WAS A SERIAL KILLER HUNTING IN THE PROSTITUTION ARENAS OF DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA- IS HE STILL?

Working the streets for “Johns” is the lower end of the pecking order for women trying to make it in an often nasty and treacherous arena fraught with cunning psychopaths who troll for the purpose; their end has nothing to do with sexual pleasure; they are out to hurt. It is not that they harbor resentment towards prostitutes who are often young and desperate. Rather, it is a matter of careless methodology and opportunity. The prey comes to the hunter unguarded, easily allowing the killer to act out where he might not otherwise do so. In many cases, known venues for prostitution serve as “practice grounds” for developing psychopaths who eventually move on to more secluded areas. The nature of prostitution gives rise to transiency, less police presence, isolation, and, as stated, carelessness on the part of desperate “street” hookers. Missing women often go undetected for long periods and frequently fail to command proper police resources. It often takes a series of prostitute murders before the police and media get seriously involved. Obviously, the passage of time hampers the investigation. The police cannot be the sole villain here; prostitutes, many trying to “earn” cash for drugs, purposely avoid the police because prostitution is illegal, and so are the drugs. When they encounter police, natural distrust forms between the girls and the police and causes them to take even more evasive measures; greater risks are taken, and predators know this. Fewer girls walk up to potential customers’ cars in brightly lit areas; more transactions occur in darkened spots where nobody is around. Many girls become weary of undercover cops posing as “Johns” on Web sites forcing them to hit the streets without any customer info. Such factors may have factored into the deaths of four women who were brutally killed in Daytona Beach, Florida. The body of Laquetta Gunther (45) was found in an alley in the city in a fetal position, having been shot in the head on December 26th, 2005. Julie Green (34) was found to be shot nearby on January 14th, 2006, and Iwanna Patton (35) on February 24th, 2006. In 2008, the body of Stacey Gage (30) was discovered. According to local reports, the four women had histories of prostitution. Although there was a 2-year gap between the earlier murders, the Daytona Police Chief said the cases were “eerily similar.” There appears to be scientific evidence linking some of the murders. There are many similarities between the murders, causing some to believe that a serial killer may still be loose.

UPDATE:

Daytona Beach,  FL – Suspected serial killer, 37-year-old Robert Hayes, is now in the Volusia County Jail.  State Attorney R.J. Larizza said Hayes is here for arraignment on three counts of first-degree murder with a firearm.

The Volusia County murders took place between December 2005 and December 2007. Hayes was a student at Bethune-Cookman University from 2000 to 2006. The women found murdered in Daytona Beach are 45-year-old Laquetta Gunther, 34-year-old Julie Green, and 35-year-old Iwana Patton. DNA evidence has tied Hayes to Gunther and Green. Forensic evidence has also linked Hayes to the murder of Patton. Investigators say Hayes may also be the suspect in the 2008 death of Stacey Gage, but at this time, there is no physical evidence.

Larizza said that he had filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty on all three counts.  Hayes is also charged with one count of felony first-degree murder in Palm Beach County.   Larizza said that notice of intent to seek the death penalty had been filed in that case.  Larizza said, “DNA evidence linked Hayes to the 2016 case in Palm Beach. That DNA linked Hayes to the three Daytona Beach cases.”

Hayes will be going back and forth between Volusia and Palm Beach counties as the cases progress. So far, Hayes has pleaded not guilty to the single charge in Palm Beach County.

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