Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Who Killed Melissa Trotter: Carmen Estrada

Maria Carmen del Estrada was 21 years old. She was pretty and petite. She was 5 feet and 1 inch tall. She weighed 104 pounds.

She worked two jobs. Each workday, she babysat for the same family from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Then she would work the night shift as a maid for an office-building cleaning company.

She lived with her parents in the Shady Villa apartment complex on Shadyvilla Lane. In the book Strangler and in every online reference I can find, her address is given as the 7200 block of Shadyvilla Lane. Since there is no apartment complex on that stretch of Shadyvilla, and since the 7200 block is too far from her bus stop, I believe that address may be incorrect. I believe she lived on the 7700 block, in the complex shown below.

The view is looking west. That is Wirt Road at the far end of Shadyvilla. As best I can recreate it, she would walk to the end of Shadyvilla, turn left on Wirt Road, walk one block to Westview, and wait for the bus near one of the four corners of that intersection. I suspect, but do not know, that this was her bus stop.

The view is looking west on Westview towards the intersection at Wirt. I'm assuming she picked up the bus coming from the direction shown and rode it east to where she babysat. In the end, it really doesn't matter on which corner she waited, or in which direction she rode. What matters is that one day Anthony Allen Shore noticed her sitting there as he drove to work, or as he prowled for his next victim.

Carmen Estrada was painfully shy. She was usually the first passenger on the #72 Westview bus. According to the driver, he always attempted to engage her in small talk. She would merely smile at him and take her seat. Eventually she came to return his greeting, but no more. She never spoke to anyone else on the bus.

April 16, 1992
The bus driver was worried. Carmen was not waiting for the bus as he had come to expect. She was so consistently there, he figured she must be running a bit late. He waited for 5 minutes to see if she would arrive, but then he simply had to move on. Even as he drove away, he glanced in his rear view mirror to see if he could spot her. She wasn't there.

Instead, Carmen Estrada was lying dead behind this Dairy Queen at 6707 Westview.

Somehow, Anthony Shore had lured her or forced her into his car and taken her behind the Dairy Queen.

There he sexually assaulted her and strangled her, though it's not clear in which order.

October 25, 2003
Swaim: Let's talk.

Shore: Do you wanna know how it led up to that or do you wanna --

Swaim: Yes, I wanna know the whole story.

Shore: After the first one I tried not to do anything. I was having psychopathology.

Swaim: Okay.

Shore: I know, I'm familiar with that term, I tried to make myself, like never more, promise myself that this shit would never happen. There were times when I'd pick up girls ... it was always amazing how people just "Yeah, you want a ride?" "Sure." I had some fantasies in my head but nothing really ever came of it. One girl I picked up was a prostitute. Nothing happened. I mean just, I didn't pay for anything, she showed me some stuff.

Swaim: This when you were working for the phone company?

Shore: Yeah, I was still working for the phone company.

Swaim: Okay.

Shore: I'm not sure, I think at the time I was still in the business office but I can't remember, but I was already moved outside ... that I'm not positive on. Right in that time frame I was changing my position in the company and I ran across this really, I thought, beautiful young lady and I offered her a ride and she turned me down. But she was on my way to work every morning and I was coming up --

Swaim: What, you had seen her several times?

Shore: A few times. And I was coming up, uh, this street there, Long, no Wirth maybe. Wirth or some street. I came up to Westview. A couple of times I'd seen her and she wouldn't take a ride, but it wasn't uncommon for me to offer --

Swaim: This was a Hispanic girl?

Shore: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Swaim: Okay.

Shore: She told me her name was Carmen and she didn't take rides from strangers and she didn't speak English. And one morning it was right next to the right and like the first time after the weather changed and I gave her a ride. This happened over the course of, probably, a couple of months. Became friends with her. I had to bone up on my Spanish so I could flirt with her and stuff. I was fumbling, I said a bunch of shit trying to make a relationship happen. Once again ... I felt it was going places. She was talking about yeah, she wanted to go out. She was studying to be a legal secretary or something ... She was also going back to school ... And one morning I just, again, things got out of hand. Pulled in behind a Dairy Queen and we ...

Swaim: Down on Westview?

Shore: Down on Westview and it was going okay. She was open, amenable to a kiss ... and when I pushed it further, it go outta hand. She freaked out. and similar to the first case I got real paranoid because now this wasn't a consensual thing, this was a fucked up deal and I got real paranoid. I didn't set out to kill her. that was not my intent.

Swaim: Mmm, humm.

Shore: But it got out of hand.

Swaim: Go ahead, Tony. Just tell me what happened.

Shore: She just said, "Hey man, not this way. I love you. Not this way. Not here." And I opened her blouse and she was resisting. I had this sick assumption. Not like voices in my head but just driven. I was gonna have her regardless. I don't know what the hell you call it. I tried to understand this. And my intention was to have sex with her, initially, and that wasn't happening. She became real violent, but I didn't want her to get out of the car. So because I was, at that time I was in the Hyundai Excel, a little blue Hyundai.

Swaim: Mmm, hmm.

Shore: And, uh, car that I bought from my wife. It's her car. And when you lock the door the door handles don't open. I locked the door so she couldn't get out. Shit didn't go well. And I didn't have sex with her as It turned out, but I tried to, but it wasn't gonna happen. I remember she had a pair of shoes and she had on black shorts. I took them off. And her pantyhose, but I didn't take her panties off. I don't know why. It got outta hand. And she freaked out and I knew this was not, this was, this was gonna be real bad and my life was fucked forever. so I panicked and once again it just started to become daylight, so to avoid discovery, you know, I strangled her because I knew that ...

Swaim: What did you strangle her with?

Shore: I wanna say a nylon ligature. Piece of cord. I don't remember.

