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Robert Charles BROWNE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer?
Characteristics: Missionary (killing cheating women)
Number of victims: 2 - 49
Date of murders: 1970 - 1995
Date of arrest: March 28, 1995
Date of birth: October 31, 1952
Victims profile: Rocio Delpilar Sperry, 15 / Heather Dawn Church, 13
Method of murder: Strangulation / Stabbing with knife
LocationColorado/Several States, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison in Colorado in 1996 and 2006
 
 

 
 
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The 44-page affidavit is a chronology of Robert Charles Browne’s contacts with investigators and a case-by-case narrative from those investigators. The document contains profane language and graphic descriptions.

 
investigator's affidavit
 
 

 

El Paso County Sheriff's Office

 
browne overview
 
browne summary
 
 

 
 
information
 
 

 
 

Robert Charles Browne (born October 31, 1952) is a murderer and possible serial killer currently serving a life sentence in Colorado. Browne was born in Coushatta, Louisiana. He was a high school dropout who joined the Army and served from 1969 to 1976, when he was dishonorably discharged for drug abuse.

In his confession, authorities say Browne admitted to murdering up to 49 people in a period spanning from 1970 until he was arrested and put in prison in 1995.

Browne instigated the new investigation by sending a cryptic letter to the authorities in 2000. The letter read "Seven sacred virgins entombed side by side, those less worthy are scattered wide, the score is you 1, the other team 48.” The letter included a hand drawn map with outlines of Colorado, Washington, California, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, with the body count written inside each state.

Browne claims that he killed his first victim, a soldier serving in South Korea, in 1970. Browne claimed that, in the ensuing decades, he went on to murder seven people in Texas, nine in Colorado, 17 in Louisiana, three in Mississippi, five in Arkansas, two each for California, Oklahoma and New Mexico with a single victim in Washington state.

If true, his claims would put him as the most prolific serial killer in United States history, surpassing Gary Leon Ridgway who, in 2003, became the nation's deadliest known serial killer after confessing to 48 murders.

Browne was arrested in 1995 on charges of murdering Heather Dawn Church in 1991.

On July 27, 2006, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Rocio Delpilar Sperry, who was killed at the age of 15 on November 10, 1987, at a Colorado Springs apartment complex.

In his confession, authorities say Browne admitted to murdering up to 48 other people in a period spanning from 1970 until his arrest. Browne instigated a new investigation by sending a cryptic letter to the authorities in 2000. The letter read "Seven sacred virgins entombed side by side, those less worthy are scattered wide, the score is you 1, the other team 48.” The letter included a hand drawn map with outlines of Colorado, Washington, California, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, with the body count written inside each state.

Wikipedia.org


Convict in Colorado says he killed 49

Slayings covered wide area with no clear pattern

The Boston Globe

By Jon Sarche, Associated Press

July 29, 2006

DENVER -- Robert Charles Browne says he shot some of his victims and strangled others, in one case with a pair of leather shoelaces. He knocked out one woman with ether, then used an ice pick on her. He put a rag soaked in ant killer over another victim's face and stabbed her nearly 30 times with a screwdriver.

If Browne is telling the truth about killing 49 people across the country, his crimes practically constitute a manual on the many ways in which to kill.

In fact, it may have been the variety in his methods that kept authorities from connecting the crimes until Browne sent a taunting letter to prosecutors six years ago.

"Sometimes killers do not replicate things from one crime to the next," said criminologist Robert Keppel, a professor at Sam Houston State University and author of the 1997 book "Signature Killers." ``That makes it hard on police."

Colorado authorities announced on Thursday that Browne, 53, claimed to have committed scores of killings between 1970 and his arrest in 1995. He has pleaded guilty to two slayings and is serving a life sentence for murdering a Colorado girl in 1991.

Investigators so far have been able to corroborate Browne's claims in six slayings -- three in Louisiana, two in Texas, and one in Arkansas, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

In some cases, however, investigators have been unable to confirm some of his claims to have dumped bodies in certain places. And in other cases, he cannot remember enough details for investigators to check out what he is telling them.

Court papers paint a picture of a predator who loathed women and thought he was justified in killing them because they were cheating on their husbands and boyfriends -- in many cases, with him.

