Untangling The Many Murders of Ed Edwards: Did the Same Man Kill JonBenét Ramsey, Laci Peterson and… the Black Dahlia?

The rotting lily did not really want any gilding in terms of Edward Wayne Edwards‘ life story.

A profession prison, who within the 1970s wrote a memoir and gave public talks about jail reform and supposedly turning into a greater particular person, Ed Edwards died in jail in 2011 whereas awaiting execution for the 1996 homicide of his foster son, Dannie Boy Edwards. He was 77. 

On the similar time Edwards was serving two life sentences for 4 different murders—after DNA proof linked him to a 1980 double murder wherein the feminine sufferer was raped and strangled and her boyfriend was stabbed to demise, he confessed to fatally capturing one other couple in 1977. He was already behind bars in Wisconsin when he confessed in 2010 to capturing Dannie to gather on his $250,000 life insurance coverage coverage.

Edwards had spent half of his life out and in of reformatories, jail and jail for financial institution theft (which landed him on the FBI’s 10 Most Wished Listing in 1961), stealing vehicles and housebreaking. He was a drifter who was married 4 occasions and fathered at the least six youngsters. He had hidden in plain sight, even showing on the favored recreation present To Inform the Reality in 1972. He reportedly bought the film rights to his life story, however that film was by no means made.

Or was it? Have Edwards’ crimes really impressed numerous books, films and TV reveals over time?

Retired murder detective John A. Cameron believes that Ed Edwards was really a prolific serial killer, the lacking hyperlink amongst a dozen of essentially the most infamous homicide instances of the 20th century and virtually 100 deaths total.

Not all of them unsolved.

JonBenet, Laci Peterson, Elizabeth Short, Chandra Levy, Zodiac cipher

Getty; AP

Laci Peterson, the Black Dahlia, JonBenét Ramsey, Jimmy Hoffa, the Zodiac killings.” So Cameron ticks off a few of the victims he believes Edwards left in his wake in a teaser for Paramount’s six-part docu-series It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards, premiering Monday.

Cameron first laid out his principle in his 2014 e-book It is Me! Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You By no means Heard Of, wherein he additionally hyperlinks the Akron, Ohio, native to—amongst others—Chandra Levy, Martha Moxley, the West Memphis Three killings, Adam Walsh, the spouse of Dr. Sam Sheppard (whose wrongful conviction impressed The Fugitive) and Teresa Halbach, a reputation that would not have rung as many bells if the person convicted of killing her, Steven Avery, hadn’t been the topic of Making a Assassin in 2015.

The sufferer profiles are everywhere in the map—fairly actually, in that the Black Dahlia, aspiring actress Elizabeth Quick, was killed in Los Angeles in 1947, hundreds of miles away from the place the 13-year-old Edwards would presumably have been dwelling, two years after being kicked out of a Catholic orphanage in Ohio. Halbach, the final sufferer on the checklist, died in Wisconsin in 2005, when Edwards was 72.

Cameron insists that Edwards himself laid out the framework for what turned the ex-detective’s life’s work in his ’70s-era autobiography Metamorphosis of a Felony. Within the e-book Edwards inspired readers, “Do not be against the law sufferer. Be against the law stopper.” (He additionally wrote about assembly famed union chief Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared and not using a hint in 1975, whereas they had been each in jail in 1967.)

“This e-book was really a solution to all of the murders he had dedicated,” Cameron mentioned, holding up a replica of the 46-year-old e-book on Megyn Kelly At the moment final week. “He positioned all of the names, the cities, the states that he would kill in, and that he had killed in, after which he would tie all of his murders after he revealed this e-book to the e-book.”

In 2015 Cameron was contacted by Wayne Wolfe, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who was doing a little genealogical analysis on-line and his father (additionally Wayne Wolfe) requested if Wayne would search for his personal dad, Ed Edwards, whom he hadn’t seen since he was three years previous.

“I remembered speaking to my mother about him” in round 2004 or 2005, Wolfe, 33, informed E! Information in a current interview. “She mentioned he was a loopy man that went to jail for homicide…I could not discover something once I appeared it up. My dad by no means wished to look into it.”

What Wolfe came upon would change his life ceaselessly.

His grandmother Jeanette, whom Wolfe calls a “superhero,” was certainly one of Ed Edwards’ authorized wives however she had married him in opposition to her will after he threatened her household’s life. She divorced Edwards when he was in jail in Montana and proceeded to expel any hint of him from her life. Wolfe grew up figuring out and loving “Grandpa Chuck,” his dad’s stepfather.

After which his world turned the other way up. Or, in some methods, right-side up.

“Watch out of the reality that you simply ask to listen to,” Wolfe mentioned. He added later, “I came upon my grandfather was a serial killer in October of 2015. With one thing like this, as soon as you discover that out, the momentum that’s induced from it’s 60 years of strain that is been constructing. It is one thing that was a springboard that launched me to the moon. It has been a bizarre roller-coaster.”

Doing his analysis he got here throughout Cameron’s identify on the Wikipedia web page about Edwards, went to his web site and referred to as him up, leaving a message saying that he was fairly positive he was Ed Edwards’ grandson.

