And he pulled off the road. He did this three times. We believe that he was trying to establish a place to do something. She became very frightened. She fought him, and he decided he didn’t want to fight with her, so he pushed her out of the car.”

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:

“It is possible that the individual has fled this area, possibly the state, and may be in another community now, where he may be preparing to start this same type of behavior again.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season nine with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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30 Comments

  1. Lee Kidwell

    Did they ever link the Showalter Reynolds case to Richard Marc Evonitz and the Lisk/Silva abduction/murder case? I lived in Spotsylvania, Va at the time of all 4 murders.

    Reply

  2. Dave

    Darrel Rice is a suspect. The woman that was attacked and got away testified against Rice as her attacker. MO fits. Rice has denied he killed Alicia. Search Darrel Rice route 29 stalker. Good chance he’s the guy

    Reply

  3. Linda Mathias

    I was followed after leaving work in August 1996 along route 29. He came up from behind my car in a small pickup truck. He proceeded to come up really fast waving me over and finally pulled up along side and motioned for me to put my window down. I rolled down my window and he said that my front right wheel was wobbling and to pull over. I proceeded to Interstate 70, as I was on my way home. He stayed on my bumper and flashed his lights on and off constantly. I finally pulled over right before the Marriottsville Rd exit on 70. I stayed in my car and he came up along side my drivers side window while, I only put it down about 4″ to talk He was soft spoken and pretty much had his face right up to the window . He said would not hurt me and to please come out so that he can show me the problem. He then went around to the passenger right side front tire and started shaking the tire roughly. I got out and yelled at him to stop and if there was a problem he’d only make it worse. He asked me to pop my trunk and I said I did not have a spare tire (which) I lied. He said he could drive me home or to gas station. I could tell he was getting agitated. He went around the back of my car and started trying to pull jerk open my trunk and at that time I walked back around to the front of my car to get in. I thought that this guy was really crazy and unbalanced and didn’t trust him at all. I told him that it’s wasn’t far to my husband’s job but, thanks anyway.. He walked up to me really ticked off and yelled “well go ahead but don’t blame me if something bad happens!” I looked passed him to see if I could see his tags, but none were on the front of the truck. I jumped into my car and locked it. He got back into his truck and sped by me getting all the way over to the extreme left highway lane like immediately. I then pulled out on 70 while trying to catch up to get his tag number. He was hitting 80-90 mph, and as I approached my turn off on Sykesville Rd he had disappeared. I will never forget what happened to me or his face. He had sandy brown thinning hair with no bangs maybe a few very very short wisps of bangs. A square face and pale complexion. He had polo style shirt with a members only 80’s style jacket and jeans. Prob 5’8″ not tall just a few inches taller than me and with a medium build. Maybe In his early thirties. He got really agitated and his mood changed in a second. I had red flags immediately with this guy. I am sure I could still ID him. I still get really mad thinking about him not getting caught. Especially, now that my daughter is driving. I should have reported it but did not have a tag number. I guess he thinks he’s clever getting away with all he’s done.

    Reply

  4. Hello

    I thought she was just missing? No one is looking for her anymore. They are just telling their stories….

    Reply

  5. Dan Faircloth

    This was in the early 2000s as late as maybe 2005 or 2006. I was talking to a girl in college who had an incident with a guy who fits this dude’s description on the highway in northern Virginia or MD. He tried the same thing with her: flashing his lights and trying to get her to pull over. She didn’t and I told her about how I had remembered this case from when it originally aired. She replied that she was glad she didn’t pull over. So this creep is still out there doing this stuff in the Baltimore-Washington DC area.

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    OMG, I saw this back in 97 but, they kept saying Virginia. One night in March96. I was driving in my van on 198 in laurel Maryland around 9:30pm I was taking my video’s back to channel 3 video when a guy started flashing his lights and blowing his horn yelling that sparks were coming out of the back of my van. Which looked like a work van. But, my husband changed everything inside there was seats and a bed in the back for camping with our 5 boys. Anyway. I pulled over he came up to my window and kept saying come look there are sparks coming out of your van. Well my husband was in the back of the van watching a movie with my son. So when I got out so did my husband. We both walked to the back of my van the guy started stuttering like he didn’t know what to say my husband said what are you talking about what sparks. The guy said there were. And jumped into his car and sped off. When I saw this on unsolved mysteries. I said omg. He might be the same guy? But, they kept talking about women in Virginia. I didn’t realize it was Maryland until I looked it up.

