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FL FORT MYERS EIGHT: 8 men, 20-40, found by land surveyor - 23 March 2007

Discussion in 'Unidentified 2000 to 2009' started by Jason Futch, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    Remains of 8 humans were found in Fort Myers a decade ago, 5 still unidentified

    FORT MYERS, Fla. It was once said to be the largest excavation of human remains in Florida history. And Fort Myers Police call it their most challenging case ever.

    Eight unidentified human skeletal remains were found in the woods off Arcadia Street more than ten years ago.

    In 2007 a land surveyor stumbled across a skull. Since then, only three of the eight bodies have been identified.

    Forensic Anthropologist Heather Walsh-Haney recalls that day. She walked through the brush to the location where the remains were found to find law enforcement investigating eight sets of human bones. All of the remains were found in the same area and all were buried under ground.

    “I remembered thinking that this was a wooded area, very similar to many cases I had worked throughout Florida, where it was an area that was secluded and it would be an area that would be easy to hide a crime.” Walsh-Haney said.

    It’s a crime that has remained an unsolved since the morning of March 23, 2007. Police are still trying to find out who these men are, how they were murdered, who killed them, and why.

    Many of the victims were young men between 20 and 40. Most of them had healed fractures to their arms, their legs, their ribs, even their face. Walsh-Haney says these signs prove the eight men had fallen on difficult times. “Something happened in their life history to have them change direction because that health status, their dental health, their skeletal health, was that of people who lived very hard”

    Over the past decade three of them have been identified – Jonathan Tihay, Erik Kohler and John Blevins.

    “He said I’m going to go out for a little while and said ill be back and he never showed back” Blevins mother told wink news, she said he visited Fort Myers in the mid 90s and vanished. She gave DNA to investigators, and it matched.

    The five other men, with no clothes or baggage, remain unidentified.

    Blevins mother added, “Its been a decade. Theres not a year that goes by that I don’t think about the men.”

    While Fort Myers Police have talked with WINK about the case in the past — they declined to comment for this story. They said they have no new information to provide.

    Staff added media link: https://crimewatchers.net/forum/ind...ntified-there-killer-is-still-out-there.4450/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2019
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  2. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    CURRENTLY UNIDENTIFIED FORT MYERS EIGHT VICTIMS
    (Hyperlinked their respective profiles from Doe Network under each bust)

    FM8 #1.jpg FM8 #2.jpg FM8 #3.jpg FM8 #4.jpg FM8 #5.jpg
    1031UMFL 1033UMFL 1035UMFL 1036UMFL 1037UMFL




    IDENTIFIED FORT MYERS EIGHT VICTIMS
    erik-kohler.jpg
    ERIC KHOLER

    52627997_130835843601.jpg
    Jonathan Tihay


    (NOT PICTURED)
    John Blevins
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    Daniel Conahan and the Fort Myers Eight
    OCTOBER 1, 2018 / MAI


    The so-called Hog Trail Murders terrorized Florida residents throughout the 1990s. The bodies of six men were found within close proximity of each other, all suffering horrific torture. They had been sexually assaulted, some even having their genitals mutilated and removed. Most were bound, and one had been dismembered. Although one of these men remains unidentified, the others were known to live transient, high-risk victims, and some may have been homosexual.

    These killings were eventually tied to a man named Daniel Conahan, a resident of Punta Gorda, Florida. His home was right in the middle of the location where the bodies were discovered, and he would allegedly pick up his victims and get them under the influence of drugs or alcohol before he attacked them. He was only charged with the murder of one of the Hog Trail victims, 21-year-old Richard Montgomery, due to a lack of evidence in the other killings. While Conahan insists on his innocence to this day, he currently sits on Florida’s death row for the brutal murder of Montgomery.

    With Montgomery imprisoned since 1999, it was thought that the Hog Trail Murders were a thing of the past. No more similar murders were committed, suggesting that Daniel Conahan was indeed the guilty party. His name faded from media reports, his gruesome killing spree finally resolved.

    That was until March 23, 2007, when a land surveyor came across a human skull in a wooded area of Fort Myers, Florida. Authorities were called to the scene, and a total of eight bodies were recovered.

    They were all male, between the ages of 20 to 40. Their bodies had been reduced to skeletons, and it was likely that they all died anywhere between 1987 and 2001. No cause of death was able to be determined for any of the men, but their deaths are investigated as homicides due to the way they were disposed. Known as the Fort Myers Eight, five of these men remain unidentified eleven years later.

