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Indiana 'Slasher' Finally Identified 48 YEARS After Abducting 3 Young Girls!

Indiana Cops Identify Man Who Abducted, Attacked & Left Three Young Girls For Dead 48 Years Ago

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Police in Indiana have finally confirmed the identity of a man who stabbed three young girls in a cornfield outside of Indianapolis nearly fifty years ago.

On Thursday, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department held a press conference announcing a major break in the case of kidnap victims Kandice SmithSheri Rottler Trick, and Kathie Rottler. In August 1975 — when Kandice was 13, Sheri was 11, and Kathie was 14 — the trio were hitchhiking outside Indianapolis when they were wildly and viciously attacked by an unknown assailant. Miraculously, all three girls survived, but they suffered severe stab wounds. And for 48 years, police didn’t know who attacked them — until now.

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At Thursday’s press conference, Unsolved Homicide Unit investigator David Ellison revealed that a man named Thomas Edward Williams is the one who picked up the girls, raped Sheri, and violently stabbed them all. Williams will not be prosecuted, as he is no longer alive; he died in a Texas prison in 1983, according to law enforcement officials. But he lived near the scene of the hitchhiking attack at the time, and he is now confirmed via DNA to have been the assailant.

The horrific encounter occurred on the night of August 19, 1975. The three young girls had gone to a gas station to pick up some snacks. They decided they wanted to hitchhike back home. A man there driving a white station wagon offered them a ride — but he didn’t take them home. As they passed by the girls’ destination and they told him to stop and let them out, he “seemed to accelerate and keep going,” according to Ellison.

At that point, the man put a gun to Kathie’s head next to him in the car. He threatened to kill them all, and told them to comply with his commands or else. He drove them out to a rural cornfield outside of Indianapolis. There, he tied up Kandice and Kathie and raped Sheri. Then, he began wildly stabbing and slashing all three girls “numerous times” before running back to his car and driving off, according to Ellison. Amazingly, the investigator noted the girls had the presence of mind to get him to back off:

“They actually played dead to try to avoid being stabbed anymore.”


Unbelievably, despite being severely injured, Kathie and Kandice managed to get out of the cornfield and find help on a nearby road. Paramedics rushed in, and despite severe injuries, all three girls survived the horrific attack. But the traumatized girls couldn’t tell police very many specific details about their attacker, who had been a stranger to them. And for years afterwards, cops had very little evidence on which to build a case.

Then, in 2018, a breakthrough: the case was abruptly reopened with the hope that forensic genealogy might provide a link to what little DNA cops had previously recovered from evidence. For the last six years, cold case detectives have scoured genealogy sites and various forensic evidence databases hoping for a match. Finally, they found one. After gaining access to DNA from Williams’ daughter, police determined beyond a doubt that her father’s genes were a match to evidence left at the crime scene.

For what it’s worth, it is unclear how exactly police obtained DNA from Williams’ daughter. The IndyStar reports that cops partnered with Audiochuck and DNA Labs International on their search. But beyond that, detectives did not reveal to the media any specifics of where or how they found the match.

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Regardless, cops are convinced beyond a doubt that Williams is their man. Of course, he can’t be brought to justice considering the fact that he has been dead for four decades. But just being able to close this horrific 48-year-old cold case is a massive accomplishment. It’s also a milestone for the three victims, who have lived out their lives with the weight of this terrible tragedy hanging over their heads.

Kathie Rottler spoke very candidly about that during Thursday’s press conference. Calling the announcement “worth the wait,” she said:

“Soon after our case went cold, I tried to keep the case open but it seemed every call I made was met with another dead end. I stand before you as a survivor who has learned the true meaning of patience. I’ve learned that sometimes the answer you’re waiting for can take decades.”


You can see more about this shocking case and this week’s unexpected development (below):


Kudos to those detectives for sticking with it for FIVE DECADES. And kudos to those three women for surviving the attack and continuing their lives in spite of the inconceivable tragedy. They are and continue to be unimaginably, unbelievably strong.

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[Image via Fox 59 News/YouTube]

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Jan 19, 2024 13:28pm PDT