    Reply

  7. Anonymous

    In early 1991, I was driving out of Virginia into Ohio, and this man also did this to me. I did not fall for this and pulled off the exit. He pulled in front of me at the exit and was stopped and out of his car by the time I came to a stop. Being a sale rep, I carried a gun and had my hand on it as I rolled my window down about 2 inches and told him that I would prefer to go to the station down the road. I was of sound enough mind to take down his license plate and would like to add that he had a large metal tool box. He fits the description, but this man during this time was very thin on the top, he had no hair on his forehead.
    I took the license plate number and hurriedly called the state police explaining what had just happened to me and that I wanted to report that they had a predator in their area. She asked if he had hurt me or did anything against me, when I answered that he had not, but there was nothing wrong with the tire on my car, because the mechanic agreed that this man had played this game in order to hurt me. The woman on the line, refused to take the plate number with the make of the truck. I was extremely mad at her and slammed the phone done in her ear.
    I saw this very show years ago and just wanted to cry. His face has faded from my face and I kept that license plate number for some years, but it eventually got lost, but I will remember those clothes with the plaid shirt, jeans and light brown work boots. I deliberately burned everything into my mind. I am so sorry that I could not help you more and I am sorry that I was not stronger to pursue the matter further. All, I know is that I almost pulled over, but then I remembered my mother’s warning in my ears to never fall for this trick. It was obvious that this man worked in construction, on a farm, or some type of manual labor, because I believe he was on his way home from work. My impression is that he was not poor, but probably a solid middle class. The shirt he wore was a red plaid, he was very well-built and not an unattractive man, but the face I have attached to him now is the actor that played the crazy man in “Silence of the Lambs.” I don’t know his name, but he was about the same build and had similar features. Sorry that I can’t add more.

    Reply

  8. HR77

    Are the police so lazy or do they only do something after the fact?

    Reply

  9. Mary Baldelli

    I already posted my story but, I need to add a few things. He looked like the picture you have on here but, the truck was black with 2 white stripes down the side he had Virginia tags. The reason I remember is because my brother in law had almost the exact truck and I always look at tags. As we were back behind my van and my husband was talking to him I noticed he didn’t have a front tag. I was thinking why don’t he have tags on his car when he sped off I said to my husband he’s from Virginia what is he doing down here this late. Cause he stared following me on Brock bridge rd. Which is a backroom no one takes it endless you live on it it goes back through the woods. It’s only a small two lane road. There isn’t even street lights on that road. That’s why I waited to stop until I pulled on 198 cause it’s a main road.

    Reply

  10. Central Virginian

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the state police Culpeper Division toll-free at 800/572-2260, or the Bureau of Criminal Investigation toll-free at 888/300-0156 or by e-mail at bci-culpeper@vsp.virginia.gov.

    Reply

  11. J. Viper

    This is all in my backyard. I’ve traveled 29 and 360 hundreds of times. With so many sightings of the black Nissan truck with a green stripe, how were police unable to find this guy? Also, some actual suspects were named, Darrell Rice being one of them You would think the many near victims of this guy would have been able to positively ID one of the named suspects as being the guy who tried to pull them over. I’ve never worked in LE, but it just seems like that many sightings with a solid vehicle description to go by would be easy to solve.

    Reply

  12. Ruth Libby

    This makes me think of the Michigan disappearance of Paige Marie Renkowski. She was from the Lansing area.

    Reply

  13. Don't want to leave it

    What is the phone number to dial if you think you know something?

    Reply

  14. Johnny

    Alicia’s death was such a tragedy. Like the paragraph suggested, the perpetrator was practicing and gathering his courage. I think this case will be solved. He was witnessed by several people and they have a good description of him with the composite. I just hated this criminal. He took Alicia’s life and she was just a young woman. These criminals are very selfish. A profile of this criminal suggests:White male, college educated, loner type…Limited relationships with women. Lives in the Maryland-Virginia area. Probably 50-60 years of age now. Works possibly as a traveling salesman or work that requires driving. Hopefully, Unsolved Mysteries continues it’s great work and puts this episode out again in the near future. So many avenues with the evidence. They can solve this case.