Browne, who has been married six times, said he has been disappointed with women his whole life. ``Women are unfaithful, they screw around a lot, they cheat, and they are not of the highest moral value," he told investigators. ``They cheat and they are users."

He told investigators he rarely if ever planned a killing, choosing his prey at random. He met his victims in everyday settings -- a motel bar, a convenience store where he worked. In one case, he was familiar with a victim's apartment because he had changed the locks there as a maintenance man.

He said he used different types of guns and sometimes beat his victims. One died after he put a rag soaked in ant killer over her face while she slept, he said.

An Army veteran who served in South Korea during the 1970s, Browne described killings committed with unspeakable cruelty. He said he dismembered Rocio Sperry, whose remains have never been found, in a bathtub, ``just popping" her joints and taking the body apart, investigators said. He said he was worried about being spotted carrying the body outside.

The remains of Nidia Mendoza, 17, were found dumped along a Houston interstate, her legs and head cut from the body. Browne told authorities he used a dull butcher knife that was in his motel kitchenette.

He told investigators in prison interviews that he never just went "looking for someone." When the opportunity was there, Browne said he took it -- "it was just disgust with the person and some of it just confrontation."

Maketa said Browne probably got away with his crimes because he never spent much time with his victims before killing them and was adept at disposing of their bodies.

It was Browne who spurred investigators to take another look at his past when he sent a letter in 2000.


Robert Charles Browne

Age: 53

Hometown: Browne grew up in Coushatta, La., a town of fewer than 3,000 people about 50 miles southeast of Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana.

Family: He was one of nine children, including three sets of twins. Browne has a twin sister. His father worked at a dairy farm, and a brother, Donald Browne, was once a trooper for the Louisiana State Police.

Education: Browne dropped out of Coushatta's high school in 1969 and joined the Army, serving in South Korea as a medic.

First criminal trouble: Browne was jailed in Louisiana for a car theft. He moved to Colorado in 1987, after his parole.

Marriages: Browne has been married six times, including to Diane M. Babbitts after he moved to Colorado. She filed for divorce in 1995 in El Paso County.

Robert Charles Browne, serving a life sentence in Colorado for the 1991 murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church, told an investigator that he has murdered dozens of other people, men and women. Here are some of the cases linked to him.

Katherine Hayes, 15, was reported missing July 4, 1980, in Louisiana. Hayes' body was found Oct. 16, 1980, in Nantachie Creek. She had been strangled.

Wanda Faye Hudson, 21, was found dead on May 28, 1983, in her Coushatta, La., apartment. She had been stabbed multiple times. Coushatta is Browne's hometown. Browne had done maintenance work on Hudson's apartment, including changing the lock on her door.

Faye Self, 26, was reported missing March 30, 1983, in Louisiana. Browne told authorities that her body was dumped in the Red River. She has never been found.

Melody Bush, 22, was found dead on March 30, 1984, in Fayette County, Texas. Her body was found in a drainage ditch and the coroner ruled Bush died of acute acetone poisoning.

Nidia Mendoza, 17, was reported missing on Feb. 2, 1984, in Texas. Her body was found on Feb. 6, 1984, in a ditch.

Rocio Sperry, 15, was reported missing on Nov. 15, 1987, in El Paso County. Browne, who pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison in this case, told an investigator that he dumped Sperry's body in a trash bin after strangling her in his apartment. Sperry has never been found.

Heather Dawn Church, 13, was reported missing on Sept. 17, 1991, in El Paso County. Church's remains were found on Sept. 16, 1993, on Rampart Range Road northwest of Colorado Springs. Browne is serving a life sentence in her death.

Lisa Lowe, 21, was reported missing on Nov. 3, 1991, in Arkansas. Lowe's body was found on Nov. 26, 1991, in the St. Francis River.

Kieran Nicholson - The Denver Post


Self-Proclaimed Serial Killer Claims He's Murdered 48

July 27, 2006

Thursday morning Robert Charles Browne pleaded guilty to the 1987 murder of Rocio Delpilar Sperry.

Sperry was 15 years old when she was killed in November 1987 at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs. Browne claims he put her in a dumpster after strangling her to death.