    But who were they, and who killed him?

    Daniel Conahan is considered a very likely suspect, with the victims’ sex and ages matching up with the Hog Trail victims. They were also found quite close to Conahan’s known disposal site. However, there is no conclusive evidence linking him to the murders of the Fort Myers Eight.

    The long, nonspecific postmortem interval is definitely tricky in this case. The first Hog Trail victim was killed in 1994, and Conahan has been incarcerated since 1999. All eight of these men could have died anywhere from 1987 to 2001. Nothing is known about the three identified victims, including when they went missing, so the time frame is difficult to narrow down. But if they died after 1999, they can be ruled out as being Conahan victims. With such a broad interval, it is not known how close in time the murders were committed. If these men died at the hands of Daniel Conahan, it is my personal belief that they were killed before the Hog Trail murders. Even if the Hog Trail victims were found within a ten-mile radius of each other, the bodies were disposed of in different sites, often posed, and one was even dismembered with his remains scattered. A fixed disposal site where eight bodies were dumped definitely contrasts with this, suggesting that Conahan’s M.O. may have evolved towards more shocking disposals later on. Then again, the fact that the Fort Myers disposal site was not discovered until long after Conahan was imprisoned makes me question why he changed his method of disposal. This is another blow against the theory that the Fort Myers Eight are victims of Conahan, but overall there is a good possibility that these men and the victims of the Hog Trail murders were committed by this person.

    Keep in mind that the cause of death has not been stated for any of the Fort Myers Eight, and the remains were skeletal. Conahan’s M.O. involved very distinct sexual assault and mutilation, but this would not show up on a skeleton. He also killed at least one of the Hog Trail victims by strangulation, which could or could not leave skeletal markers. Conahan also generally targeted transients and laborers. While seven of the Fort Myers Eight seemed to have had access to dental and medical care at some point, one had likely lived as a transient for quite a while. Several of the others seemed to have more recent injuries and a substantial decline in overall health, and another of the unidentified men had skeletal markers that suggested he may have been a manual laborer. As not much is known about the three men who were identified, it cannot be determined if they fit into Conahan’s ‘type’ or not.

    The Unidentified

    Two of the Fort Myers Eight were identified the same year their bodies were discovered, and another was identified in 2008. This leaves five men still nameless.

    All of the men below were discovered on March 23rd, 2007 in Fort Myers, Florida. The hair and eye colors depicted in the reconstructions are estimations.

    [​IMG]
    John Doe #1 was white or possibly Hispanic. He was 20 to 35 years old, 5’6″ to 5’10”, and likely had a muscular build.

    [​IMG]
    John Doe #2 was Hispanic or White/Hispanic. He was 26 to 43 years old, 5’2″ to 5’7″, and had likely been a long-term transient. He had healed fractures to his ribs and chest as well as a defect of his sternum, and healed injuries to both calves and ankles. He had poor oral health with no recent dental work.

    [​IMG]
    John Doe #3 was white, 26 to 43, and 5’5″ to 5’11”. He had arthritis in his back and previous fractures to his ribs and vertebrae. These could have been occupational injuries, suggesting he was a laborer.

    [​IMG]

    John Doe #4 was white or Hispanic. He was 25 to 35 years old and 5’8″ to 5’10”. He had a herniated vertebra and had previously fractured his nose, right clavicle, and right fibula.

    [​IMG]
    John Doe #5 was Hispanic or possibly Hispanic mixed with white, and he was 20 to 35 years old. He was tall, at 5’11” to 6’3″, and may have walked with a limp. He had a healed fracture to his right wrist and had current dental work.

    I decided to include both clay busts and forensic sketches of the unidentified victims, although I have a gut feeling the sketches are more accurate. The busts of Does 1 and 3 look almost exactly the same, the only difference is that one has a slightly wider nose. The black and white sketches also take out the guesswork of the victims’ hair and eye color.

    The three other members of the Fort Myers Eight have been identified as John Blevins, Jonathan Tihay and Erik Kohler.

    At the end of the day, it cannot be said for certain who killed the Fort Myers Eight. If it wasn’t Daniel Conahan, it had to be another serial killer; eight murder victims don’t turn up at the same place by coincidence. But will this case ever be definitively closed, and will these five unidentified men ever get their names back? At this point nobody can say for sure.
     