    Reply

  15. Jen

    Oh my gosh. I just saw a repeat of your episode featuring this story. I would swear on my life I had a run-in with this man in June of 1995. My husband at the time was playing baseball in Frederick Maryland and early evening one Friday I was driving down 95 to Durham, North Carolina to meet up with the team. I got caught in traffic, so I got into Virginia around dusk. A dark pick up started following me closely and flashing his brights demanding that I pull over mouthing that there was car trouble and smoke was coming out of the back of my vehicle. This went on for maybe 10 or 15 miles, but For some reason I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right so I pulled off the highway at a gas station and by some miracle it was a full-service station that was still open. He followed me off the road and as soon as I stopped, I got out of the car and a mechanic approached me. Before the gentleman could get out of his car I explained to the mechanic what was happening so when the gentleman walked up the mechanic explained that they had it and they would take care of me. The man refused to leave and said that he felt responsible until I was safely back on the road. He was tall and what I would describe as a thirtysomething frat boy. Well-dressed with a kind of a preppy hair cut, and he did push his bangs out of his face a lot. He asked me a lot of personal questions, like where was I headed etc (that I did not give him answers to), and he seemed frustrated that the mechanic was taking so long. About 10 minutes later the mechanic approached me and said “I think I found the problem. hop in the car and wie’ll go for a ride down the road.” He proceeded to tell the gentleman that we would be right back and told him how nice it was for him to wait. We got in the truck and he drove approximately three quarters of a mile down the road, going back over the highway and in the opposite direction of the gas station. He pulled over to the side of the road looked white as a ghost and said “get in your car young lady and get out of here as fast as you can.” I asked him what the problem was and he said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car and there was no sign of an oil leak or anything else that would cause smoke in my vehicle. He told me something was not right with that man and he would stall him by walking back and hopefully that would put some distance between me and the gas station. He told me it would be dark soon and that he had filled up my tank at the station so I would have enough gas to make it to my destination and if for some reason that truck caught up with me again to absolutely not exit the road. I thought that was the scariest experience of my life until I was watching the program and saw pretty much exactly what happened to me playing out on TV. I only wish to this day that I could remember the exit that I got off on and knew who that mechanic was that helped me. I remember that whole experience like it happened yesterday and I’ve told that story to people so many times over the years. I’ll never know what happened when he got back to the station, but I hope that he called the police. If I had known about this sooner, I would have come forward with my story too.

    Reply

    • unsolved

      Thank you Jen. We have passed the information on to the authorities handling this case.

      Reply

    • umfan

      Whatever happend to the gas station attendant? did you see him again? He should have been questioned as well. I wonder what he did when he got back to the station, if he called the police or if the man following you did something to him!? what gas station was it?

      Reply

  16. N/A

    You should upload the video to this, I saw it years ago. Or where can you find the video? You were able to play it a long time ago online.

    Reply

    • unsolved

      Unfortunately due to guild restrictions we cannot post videos. But this story is still airing on both Lifetime and Escape in episode #SP107. You can check the schedule at: on.fb.me/1H02S89

      Reply

  17. Jane

    This happened to me in the 90’s traveling west on MD Hwy 70. I called the state police with a license plate number to report a man in a pickup gesturing me to pull over that something was wrong with my car. When I refused he was visibly angry and then made sexual gestures.
    The state police said they had his address outside of Frederick MD. but they couldn’t do anything about it. I doubt they even spoke to him..

    Reply

  18. Shannon

    I have a picture of a guy who looks exactly like the composite sketch submitted but I can’t load it onto this page!!!

    Reply

  19. J.R.

    Your welcome but I forgot to submit the suspect lives in or around Narrows Virgina.

    Reply

  20. J.R

    I watched the unsolved mysteries show like I always do when this case was profiled at the end they showed the composite of the suspect and gave a possible name of him of “Larry Breedan”. I searched the name and found a Larry Breeden that lives in Virginia about 3 hours from where the crime happened. He matches the sketch and appears to be a polite family man. The only difference is he now has a beard and put on some weight. After researching this case and the known suspects this guy fits the profile. He is an outdoorsman and likes to go hunting. He is still in the area. I looked up the previous persons comments and it is a 6 hr drive from where he lives to ohio where the person said the attempt took place. its not out of the question for this person to be on a hunting trip and drive to ohio. this lead needs to be checked out bc predators never stop he will try this again.

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  21. Jackie Franks

    I live in Warren Ohio and this same man diff this to me. I had my children in my car with me at the time and this man pulled up behind me in a ford pickup truck flashing his lights and beeping his horn at me! He then pulled up next to me and stated pointing at my car and trying to get me to pull over! I then called 911 on my cell phone and pulled my gun out from under my seat and pointed it at the guy he then pulled in front of me and took off! This man is still doing this and is now wearing a beard and glass! This happened to me about 3 years ago! I’ve never seen this man again! The police did not do anything about it

    Reply