“It is a very implausible principle, to decide on any phrase, it is positively a really huge one,” Wolfe acknowledged.

It began for Cameron with a textual content that made its strategy to him in Montana in 2010 that described the M.O. behind the killings of two teenage in 1977 and 1980, which Edwards had simply confessed to. (Edwards’ personal daughter had referred to as in a tip to Wisconsin police after seeing a 30th anniversary particular on the still-unsolved 1980 killings of Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, each 19.) A retired chilly case detective, Cameron considered an unsolved 1956 double murder in Nice Falls wherein the victims had been two teenagers parked on a lovers’ lane, within the unsuitable place on the unsuitable time.

Cameron pulled Edwards’ rap sheet and found he had been arrested and carried out jail time in Billings, Mt., in March 1956. His ensuing three years of analysis would take him everywhere in the nation as he amassed a listing of just about 100 individuals killed over the course of seven a long time.

Branded: True Crime Books

Among the connections he made fell extra moderately inside the realm of chance than others. The so-called Zodiac killings that plagued the San Francisco Bay Space between 1968 and ’69 had been by no means formally solved, although numerous names have been floated. Robert Graysmith, the San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist and puzzle fanatic who labored to decode the cipher infamously utilized in 4 letters despatched to the paper that had been believed to be from the killer, superior the speculation that Arthur Leigh Allen (who died in 1992) was the assassin in his 1986 best-seller Zodiac. The nameless self-proclaimed killer finally took credit score for 34 murders.

The additional weird items of the puzzle began clicking into place for Cameron when he found that Edwards had been running a blog on Zodiackiller.com beginning in 2000, all the best way till he was arrested in 2009 for the murders of Hack and Drew. He wrote about enlisting a colleague, a language knowledgeable and puzzle fanatic named Neal Greatest, to assist clear up the cipher and “Edward Edwards” match proper into the Zodiac killer’s 60s-era puzzles.

He then decided that Edwards was behind the web site blackdahliasolution.org, on which he discovered a photograph that he recognized as being of a 13-year-old Ed Edwards with Elizabeth Quick, taken at a penny arcade. Additionally via coded entries, Edwards seemingly identifies himself as Quick’s killer, in accordance with Cameron, who famous that within the FAQ part, the location’s writer wrote, “In January of 1947 I used to be 13 years previous.”

Elizabeth Short, Black Dahlia, True Crime Week


After Quick’s homicide (about which many books have been written and which has remained so morbidly fascinating that it was a plot level in American Horror Story just some years in the past), a person claiming to be the killer contacted town editor of the Los Angeles Examiner—somewhat greater than 20 years earlier than the Zodiac killer contacted town editor of the San Francisco Chronicle

The net woven by Cameron stretches far and vast.

“From the time he began killing in 1945 to the time he received caught in 2009, it was unbelievable what number of he killed, simply within the eight-month interval he was with Wayne’s grandma [alone]” Cameron informed Megyn Kelly on Today final week. “He killed eight, and two of them in my hometown on a lovers’ lane.”

Explaining the convoluted-sounding Zodiac connection, Cameron mentioned, “There have been two cryptograms despatched in by the Zodiac killer, one in ’69 and one in ’70…and he mainly mentioned, ‘if you happen to clear up these puzzles then you definately’ll have my identify.’ And in 2010, once we confronted Ed Edwards about being the Zodiac killer after we solved the 13-character cipher—Edward Edwards’ identify is 13 characters. And what he had carried out was taken the letters in his identify and reverse-imaged the letters as hieroglyphics, so you would by no means clear up the Zodiac case with out figuring out the identify ‘Edward Edwards.’

Zodiac Killer, True Crime Week


“As soon as we did we confronted him, he despatched us a letter saying ‘it is me, you do not know the entire story, I’ve loads to let you know.’ And that he framed individuals his complete life. That is what he wished me to know on the very starting. That is what he wished me to know, that he meant to border anyone.”

(There is a cause an entire e-book and a 6-part collection are wanted to elucidate all this.)

As for framing individuals, Cameron’s theories purport to unravel a number of formally unsolved instances, together with these of JonBenét Ramsey; Adam Walsh (whose father John Walsh was impressed to create America’s Most Wished after his 6-year-old son was murdered; serial killer Ottis Toole confessed whereas already locked up however then recanted); the murders of at the least 4 youngsters in Oakland in 1976; at the least 28 murders, principally of kids, in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981; and the Colonial Parkway murders within the Virginia-D.C. space between 1986 and 1989.

There are additionally instances the place preliminary convictions did not stick.

Ed Edwards, Edward Wayne Edwards, Mug Shot

Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin—the West Memphis Three—had been convicted of the murders of three younger boys in Arkansas and spent greater than 18 years in jail earlier than being launched in 2011 following the introduction of latest proof casting doubt on their guilt. They haven’t been formally exonerated, however accepted Alford pleads, which allowed them to insist on their innocence whereas acknowledging the state has a case in opposition to them. Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin convicted in 2002 of killing Martha Moxley in 1975, was granted a brand new trial however in 2016 the Connecticut Supreme Courtroom voted to reinstate the conviction.

Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted of his spouse Marilyn Sheppard’s 1954 homicide however was acquitted at a retrial. Ingmar Guandique was convicted of Chandra Levy’s homicide in 2010, however was granted a retrial after questions arose in regards to the validity of the jailhouse informant who claimed the suspect had confessed. Prosecutors finally dropped the costs and Guandique was deported again to his native El Salvador.

However then there’s Scott Peterson, on demise row after being convicted of first-degree homicide within the 2002 deaths of spouse Laci Peterson and their unborn son. And, after all, there’s Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose case grow to be a nationwide sensation when Making a Assassin seemingly dangled the concept he had been framed by native regulation enforcement for the 2005 homicide of Teresa Halbach. Avery had beforehand served 18 years for sexual assault earlier than being exonerated with the assistance of DNA proof, and he had filed a $36 million lawsuit in opposition to the previous sheriff and D.A. of Manitowoc County.

Avery and his cousin Brendan Dassey had been each convicted of homicide in 2007; Dassey had his conviction overturned final yr, whereas a decide denied Avery’s movement for a brand new trial.

Avery’s lawyer alleged in court docket paperwork that an ex-boyfriend of Halbach’s was accountable, USA At the moment reported final June. 

“We all know who killed Laci Peterson,” Megyn Kelly informed Cameron bluntly on At the moment.

Scott Peterson, True Crime Week

AP Picture/Justin Sullivan, file

“Laci was killed six years after JonBenet Ramsey,” Cameron defined. “Edwards ties lots of his murders to ‘666,’ killing them on 12-26, or 9-6 or ’66. He tied loads to this, to the occult. Scott and Laci Peterson—all of us hated Scott Peterson. All of us thought he was responsible as a result of he was dishonest on his spouse, and that is how Edwards would work. He would choose victims whose husbands or wives had been dishonest.”

Requested how Edwards was presupposed to know that Scott Peterson was a cheater, which the world wasn’t apprised of till after Laci disappeared, Cameron says, “He was really a health care provider of psychiatry all through his life, having places of work the place he could be beneath an assumed identification, rope his victims into the workplace, get private data out of them, after which work out—typically years prematurely—how am I going to border them?'”

Pressed by Kelly about simply how far-fetched that sounds, Cameron admitted he is gotten “essentially the most stuff” about Laci Peterson.

As for one of many different particularly suspect theories, the Black Dahlia, Cameron informed Kelly it wasn’t even Edwards’ first homicide, that he had first dismembered a 6-year-old lady (recognized as Suzanne Degnan in Cameron’s e-book) in 1946.

“He spent his complete life killing girls who appeared like his mom [who had killed herself in front of him when he was about 5], and likewise killing youngsters that had been of his age when he was destroyed,” Cameron mentioned.

Ed Edwards, Edward Wayne Edwards

AP Picture/Akron Beacon Journal, Phil Masturzo

No matter John Cameron’s certainty, it is loads to unpack. 

“It comes all the way down to the Zodiac,” Wayne Wolfe tells E! Information. “When you re-frame your perspective and have a look at a few of these completely different murders…it modifications the way you view the proof. A few of it eerily is sensible and that is what we need to do [with this show], we wished to show his theories.”

He hopes that The Many Murders of Ed Edwards finally sends the message, “By no means be afraid of looking for out the reality, as a result of as scary or as painful as it may be, the reality continues to be the reality. There are clearly going to be issues in there that, [make you wonder] what’s 100 p.c correct or 100 p.c true?”

For his half, Wolfe additionally says that he on no account meant to or wished to strip different households of their closure, or assurance that justice was carried out. He says he approached all the instances, irrespective of how far previously or how current, the identical, as instances the place individuals’s lives had been irreversibly affected.

“To make them query what they firmly imagine, it is not one thing I take calmly,” he says. “I definitely can perceive the confusion and worry that comes with that, and I do not need to unnecessarily harm individuals. Who does?”

His quest was merely to seek out out the reality. About his household, about his grandfather, about himself.

“You query all the pieces about your life,” Wolfe informed us.

“The reality in your previous could be one thing like a small warmth lamp or it may be a solar,” he continued. “Watch out getting too near it as a result of you are going to soften and burn away.”

On the finish of the day, Wolfe says, “I understand how implausible a few of these theories can sound and the way out-of-the-Waterworld ridiculous that is to some individuals, however there’s all the time a reality hidden in one thing, and I can positively say we discovered some.”

In 2011, Edwards died having readily confessed to the 5 murders he was locked up for, telling the Related Press in a 2010 interview that, after killing Dannie Boy in 1996, he merely went on together with his life.

“It did not work on my conscience. I spent the cash. I used to be having a great time,” Edwards, by then and ailing from diabetes and different well being points, mentioned. “You do it, neglect it was carried out and go about your corporation till subsequent time.”

“There’s nothing else,” he added. “His is the final one.”

It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Paramount Community.

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