I Know Who Killed Melissa Trotter
And Mellissa Witt
The title (but not the subtitle) to this post is identical to the title of an email that I recently received. It caused me to open the email. I hope that it will cause you to read this post.
I presume that the sender learned of my interest in Melissa Trotter from my Skeptical Juror blog, which has (as of this post) moved from Blogger to Substack. In that previous incarnation, I had written many articles about Larry Swearingen, the man convicted of (and since executed for) murdering Melissa Trotter. I titled one of them The Most Innocent Man on Death Row: Science Undone. Follow the link to see that post. Use the nearby search utility to find all my previous posts on Swearingen.
In various other posts, I argued that Melissa Trotter was more likely murdered by the convicted (and since executed) serial killer, Anthony Allen Shore. I cleverly entitled that one Who Killed Melissa Trotter? Anthony Allen Shore.
It was therefore with more than a little anticipation that I read the email, and I was stunned by the content. The sender did identify the alleged murderer by name, and the alleged murderer was neither Swearingen nor Shore. I will not identify the individual here, since the person has not been convicted or even charged with any felony of which I’m aware. I will, however, reveal that the person was described as being a producer of simulated and/or actual snuff films. Here’s an excerpt from that first email.
I am reaching out to speak with you about the innocence of Larry Swearingen, pertaining to the Melissa Trotter case. I know Larry has already been executed, but I do believe that he is innocent and that there is someone out there who got away with this murder, and I believe I have an idea of who that person is.
I believe [redacted] (a Texas native now living in Oregon) may have something to do with both the murders of Melissa Trotter and Melissa Witt.
[redacted] has a 30 year background in forestry and lived in Portland, TX as a young man. He spent time traveling back and forth from Oregon to Texas helping his family with a tree farm business in his later years. In addition to that work, he is, more importantly, a passionate snuff/death fetish pornography producer and fantasy writer, and has filmed over a thousand fetish videos where he stars as a male murderer.
Most of his fetish films follow a similar plot line. He abducts a woman, strangles her with pantyhose, and has sex with her dead body, sometimes leaving her in the woods when he is done with her.
His death fetish writing has a focus on strangling southern women who are college students.
After reviewing [redacted’s] films and stories, I believe he creates these films to relive the murders he committed to both Melissa Trotter and Melissa Witt, and potentially other women too. I believe he is flaunting his murderous history in plain sight, by using pantyhose to strangle, mentioning 19 year olds, and mentioning 1999 and 1994.
Without revealing any of the gory details, of which there were too many, I will state that I, The Skeptical Juror, found the sender’s claims to be believable. I quickly researched each of the four possible victims identified by the sender, and I found the case of Melissa Witt to be, by far, the most parallel with that of Melissa Trotter.
Prior to the email, I was completely unaware of Witt’s case, and now I am only superficially aware. It is an unsolved case (as is Trotter’s, as far as I’m concerned). I don’t have access to the case files, forensics, and autopsy reports. Other individuals have been chasing the Witt story for decades, and I’ll defer to them. To read directly from those who have been working the Witt case, I suggest you begin with the Who Killed Missy Witt website. Here I will simply and quickly summarize the parallels, the totality of which seem to me to be beyond coincidence.
Both named Melissa, both 19 years old, both attending community college.
Quite similar in appearance. In the parallel images below, Melissa Trotter is on the left, Melissa Witt on the right.
Their cars were found in parking lots. Trotter disappeared on 8 December 1998. Her car was found in the parking lot of her community college in Conroe, Texas, several score miles north of Houston. Witt disappeared four years earlier, almost to the day, on 1 December 1994. Her car was found in the parking lot of a bowling alley in or near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her keys and some of her blood were found near her car.
Both bodies were found several score miles from their cars in isolated, wooded areas. Trotter’s body was found by hunters in Sam Houston National Forest on 2 January 1999. She had been strangled. Witt’s body was found by trappers in the Ozark National Forest on 13 January 1995. She had been strangled.
In both cases, cigarette butts were found near the body.
Both Totter and Witt may have been kept alive for a while before being killed. Trotter was almost certainly secreted someplace for several weeks before she was killed. Witt may have been secreted someplace for less than a week.
Both seem to have worn a Mickey Mouse watch that was taken by the killer. Witt certainly, did. I had not heard previously that Trotter wore a Mickey Mouse watch, but I have since read that “both victims were wearing Mickey Mouse watches that were taken by the murderer” and “according to one of Trotter’s relatives, she was wearing a Mickey Mouse watch like Witt’s and in both instances, the killer took the watch.”
It is this last tidbit that is the least substantiated but most telling, if true. The person who emailed me claimed that, in at least two instances, the named individual is known to have had one of his snuff-film models wear a Mickey Mouse watch.
If each victim had been wearing a Mickey Mouse watch when abducted, then it is exceptionally unlikely that their selection as victims was coincidence. Consider another possibility. The killer murdered Melissa Witt and took her Mickey Mouse watch as a trophy. The killer felt compelled to recreate his murder of Melissa Witt. He found Trotter to be a look alike, even to the point of wearing a Mickey Mouse watch. Four years after he abducted Witt, he abducted Trotter. He kept her captive for a while, then killed her and dumped her body, same as he had Witt.
I advised the sender to contact both law enforcement in Fort Smith, Arkansas and the FBI. If the named person killed multiple people in different states, then that makes it a federal case as well as a Arkansas case. I have been assured that the information has already been shared with the Arkansas authorities and that the information will be shared with the FBI.
I took some other actions, but I’ll not share those details.
I felt compelled to write of this experience in the hope that some reader will find parallels with some case of which they are aware, that they will act on their new insight, and that they will thereby put us one step closer to stopping a snuff-film-making, cross-country, serial killer. If you have any information, please contact one or more of the following:
Fort Smith Police Department at 479-709-5000.
Little Rock branch of the FBI at 501-221-9100.
Who Killed Missy Witt hotline at 1-800-440-1922.
Even before I clicked the “Publish” button for this article, I received a follow-up tip about another possible victim. Her name is Carol Reed.
Carol Reed was 18 years old. Trotter and Witt were 19 years old.
Carol Reed disappeared from Brownsville, Texas. Melissa Trotter disappeared from Conroe, Texas. The alleged serial killer lived in Portland, Texas, approximately half-way between.
Carol Reed disappeared on 7 December 1993. Melissa Witt disappeared one year later, in December of 1994. Melissa Trotter disappeared four years later than that, in December of 1998.
Carol Reed was last seen at at supermarket in downtown Brownsville. She was murdered soon afterwards. Her body was found a dozen miles away in lightly wooded farm land. The body, though, was sufficiently well hidden that it had been there for approximately 12 hours before a road crew discovered it. Melissa Witt, by comparison, had seemingly been kept alive for several days before she was killed and her body dumped in the Ozark National Forest. Melissa Trotter had definitely been kept alive for more than a week before she was killed and her body dumping in the Sam Houston National Forest.
Carol Reed had been strangled. Both Witt and Trotter had been strangled.
Carol Reed had been wearing a Mickey Mouse watch. Both Witt and Trotter had been wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
If anyone has any information about the Carol Reed case, the Melissa Witt case, the Melissa Trotter case, or any similar case, please contact one of the phone numbers already listed, or call the Cameron County Crime Stoppers at their hotline: (866)-350-5551 or (956)-350-5551.
It was in part, just in part, due to these email tips that I decided to begin writing once again as The Skeptical Juror, this time on Substack. I’ll generally be reposting the top hits from my Skeptical Juror blog mixed with some new material.