A Morbid History Lesson On On-Campus Murders

A Yale professor’s words this week were chilling after Annie Le’s body was found in the wall of a campus lab: “There is a murderer among us.” Since access to the building is limited to Yale staff and students, it looks like someone in the community is the killer. The cops have already arrested and released one “person of interest” in the case—Raymond Clark III, who some say had an unrequited crush on Le. The police stress that they are still casting a wide net and looking at many different scenarios. [NY Times]

Luckily, murders on college campuses are very rare. Still, when they happen, they become front-page news. Here’s a brief, morbid history, which includes proof of why you shouldn’t enroll at Eastern or Western Michigan University.

  • John Norman Collins is often referred to as the “Co-ed Killer.” In the late ’60s, seven women, most of them Eastern Michigan University students, were murdered in various horrific ways and linked to Collins. However, hard evidence was only found in his last murder of Karen Sue Bieneman. It was enough to send Collins to prison for life in 1970, but he still pleads innocent to this day. [TruTV]
  • In 1974, serial killer Coral Eugene Watts murdered an estimated 26 women, including a student at Western Michigan University named Gloria Steele. He was nearly released in 2006 after gaining immunity for 12 of the murders, but he was found guilty of murdering Steele and another woman. He now faces life without parole. [Karisable]
  • In the mid-’70s, Ted Bundy went on a killing spree of female college students from the University of Washington, Evergreen State College, Central Washington University, and Oregon State University. He roped in women by wearing his arm in a sling or his leg in a cast and asking for their help in carrying things to his car. Most of the stories end with “she was never seen again”—the women disappeared at a rate of one per month. In all, Bundy murdered an estimated 35 women (though some say it could be more like 100) before being executed in 1989. [Serial Killer Calendar]
  • In 1990, ultra-creepy Danny Harold Rolling “butchered” five women around the University of Florida just before the school year began, posing their bodies in gruesome positions. The murders led to a manhunt and Rolling’s belongings were found at a campsite near campus. In 1994, he surprised everyone by pleading guilty saying, “I do deserve to die, but do I want to die? No. I want to live.” He was executed in 2006, in the same death chamber as Bundy. [Washington Post]
  • Three years ago, Eastern Michigan University hid the rape and murder of student Laura Dickinson for ten weeks after she was found naked from the waist down with a pillow over her head. They insisted there was no foul play and led her family to believe she died of a heart attack caused by stress from finals. When a former student was arrested, they were finally told the truth. EMU paid $4 million in fines and a settlement with her parents, and several administrators were fired. [The Detroit News]