Swaim: Do you remember what type? What color it was or anything?

Shore: No. It might have been white.

Swaim: Okay.

Shore: I don't know.

Swaim: Did you use a, did you use your hands on this one or use something?

Shore: I wanna say because I had fucked my hands up form the first one I used a piece of wood, a pencil, it might have been a pencil. It was something. I don't know, a paintbrush. Something. Some piece of wood or something that twisted it.  Make me a serious panic, freaking out.

Swaim: Did you take anything from her?

Shore: Um, her purse and stuff was left in the car. Which I, once again, I just, and I don't remember if I left her shorts or if they were in the car or what. I gathered up what I had of her stuff --

Swaim: Mmm, humm.

Shore: ... found a Dumpster, some apartment complex.

Swaim: Do you remember where it was.

Shore: No, I don't. I want to say it was a purse. I didn't even go through her stuff, I just got rid of it. Might have been a backpack, might have been a purse. I don't remember. Something.

Swaim: Okay. Now on this one you think it was a white cord and you said like a pencil or a paintbrush or something?

Shore: Piece of wood. Some kind of piece of wood.

Swaim: I don't know. What's the word? "Tourniquet" maybe?

Shore: Yeah.

Swaim: You put it in there and you twisted it?

Shore: Yeah.

January 1, 2013
As was the case with Laurie Tremblay, Shore makes much more of any relationship he may have had with Carmen Estrada than really existed. In his confession regarding Tremblay, he suggested that the relationship had turned sexual. That seems unlikely since their relationship turned deadly once Laurie resisted as Shore tried to unfasten her bra.

It does seem, however, that Laurie had accepted rides with Shore. On the day she was murdered, she had enough money only for a one-way bus trip.

On the other hand, it's unlikely that Carmen Estrada had ever previously accepted a ride from Shore. The bus driver, so attentive to her routine, didn't report that she had been missing rides. He in fact became concerned when she missed the bus just that day. If Shore had any sort of repeat interaction with Carmen Estrada, it would likely have been at the bus stop and no place else.

It's also unlikely that any sort of interaction would have been anything other than Shore putting on the charm and Carmen being polite but disinterested. Carmen had a boyfriend since the previous December and the two were discussing marriage. Their relationship was platonic. Carmen believed in the sanctity of purity. She had informed her boyfriend that she would not have sex with him until they were married.

Shore's claim that she told him she loved him is almost certainly a bold-faced lie or a grand illusion.

It is almost certainly a lie as well that he did not intend to kill her, since he came prepared to do exactly that. Here's part of what he used to kill her.

That's not the type of thing you find laying innocently around your car when a young woman resists your unwanted advances and you simply lose it.

I sense a pattern in Shore's killings that I have yet to see anyone else comment on. Most serial killers are not completely satisfied with whatever relief they gain from the killing. Shore is not uncommon in that regard. His killings never seem to meet his expectations. What seems to me to be different about Shore is that he tries to adapt. Each attack is different than the previous in some noticeable way. It's as if Shore is trying to learn what works for him by trial and error.

Comparing his killing of Laurie Tremblay with his killing of Carmen Estrada, I note the following changes.

1. The murder of Laurie Tremblay may have indeed been unplanned. Shore may have indeed thought he was simply building yet another relationship as he did successfully with so many women. Shore may have indeed simply freaked out when Tremblay resisted his advances and he feared the consequences of her revealing what happened. When it came to Carmen Estrada, he planned to kill her from the beginning.

2. He had no murder weapon available with which to kill Laurie Tremblay. I believe that's because he didn't plan on killing her. Instead he used his hands to tighten (what I presume to be) some readily available cord around her neck. That hurt his fingers. In the case of Carmen Estrada, he used a wooden dowel to make a tourniquet.

3. He unfastened Laurie Tremblay's bra from the rear. He cut Carmen Estrada's bra open from the front. He presumably used a knife to do that. Once again, it seems as if he expected no particular resistance in the first case, and planned for it in the second.

4. Laurie Tremblay seems to have willingly accepted rides from Shore. Carmen Estrada probably did not. I suspect he abducted her at knife point.

5. Laurie Tremblay was not sexually assaulted. Carmen Estrada was. The coroner found blood in her vagina and vulva, and a contusion in her vagina. Shore was captured because his DNA was eventually discovered to have been on or in Carmen's body. I believed that his attack on Laurie Tremblay surprised him and disturbed him so much that he didn't sexually assault her either before or after killing her. In the case of Carmen Estrada, he planned to rape her and kill her, period.

There have been a number of surprises for me as I have researched Anthony Allen Shore. The first was that his first killing was so near the field in which Shandra Charles and Marcell Taylor were murdered. The second was that he lived so close to that field. The third was that Shandra Charles and Marcell Taylor were murdered two years to the day after Shore's first killing.

The fourth big surprise is buried within the interview included in this post.

Swaim: What did you strangle her with?

Shore: I wanna say a nylon ligature. Piece of cord. I don't remember.

That hit like a ton of bricks. Why did he think, even momentarily, that he might have strangled Carmen with a nylon ligature? He had specifically prepared a tourniquet of cord and dowel for Carmen, and he had brought it with him. He had not used a nylon ligature on any of his acknowledged victims, but he seemed to remember a nylon ligature when asked about what he used to kill Carmen Estrada.

It was then that it occurred to me that he might have killed Melissa Trotter. She was strangled with one leg of a pantyhose.

As I continue to research Anthony Allen Shore, I find it difficult to build a compelling case that he murdered Shandra Charles or Marcell Taylor. On the other hand, I find it more and more likely that he murdered Melissa Trotter.

Larry Swearingen certainly didn't.

Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment