Iowa police arrested a former long-haul trucker for allegedly killing three women in Tennessee and Wyoming nearly 30 years ago — and are looking at his possible connections to other unsolved slayings, officials said Thursday.
Clark Perry Baldwin, a 58-year-old resident of Waterloo, Iowa, was taken into custody on Wednesday. He was booked for the 1991 Tennessee murder of Pamela Rose McCall and her unborn fetus and the 1992 Wyoming slayings of two unidentified women.
DNA matches him to those Wyoming and Tennessee slayings, authorities said.
“It's certainly satisfying for all the investigators who have worked on these cases, but that pales in comparison to answers to these lingering questions of the families (of victims)," Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mike Krapfl told NBC News on Thursday.
Baldwin appeared in a Waterloo court on Thursday and waived extradition, not challenging his transportation to Tennessee, according to Krapfl. It wasn't immediately known if Baldwin had retained a lawyer in Tennessee where he will be prosecuted first, officials said.
McCall's strangled body was found on March 10, 1991, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in a wooded area near the Saturn Parkway and Port Royal Road offramp, prosecutors said.
McCall, a 33-year-old from Topping, Virginia, "had torn clothing, undergarments and obvious injuries to the face and neck," prosecutors said. The victim, who was 24-weeks pregnant, had been seen traveling with a semi-truck driver, a witness told investigators.
“I'm also very happy to be able to give Rose McCall's mother a chance to see justice for her daughter's and granddaughter's murders,” Lawrence County District Attorney Brent Cooper said. “As she put it in a recent phone call, ‘At least I have a grave to visit, some moms don’t even that.'"
Baldwin is also facing murder charges in Wyoming, dating back to March and April of 1992, authorities there said.
The first woman was found at the Bitter Creek turnout in Sweetwater County and the unidentified victim dubbed “Bitter Creek Betty,” Wyoming state authorities said.
The next month, state transportation employees found another slain, unidentified woman who they called “I-90 Jane Doe,” authorities said.
Investigators are taking fresh looks at other unsolved murders of women near highways from that era, which could possibly be tied to Baldwin.
The body of 21-year-old Grinnell College student Tammy Jo Zywicki was found in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, on Sept. 1, 1992. Her car had broken down on Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Illinois, on Aug. 23 and witnesses at the time said a truck driver had come to her assistance, investigators said.
She had been bound, sexually assaulted and stabbed to death before her body was wrapped in a blanket.
Then on Sept. 7, 1992, the body of Rhonda Anette Knutson was found in the back of a 24-hour convenience store in Williamstown, Iowa, where she worked the overnight shift, police said.
Knutson, whose store was near the junction of U.S. Highways 63, 18 and 346, had been bludgeoned to death, officials said.
“Obviously there are several cases that need to be followed up on,” Krapfl said.