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.
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.
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.