Murderer beheads victim

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The Orchard Apartment Murders – Houston Texas

By today’s standards, decapitation is pretty rare unless you are in Mexico, the cartels don’t seem to mind decapitating a victim at all.

That said, it is a pretty rudimentary and crude way to kill someone but for this killer, it seems that he likes to take the heads as trophies or as proof in the event the murders were a for hire event or as a way to send a pretty clear message to someone.

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July 27, 1975 33 year old Alys Elaine Rankin’s coworker Bob Smith arrived at her apartment to pick her up for work because her car was in the repair shop. Upon walking up to her door, Bob noticed that the door was open slightly, feeling uneasy about the situation he entered her apartment.

Bob found Alys naked in her bed with her feet tied together, and a pillow had been covering her upper body. Now I can’t say why Bob didn’t run, but he did not flee the room, he instead removed the pillow and found that his coworker had been decapitated.  

During the investigation through the blood trail, police discovered that the killer did in fact take Alys’s head with him.

According to some websites, Alys had been sexually assaulted but that has yet to be confirmed by police. In most cases involving decapitation, the killer does not sexually assault the victim.

The killer however, did not seem to have a care in the world if anyone saw him as he carted her head off to his awaiting car. That tells me pretty clearly however that she had been killed during the night or early morning, hence before daylight.

What makes this case take a rather intriguing turn is that exactly two weeks later the body of Mary Michael Calcutta was found, just two floors above Alys’s apartment.

Mary was found in her bathroom, fully clothed, but she had been stabbed, and her throat was cut. Through the rumor mill many have said she had been sexually assaulted but, I doubt that the killer would have taken the time to redress her given the brutality of the Alys’s murder.

I doubt it’s the same killer, more likely someone who found an opportunity and a way to express himself in the shadow of a more brutal crime. The person he murdered Mary did not have the nerve to actually decapitate her.

Getting back to Alys however, her murder is so vicious and ugly that I almost wonder who she knew in her personal life that might have been the reason behind her murder.

Decapitation is usually a form of murder that is used to send a very clear message and it is rarely used as a practice kill. Then again the murderer may have simply always wanted to decapitate someone, however unlikely that outcome may be. 

I’ve had the opportunity to know some truly remarkable individuals in my life who appear to everyone on the outside, to have their shit together. But once you look inside and peel back the layers, you start to see some pretty scary stuff.

Stuff that is deadly and dangerous, things people are good at hiding from loved one’s like siblings, parents and even close friends.

Every door can be opened even if it’s locked, it is just a matter of finding the right key.

This case has hope because I believe if investigators are to solve the case they need to peel back the layers of Alys’s life. 

The questions here are, who was the message intended for and what was the message about?

Cristal M Clark

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