FBI identifies Cleveland serial rapist as suspect in Virginia double murder

CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified a deceased Cleveland serial rapist as a suspect in a 1996 double murder in Virginia.

Laura “Lollie” Winans and Julianne “Julie” Williams were killed at their campsite in Shenandoah National Park near Skyland Resort on May 24, 1996.

Family members contacted the National Park Service after they failed to return from a trip. An extensive search ensued and park rangers found the women's bodies about a week after their murders.

According to Fox News, another man was charged in their deaths in 2004, but those charges were dropped because his DNA did not match the crime.

The case remained cold for years, but a new FBI team took over the investigation in 2021.

Now, thanks to recent DNA testing, investigators have identified Walter Leo Jackson Sr. as a suspect in the double murder, according to the FBI.

Walter Leo Jackson_mugshot
Courtesy of the FBI

Jackson Sr., a Cleveland man who had a lengthy criminal history of kidnapping, rape and assault, died in jail in Cuyahoga County in March 2018.

FBI investigators say Jackson Sr. was an avid hiker and frequently visited Shenandoah National Park. They believe he was driving a 1984 AMC Eagle 30 Chestnut Brown at the time of the murders.

“After 28 years, we are now able to say who committed the brutal murders of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams in Shenandoah National Park,” U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a press release. “I would like to once again extend my condolences to the Winans and Williams families and hope that today’s announcement will provide some small comfort.”

The FBI says it is working with other law enforcement agencies to determine whether Jackson Sr. may be linked to other unsolved cases.

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