Arrest of a Serial Killer?

As I mentioned previously, I have been researching several disappearance cases, but a recent arrest in Missouri caught my attention--as it may lead to further developments in unsolved missing persons and homicides.
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Last week, Jeffrey Dean Moreland, a retired police officer in Missouri, was arrested and charged with murdering Cara Jo Roberts of Harrisonville (MO) in 2008, Nina Whitney of south Kansas City in 2010, and raping a third woman also in Missouri (a name I won't disclose).


Jeff Moreland (Photo Credit)

Moreland was a police officer in the Kansas City suburb of Grandview for 21 years until he retired in 2005; evidently due to medical reasons (the affidavit for rape describes the defendant as having "palsy" which plays into the victim's description of her attacker).

Prosecutors say they have strong forensic evidence linking Moreland to the murders.

Neighbors were reportedly shocked and had nothing bad to say about the school board candidate now defendant.

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A few observations on this developing story:

1) Different Victim Characteristics and Modus Operandi 

Ms. Roberts, a 28 year-old married mother of a two-year-old, was shot in the head and found in her bathtub.  Much of the chatter on the Roberts case related to her work and a potential murder-for-hire plot.  Ms. Whitney was 75 years of age and found strangled and stabbed in her home.  The unnamed rape victim stated that she accepted a ride home from Mr. Moreland, but instead was driven to his house where he struck her and then committed acts against her will.

Shot? Strangled? Stabbed?  Coerced and then driven home? 

That is variety.

Strange.

Does the variance show an alleged serial offender searching for a comfort zone, or simply someone with law enforcement experience trying to confuse anyone investigating links among these cases? 

Maybe you have a different theory?

2) You Don't Start this Type of Behavior at Age 50

I won't get technical here, but serial offenders reflect a lifecycle of violence.  Committing similar acts becomes a way of life.  Typical.  For instance, serial killer Dennis Rader's ten murders (ten at least that is) occurred between 1974 and 1991. Where there is smoke there is fire--these three may only be the start of cases linked to the defendant.

3) Timeline Needed

Building on Observation #2, I am sure that investigators examining missing persons and unsolved homicides involving females will be interested in learning more about Mr. Moreland.  The sooner a detailed timeline is constructed of Moreland's whereabouts and activities during the past 35 or so years the better.  This was effectively done with convicted serial killer and sex offender Joseph Duncan III--as it is anyone's guess how many victims are his around the US.

What places does Moreland have family?  Where does he own other properties?  One of the articles mentions that he is a golfer--did he take trips to play?  Can authorities connect him to an area when a specific victim was murdered or disappeared?

The Moreland arrest could be a big break in several unsolved cases.

When more is available on this story, I'll post an update. 

22 comments:

Audrey Allure said...

Hmm, interesting points you brought up.

J. J. in Phila said...

Could he have an associate? That might explain the different NO.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Split Personalities?

Brian Miller said...

def interesting stuff...took a crime scene and 'profiling' course through the FBI years ago...find this stuff fascinating...and what a relief if true...

Clarissa Draper said...

Maybe he's just a gun for hire. Needs the money as a retired cop for all his health bills. He does have three names...

Anonymous said...

supposedly they are blaming it on the Parkinson's meds

Lisa said...

Definitely a scarey world out there these days.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Scary! I want to think the cops are the good guys!

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
I'm surprised that he flew under the psych-eval RADAR as long as he did...
You'd think after all that time, he'd show a sign somewhere that some of the "furniture" wasn't in place in the old "attic"...

Scary stuff, indeed.

Good post.

Stay safe out there.

Maxi said...

As a former police officer, Moreland's MO of murders may be to distract and confuse.

Moreland's route and timline during 21yrs. on the police force may provide leads to more bodies.

Anonymous said...

There was a girl murdered in Creston Ia in 1983 cold case. Wandering if this guy could have been responsible he was in the area at the time. He was a Afton Ia cop, and that is only 10 miles away?

Nikole Hahn said...

Creepy looking man. I love reading these posts because I feel like I am watching one of my favorite crime shows. Plus, the pov is nice.

CL Beck, author said...

Seems to me that as a cop he knows enough to vary his M.O.... but regardless, I've gotta say that it's really creepy when a serial killer is a retired cop.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Fascinating post. With everything I've read, I can't believe a serial killer becomes a serial killer at age 50. I'm thinking they just haven't discovered what he did in the 20 to 30 years prior.

Maxi had a good comment, and I agree - if he used to be cop, he'd know the important of mixing things up so as not to fit the typical profile.

Great post! Looking forward to more on this!

Stephanie Faris said...

Evil. I'm just wondering how someone like that could be a police officer all those years...PROTECTING society against the very thing he was. Which makes me wonder, as you mentioned, whether or not he was doing this all along. Being an officer is a perfect way to get away with it...you know all the ins and outs of your own dept.

Momma Fargo said...

Very interesting. I would love to know what their case details are and what evidence took them on that trail.

BobKat said...

Thanks Slam... even police are human, for now. I don't think anyone knows why these things happen. Take the guy who confessed to murdering the 12 yo Jewish boy... the alleged murderer claims everything was fine throughout the night - that the kiddo just happened his way, and "he gave him shelter... but when he woke up to see the posters he panicked"; sort of like a 2 year old girl drowning in a swimming pool, and the mom panicked.

Maybe this crap really happens... hope I don't find out it's true someday.

Thanks, Slam.

Anonymous said...

From Harrisonville, this monster's home turf--This guy does what he wants, when he wants. Exploration of death, destruction, rape, forensic counter measures and inserting himself in investigations is his M.O. He befriended Mr. Roberts and has been bowling with him since he raped and murdered Mrs. Roberts. We suspect him of being involved in the Kara Kopetsky case, which he was all up in the business of... Every serial killer has to live next to someone.

Anonymous said...

well it is interesting some of the things you brought up, however i believe you have to kill three in order to be considered a serial killer. and this guys case was only two. And if he really does have Parkinson like they say then maybe you should look up some of the mood changing medications he was on. i am an experienced nurse, and they really mess with your mind. look up some of the side effects, excessive gambiling over active sex drive. and many more. some so bag they banned them from the U.S all together. and why blame him for kara? why not the psychotic ex boyfriend that goes round smashing kittens heads in. and openly tells his current girl friend that he killed his former ones and he could do the same to her. you guys just talk, no evidence. maybe you should look deeper in the facts before pointing fingers.

Anonymous said...

I met Jeff many years ago & he was my college teacher. I find this very hard to believe and disturbing. Jeff is an extremely intelligent man and I hadn't talked to him in a few years, but people don't "all of the sudden" get like this. We have had conversations over the years but not met in person. I always considered him someone I could go to if I needed to... wow...

Anonymous said...

I knew this cop when I lived in Grandview Missouri he used to harass the hell out of people and he was a jerk

Anonymous said...

This creeps me out. I went to school with this guy. He was nice n normal