Header Image Source: Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash
Lisa Marie Kimmell (via Wikipedia)
Amy Wroe Bechtel (via Wikipedia)
Dale Wayne Eaton mugshot (Wyoming Department Of Corrections via Wyoming Public Media)
"In the spring of 1988, Lisa Marie Kimmell's future was full of promise, and at only 18 years old, she had her whole life ahead of her. Friends and family knew Lisa as "Lil Miss," a nickname she received when her grandmother began calling her Little Miss Marie years before.
After graduating from Billings Senior High, Lisa Marie moved to Denver where she worked as manager of an Arby's Restaurant. Life was great for Lisa, but it was all about to change on a fateful spring day in 1988.
On the morning of March 25, 1988, Lisa Marie Kimmell got into her new black Honda CRX with a personalized license plate that read "LILMISS" and started out on a trip from Denver to Billings, Montana, to visit family. She planned to stop in Cody, Wyoming, along the way to pick up her boyfriend, Ed Jaroch. Lisa was excited at the prospect of introducing Ed to her family. Unfortunately, Lisa never made it that far.
After leaving Denver, the last verified account of Lisa's whereabouts would come from Wyoming State Highway Patrolman Al Lesco, who stopped her for speeding near Douglas. Though unverified, some witnesses reported seeing her later that evening, near Casper.
Panicked by the uncharacteristic disappearance of their oldest child, Lisa Marie's parents, Ron and Sheila Kimmell, began a relentless search to discover what had happened to her. Lisa's father chartered a plane to search for any signs of his daughter's black car from the air and, at one point, drove the route from Denver to Billings himself in hopes of spotting her. The family also created posters with Lisa's picture and distributed them widely in hopes of getting a lead on her whereabouts. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Lisa. She had seemingly vanished into thin air.
On April 2. 1988, William Greg Bradford was with a friend on the North Platte River when they happened upon the partially clothed body of a young woman, just downstream from Government Bridge. The body was later identified as that Lisa Marie Kimmell. The teenager had been found, but there was no trace of her black Honda CRX with the unique license plate. The mysterious case would soon become known as the "Lil Miss murder," and investigators asked for the public's help in locating her black sports car.
In the following weeks, police received several tips from people who thought they'd spotted Lisa's car, though none of them resulted in any solid leads.
Despite the fact that Lisa had been missing for eight days, the autopsy revealed that she had only been dead a short time. Lisa had apparently been kept captive for several days before she was murdered and, until years later, only investigators would know the horrible details of Lisa's murder and how she likely spent her last days.
The ensuing investigation would bring out several possible suspects, including the highway patrolman who stopped her for speeding and the sheriff of Natrona County, although all the initial suspects were eventually cleared. A year after Lisa disappeared, someone placed a mysterious note on her grave that said Lisa would be missed and that she'd "always live in me." The note was signed as the fictional character Stringfellow Hawke from the 1980s TV series "Airwolf." The clues led nowhere, and as the months and years sped by, the "Lil Miss" case went cold.
It would be more than fourteen years before police would finally get a break in the case. This happened when investigators ran a random DNA test and came up with a match to a federal prisoner incarcerated in Colorado..."
— Source: Investigation Discovery article “Lisa Marie Kimmell: DNA Helps Solve Fifteen-Year-Old ‘Lil Miss’ Case”
Header Image Source: Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
A trial exhibit photo of the dorm building at Sarah Lawrence College where Lawrence 'Larry' Ray lived with his daughter (Slonim Woods 9, Sarah Lawrence College via Untitled Magazine)
Lawrence 'Larry' Ray mugshot (via New York Post)
"It began when a man recently released from prison decided to move into his daughter’s dorm room at an elite college in a New York City suburb. It would turn into a bizarre tale that would end up with the man being arrested on Tuesday and charged with extortion, prostitution and other counts.
At Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, prosecutors say, the man, Lawrence V. Ray, started doing “therapy sessions” with his daughter’s roommates soon after moving into the dorm room in 2010.
As time passed, Mr. Ray had so much control over the young adults that he got them to confess to crimes they did not commit, prosecutors said. He also extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from them, made them work without pay and in one case forced a young woman into prostitution, federal prosecutors said.
Yesterday, prosecutors revealed more of the evidence they had against Mr. Ray, including a collection of cellphone videos — some of which were sexually explicit — journals, financial records and interviews with 17 witnesses. At the hearing, Mr. Ray pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In his time at Sarah Lawrence, Mr. Ray acted like a cult leader who exploited his victims — college sophomores at the time — by alienating them from their parents and convincing them that they were “broken and in need of fixing,” the authorities said.
