In June 1977, the invention of youngster Velda Rumfelt’s frame in Eureka, Missouri, led the government on a decades-long seek for justice. Investigation Discovery’s ‘On the Case With Paula Zahn: A Stranger Among Us’ chronicles the tragic tale of Velda’s demise and the killer’s long adventure throughout the legal gadget. So, in case you are questioning what precisely came about on this case, we have now were given you lined!
Velda Joy Rumfelt was once born in Missouri, and on the time of the incident, she had moved to Kansas City, Missouri. The 16-year-old was once a sophomore, was once at the honor roll, and was once part of the gymnastics staff. Loved ones described Velda as a full of life and shiny younger lady who did neatly in teachers and differently. But tragedy struck when she was once on a commute to discuss with friends and family within the Brentwood space in Missouri.
Velda was once remaining noticed on June 5, 1977, on a side road in Brentwood, and her frame was once discovered on June 7, 1977, in a desolate space close to an amusement park in Eureka. Her throat was once slashed, and it gave the impression that shoestrings have been used to strangle her. Velda’s bra was once crammed in her mouth, and there was once proof of semen in her vagina, that means she was once sexually assaulted. The government accumulated Velda’s clothes and saved it as proof.
While the government labored to search out Velda’s killer in Missouri, a string of crimes took place in other places in Belleville, Illinois. 14-year-old Elizabeth West and 21-year-old Ruth Ann Jany disappeared below an identical instances in April and July 1978, respectively. The government later arrested Gregory Bowman for kidnapping a girl on July 20, 1978. At the time, the police had no proof connecting Gregory to Elizabeth and Ruth’s disappearances. While Elizabeth’s frame was once discovered two weeks after her kidnapping, Ruth’s stays have been discovered a few yr later.
While in custody, an inmate promised to lend a hand Gregory break out from jail if he not on time his switch to every other correctional heart. Gregory was once informed he may do this by means of telling the police about Elizabeth and Ruth’s killings. So, he confessed to killing the 2 women and supplied main points which handiest the killer can have identified. However, the break out plan was once only a ploy to get Gregory speaking.
Furthermore, Gregory later claimed that he were given the ideas in regards to the killings from newspaper articles and police reviews. However, in 1979, Gregory was once convicted of killing Elizabeth and Ruth in a nonjury trial. He agreed to not provide a protection in trade for the prosecution now not pursuing the demise penalty. About twenty years later, an impartial investigation confirmed that Gregory’s legal professional was once now not informed about how he was once tricked into confessing, resulting in an appeals court docket ordering a brand new trial in 2001.
At the time, the government handiest had the confession Gregory made to the inmate and no different proof that connected him to the crimes. It was once additionally discovered that bodily proof from the ones instances were destroyed since the investigation was once thought to be closed. The government in comparison semen on Velda’s panties to his profile to test if Gregory was once connected to another crimes. Gregory had supplied a DNA pattern in 2001 to turn out his innocence within the Belleville murders.
In 2007, Gregory was once launched from jail on bail handiest to be arrested once more after his DNA matched the organic proof from Velda’s lingerie. At the time of Velda’s demise, the government could not in finding the rest linking her and Gregory, however he had a historical past of kidnapping and attacking girls. During his criminal lawsuits in 2009, survivors testified that Gregory held them at knifepoint within the Seventies and threatened them. One of Velda’s pals additionally testified seeing her with an unidentified guy at the night of June 5, 1977.
In October 2009, Gregory was once discovered accountable of capital homicide and was once sentenced to demise. However, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the demise sentence after ruling that Gregory’s kidnap-murder convictions from 1979 have been improperly presented as testimony. While anticipating a resentencing listening to, it was once published that Gregory were terminally sick and recognized with a liver illness. On March 15, 2016, it was once reported that he died of herbal reasons on the Potosi Correctional Center in Missouri. Gregory was once 64 years outdated on the time of his demise.