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  4. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    DANIEL CONAHAN
    (From Wikipedia)
    [​IMG]

    Daniel Owen Conahan Jr. (born May 11, 1954) is a convicted American murderer and suspected serial killer. Conahan was convicted of one murder but has been linked to over a dozen murders, mostly of homosexual men in the Charlotte County, Florida area in what came to be known as the Hog Trail Murders.

    Early life and career
    Conahan was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved with his family to Punta Gorda, Florida shortly after birth. His parents expressed displeasure at his homosexuality during his high school years and sent him to a psychiatrist. He graduated Miami Norland High School in 1973 and joined the United States Navy in 1977, stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. In 1978, he was nearly court-martialed for homosexual solicitation and was discharged a few months later after more homosexual behavior triggered a large fight.

    After his Navy discharge, Conahan stayed in Chicago for 13 years before moving back to Punta Gorda to live with his elderly parents in 1993. In 1995, he became a licensed practical nurse, graduating at the top of his class from Charlotte Vocational-Technical Center. He was employed by Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda.

    Murders
    On February 1, 1994, the mutilated corpse of a man was discovered in Punta Gorda. The body had been outside for about a month and had rope burns on the skin and the genitalia had been removed and discarded. The man was never identified. On January 1, 1996, a North Port family's dog brought home a male human skull. Police eventually pieced together much of a skeleton and determined that the genitalia had been cut out, similar to the 1994 victim. The North Port skeleton was also never identified. A third man's mutilated body was discovered in North Port on March 7, 1996. He had been killed only 10 days earlier. He also remained unidentified until June 1999 when he was identified as John William Melaragno.

    Another man's skull was found in Charlotte County on April 17, 1996. Police searched the surrounding woods and found the rest of the man as well as a second body. The second was a man who had been raped, murdered and mutilated only the day before, and was identified as Richard Allen Montgomery. The first body was later identified as Kenneth Lee Smith. Speculation became rampant about a serial killer and the media dubbed the murders "The Hog Trail Killings".

    Arrest
    In May 1996, a few witnesses directed police to Daniel Conahan, including one who had escaped him when Conahan's car became stuck while driving him down a dirt road. Later, police linked Conahan to a 1994 Fort Myers police report where Stanley Burden had been propositioned, tied to a tree, and nearly strangled. Burden survived and even had rope scars on his body two years later. Conahan's credit cards were subpoenaedand his house was searched turning up evidence linking him to Burden and Richard Montgomery. On July 3, 1996, Conahan was arrested and brought to Lee County for the attempted murder of Burden. The following February, he was charged with the murder of Montgomery while the Burden attempted murder charges were dropped.

    While Conahan awaited trial, another skeleton was found in Charlotte County on May 22, 1997. 10 months later, DNA identified the remains as William Charles Patten who had disappeared in 1993.

    Trial and more skeletons
    In Punta Gorda, Conahan waived his right to a jury trial on August 9, 1999. The star witness was Stanley Burden who had been nearly killed in 1994. Conahan's attorney rebutted that Burden was an imprisoned pedophile, serving a 10- to 25-year sentence in Ohio. On August 17, 1999, Judge William Blackwell deliberated for 25 minutes and found Conahan guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and kidnapping. Conahan succeeded in moving the penalty phase of his trial to Collier County but, in November, a jury recommended a sentence of death and Judge Blackwell agreed on December 10.

    Several more bodies were discovered in the Charlotte County area with similarities to the Hog Trail Killings: one in 2000, two in 2001, and one in 2002. On March 23, 2007, eight skulls and skeletal remains were found in a wooded area in Fort Myers, the largest such discovery in Florida history. Although a connection to a closed funeral home was considered possible, speculation soon turned to Conahan. Stanley Burden, the star witness at Conahan's trial, had been attacked within a mile of the site where the eight skeletons were found. Two were later identified as men who had disappeared in 1995.

    Conahan is currently housed at Florida State Prison in Raiford, Florida.
     
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  5. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway



    Fort Myers Eight episode of True Cold Case Files link is active!
     
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  6. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    :woohoo:
     
    Jason Futch likes this.
  7. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    D1A42B34-74CF-479D-A869-A01728587F69.jpeg Forensic reconstructions have FINALLY been updated! Wish this was done before my video had been made!
     
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  8. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Wow! These look great! I hope it brings people who can identify these men!
     
  9. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

    I created this graphic so that way the images of these men are out there sans skulls.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Jason Futch

    Jason Futch TCCF Host, King of the Highway

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