Odd coincidences in the slayings of two Virginia children and Johns Hopkins University graduate student Alicia Showalter Reynolds have made Reynolds' mother wonder if the same pickup truck driver is involved in both cases.
"It's very eerie to me not only because of the truck but because the girls' bodies were found May 6, almost a year to the day after Alicia was found," said Sadie Showalter of Harrisonburg, Va.
The body of Reynolds, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, was found in Lignum, Va., on May 7, 1996, two months after accepting a ride from a man in a dark Nissan pickup truck who convinced her something was wrong with her car. She was driving through Culpeper at the time.
Virginia State Police say it's too early to draw any links between the unsolved killings of the Lisk sisters -- Kristin, 15, and Kati, 12 -- and Reynolds. Police said the unidentified killer in each case drove a clean pickup truck with chrome trim.
"The trucks are apparently different models, so it could well be we're talking about different suspects," said Lucy Caldwell, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman.
The Lisk sisters were abducted from their rural home in Spotsylvania County, Va., by a man witnesses described as driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck. Their bodies were found Tuesday after the killer had apparently thrown them into the South Anna River from a 30-foot-high bridge in Hanover County.
The site is about 55 miles from where Reynolds' body was found.
"The guy who abducted Alicia had a nice clean pickup truck with chrome trim. It could be that's the kind of vehicle he likes to drive," Showalter said.
Some media accounts yesterday suggested the Lisk sisters XTC were distant relatives of Reynolds, who had grown up in Virginia. But Reynolds' mother said yesterday that she couldn't confirm any relationship beyond the fact that the Lisk sisters' mother's maiden name is Showalter.
"We haven't been able to place them in our family tree," Showalter said.
Reynolds, a 25-year-old pharmacology student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, left Baltimore on March 2, 1996 -- a Saturday -- and was heading to Charlottesville to meet her
mother for a shopping trip when she was abducted. Police said a man in his 30s or early 40s flashed the lights of his truck to get her to pull over on U.S. 29 and made her believe her car was malfunctioning.
The suspect has been dubbed "the Route 29 Stalker" because of his apparent predatory approach to finding a certain type of woman. Police said he is suspected of flagging down two dozen female motorists near Culpeper before Reynolds' abduction, and some cases he drove the young women to nearby garages.
Criminal profilers said the man seemed to be "practicing" his technique in the other cases. Police say they have received more than 3,500 leads in the case, which was featured last fall in a segment on NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" show. The program is being repeated May 23.
Mark Reynolds, Alicia Reynolds' husband, said he didn't think the Lisk slayings were connected with his wife's murder.
"The timing of it is kind of weird, but I'd have to say that they're probably not related," said Mark Reynolds, a second-year dental student at the University of Maryland. "The sightings in my wife's case all involved little black Nissan trucks."
Pub Date: 5/09/97