That same month a younger girl would meet a similar fate. Beaten to death, sixteen-year-old Maralynn Skelton was discovered soon after. Friends told police that she frequented an apartment that happened to be next door to an apartment owned by a male Eastern Michigan University student. That student was good friends with none other than John Collins, who had been seen spending time there. The ferocity with which Maralynn was attacked appalled the police. Not only had her skull been crushed, but she had been sexually assaulted with a stick, and her body appeared to show signs of flogging.
A few weeks later, the body count increased while the victim’s age decreased; thirteen-year-old Dawn Basom was found half-naked, strangled, with an electric cord still wrapped around her throat, her body discarded in a field. Dawn had last been seen walking alone down a dirt road. John Collins was spotted riding his motorcycle up and down the same dirt road.
A nearby abandoned farmhouse turned up the girl’s sweater. When police returned to search the house again a few weeks later, they would find more women’s clothing not belonging to Dawn.
A little less than a month later, the house was mysteriously set ablaze.
As if the public wasn’t incensed enough, not long after the teen’s murder, yet another body of a young girl was stumbled upon by a pair of teenage boys roaming through an empty field. University of Michigan graduate student Alice Kalom had been stabbed, shot, and had her throat violently cut.
As spring turned to summer, tensions were rising. Investigators had no killer, much less any leads, and the body count continued to climb. July 23, 1969 – a situation all too familiar to police played out once again. Student Karen Sue Beineman had gone missing. She had been seen leaving her dorm and heading to a wig shop.
Inside the shop, she told the store owner, “I’ve just done the most foolish thing of my life, accepted a ride from a total stranger.” Outside, a handsome man sat astride a Triumph motorcycle waiting for Karen.