At the college, Mr. Ray “laid the groundwork for psychological conditioning that would eventually lead these young adults to become unwitting victims of sexual exploitation, verbal and physical abuse, extortion, forced labor and prostitution,” William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I.’s office in New York, said at a news conference on Tuesday.
After Mr. Ray moved out of the dorm, the abuse continued for eight years, the indictment said.
In the summer of 2011, according to the indictment, Mr. Ray kept exploiting a group of the students who had moved in with him at a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He would question his daughter’s friends during interrogation sessions that lasted for hours and often escalated into verbal and physical abuse, the indictment said.
He also forced his victims to work for him, according to the indictment. Around 2013, Mr. Ray took some of his victims to Pinehurst, N.C., where he forced them to do manual labor on his family’s property to repay money he said they owed him. From 2014 to 2018, he took more than $500,000 from the young woman he forced to work as a prostitute, prosecutors said.
Mr. Ray used tactics like sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, physical violence and threats of legal action to get his victims to make false confessions, the indictment said. It also accused him of laundering about $1 million he obtained from his victims...."
Strange Outdoors article “The Great Basin Serial Killer”
Wyoming Public media article by Sara Hossaini
Casper Star Tribune article by Ellen Gerst
Investigation Discovery article “Lisa Marie Kimmell: DNA Helps Solve Fifteen-Year-Old ‘Lil Miss’ Case”
Casper Star Tribune article by Victoria Eavis
ABC Denver article “15 Years After Woman's Body Found, Murder Suspect Charged”
Casper Star Tribune article by Tara Westreicher “Inmate: Eaton Confessed”
ABC Denver article “Break In Great Basin Murders?”
ABC Denver article “Profilers: Denver Woman's Murder Points To Serial Killer”
Billings Gazette article by Greg Tuttle
Billings Gazette article by Chris Casey
Ranker article by Rachel Souerby “The True Story Behind The Lil' Miss Murder”
The New York Times article by Sharon Otterman “The Bizarre Life of the Man Accused in the Sarah Lawrence Sex Case”
NBC New York “Larry Ray Was in Bed With Victim in Sex Trafficking Case When Arrested: Prosecutor”
Heavy.com article by Janet Winikoff “Lawrence Ray: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”
The New York Times article by Colin Moynihan “Sarah Lawrence Cult Leader Convicted of Trafficking and Extortion”
People article by Greg Hanlon “Sarah Lawrence Sex 'Cult' Leader Convicted of 15 Crimes, Including Sex Trafficking and Extortion”
Washington Post article by Shayna Jacobs “Sarah Lawrence Dad Guilty Of Racketeering, Trafficking, Forced Labor”
NY Post article by Ben Feuerherd “Jury Finds Larry Ray Guilty On All Counts In Sarah Lawrence Sex Cult Trial”
NY Post article by Ben Feuerherd “Horrific Single Night Proves Sarah Lawrence ‘sex Cult’ Leader’s Guilt: Prosecutor”
Yonkers Times article “Sarah Lawrence College’s Sex Cult Nightmare Ends With Conviction Of Larry Ray”
The Guardian article by Edward Helmore “Disturbing Claims of Torture and Sexual Abuse at Trial Of New York ‘Cult’ Leader’”
Daily Beast article by Pilar Melendez “Sarah Lawrence College Student’s Dad Convicted in Horrific Sex Cult Case”
CNN article by Rob Frehse “Man Who Lived In Daughter's Sarah Lawrence College Dorm Room Convicted Of Sex Trafficking, Forced Labor And Other Federal Crimes”
The New York Times article by Colin Moynihan “At Sarah Lawrence Cult Trial, Bronx Siblings Describe Their Ordeal”
Daily Mail article by Laura Collins “Daughter Of Sarah Lawrence 'Cult Leader' Larry Ray is Now Named a Co-Conspirator in Sex Trafficking Case as Jury Hears How He Made a Victim Draw Up a Client List that He Planned to Use as 'Leverage' and Threatened To Publish Online”
Washington Post article by Shayna Jacobs “‘Sarah Lawrence Sex-Cult Trial Shows Devastated Young Lives”
Daily Mail article by Andrea Cavallier ‘'An evil man who did evil things:' Sarah Lawrence cult leader Larry Ray stands motionless after jury finds him guilty on all 15 counts of racketeering and sex trafficking in fewer than 5 hours: Convict now faces life in prison”
New York Magazine article by James D Walsh and Ezra Marcus “What Happened to the Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence?”
NY Post article by Ben Feuerherd “Sarah Lawrence ‘sex cult’ funneled money to Democratic campaign: witness”