The alternative to the “watermen theory” is hard to logistically consider and make work. A theory hinging on a Simon Pure or a cruising pair of killers would require that the killer/s prowled the dark, lonely strands of Colonial Parkway assured they would come across a lesbian couple in the right circumstances in which to determine they were lesbian and then to commit a rather involved and lengthy killing. After all, it takes time to approach a couple, struggle wildly with them, bind them, and in this case strangle them to insensibility, then throw them in the back of the car, cut their throats, remove the ligatures, push the car, while steering it, to the right spot to then dowse it and push it over, then light it to set is ablaze— all of this without being seen by another passing car or hopeful parkers coming along.
In what circumstances would the two young women appear to be lesbian? If it was late at night they are only two silhouettes in a parked car. If it was at sunset the girls may have been sitting out on the edge and watching the sunset— at which ideal tourist time it is quite likely others would be driving by. Perhaps they were walking along the York River’s rugged bank? Such circumstances would not indicate they were lesbians, but maybe they were holding hands? Perhaps they sat on the grass and had their arms around each other. I really don’t know. But at any other time but late night or early morning tourists could easily have come by, and the killer/s could not even risk the amount of time involved at any other time but late night/early morning. Thus there is a problem with both scenarios. If they were approached very late, there is no way a perp could know their gender. If earlier at sunset, no killer could risk taking the time that had to be involved.
There is a conflict on the last time they were seen. One account says that Cathy Thomas popped around Becky’s dorm around 9 p.m. Agent Meadows later had the case. In an article written by Greg Schneider for the Virginia Pilot Meadows admitted that he found Cathy’s former girlfriend and granted her immunity for anything but violence if she could shed light on where Cathy might have taken Becky for a farewell night out. From this, I suppose we should deduce that drugs or something illicit might have been involved.
This inspires one to consider the alternative. Namely, that the double murder happened somewhere else than the Cheatham Annex.
I have no information as yet when the couple died, but I’d guess Thursday night since they never returned to the campus from the look of Becky Dowski’s car still in place and ready to go. This is confusing, for it proposes that the car was there at Cheatham Annex for the whole weekend, at a popular overlook, along a busy river docked with naval ships . . . and no one saw a white car hanging down from the overlook to the river’s edge.
It could be, however, that the full crime did not take place at the overlook; that the car was driven there with the girls unconscious in back and then there they were murdered late at night, the car then dumped over the side. If so, the killer/s had a means of escape. Then it does sound like an accomplice was involved with his own car.
There is not enough clues and evidence released to the public to say either way. But the logistics of pulling off such a detailed sequence of binding, restraining, strangling, murdering, disposing, doesn’t sound like it could happen at any time but very, very late night or early morning, and by this time one would assume that Dowski and Thomas would have wanted to be back at campus.
So just what really did happen? One thing gnawed at the original Feds. It seemed as if Thomas had taken out her wallet from her purse. This strikes one as if she was showing her i.d. to a cop.
This is a preliminary study. It will be expanded with more details. The concentration here is the crime scene. As the photos above show, they help place the area in context. A comparative analysis between Cheatham Annex and the other overlooks will also reveal a clue. Cheatham was one of the best annexes at which to quickly push a car over the edge. How convenient of Cathy Thomas to park there, if she really did. This would favor the theory that the abduction took place elsewhere and the car was driven to the annex for disposal. This possibility will be expanded on the analysis page.
For almost a whole year, the case would stand on its own. Then come September 23, 1987, another couple— a guy and a gal— would be murdered, in circumstances that are just as confusing.