Browne told authorities he murdered 48 people from about 1970 until he was arrested and charged with the murder of Heather Dawn Church, 13, in El Paso County in March 1995.

Church was reported missing from her Black Forest area home in September 1991 and her body was discovered in September 1993.

Authorities have linked Browne to 19 slayings in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and South Korea.

In addition to Church, authorities have accounted for seven bodies connected with Browne's claims, one of the dead was Sperry, two others were in Texas, three in Louisiana, and one in Arkansas.

Browne claims he strangled Lisa Lowe, 21, to death in Arkansas in November 1991 and dumped her in a river.

Katherine Hayes, 15, went missing in July 1980 in Louisiana. Browne told investigators he strangled her to death with shoelaces.

Browne claims he killed 21-year-old Wanda Faye Hudson and 26-year-old Faye Self, both in Louisiana.

Melody Bush, 22, was killed in Texas after Browne says he picked her up on the side of the road in March 1984.

Browne says he strangled Nidia Mendoza, 17, to death in Texas in February 1984.

Browne told police in many of the cases he had consensual sex with the women or girls before killing them.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says Browne's claims of 48 murders could be credible.

"It's possible he's exaggerating, but I don't think you can conduct business assuming he's exaggerating," Maketa said. "We'll continue to pursue leads."

The sheriff's office says Browne claims to have strangled, shot or stabbed men and women he encountered at roadside turnouts, in bars or on the street. He would stab people with a knife, a screwdriver, or an ice pick. Browne told authorities he dismembered one victim in a motel room bathtub so he would not be seen carrying the body from the room, then put the parts in a suitcase and dumped it beside a road.

Browne discussed the slayings in sporadic meetings and an exchange of letters he had with Charlie Hess, a sheriff's department cold-case investigator, over four years.

Hess got involved after Browne started writing letters deputies described as "taunting" to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, but the letters abruptly broke off. "We started by writing a very direct letter to Robert indicating who we were," said Hess.

Hess said Browne then started the correspondence, but he did not want the investigators to come and see him in person. However, when he broke off communication again, investigators went to see him and Browne agreed to resume the correspondence.

"Little by little he gave us bits of information," said Hess. "Being non-judgmental was necessary."

"It became obvious with Robert that most things were a negotiation: If I can have a single cell I'll tell you this. If I can have this, I can give you three murders," said Hess. "All of the things he asked for were reasonable, within the law, with the rules of DOC."

"It became obvious that we had to go on, and in my mind that there still was more," said Hess.

Hess, who said he is a former FBI and CIA agent, volunteers to help the sheriff's office investigate cold cases.

"We don't like to call them cold cases, we like to call them unresolved cases. A cold case would indicate to me a case that is put on the shelf and forgotten. We don't forget them," said Hess.

Hess says he was originally drawn toward helping the sheriff's department after his own son-in-law was murdered.

Browne is the youngest of nine children, severed in the military and has an extensive criminal record. He served time for a motor vehicle theft in Louisiana and also as a history of arson, cruelty to animals, and burglary.

He was born on Halloween in 1952 and was married six different times. Police say they believe all of his former wives are still alive.


Admitted Serial Killer Linked to Slayings in Red River Parish

July 28, 2006

Robert Charles Browne, the son and brother of former lawmen who is imprisoned in Colorado for murder, is claiming responsibility for four dozen slayings nationwide over the past three decades, including three women in his former hometown of Coushatta.

Red River Parish Sheriff Johnny Ray Norman said Colorado authorities have contacted him and said the 53-year-old Browne, the son of a former sheriff's deputy and the brother of a former Louisiana state trooper, has admitted killing three people in Red River Parish in the 1980s.

They are a teen-aged girl picked up from a chicken restaurant in Coushatta; a woman who left a Louisiana Highway 1 bar with a man and was never seen again; and a neighbor stabbed to death at her apartment in Coushatta.

Sheriff Norman, a former educator who coached Browne when he was young, said he will meet with the Red River district attorney before deciding whether to send investigators to Colorado to interview Browne.

Investigators -- who said they believe many of Browne's claims and are investigating to see if others are true or exaggerations -- said the confessions developed after several years of correspondence and discussion between Browne and cold-case volunteer investigators. Authorities said Browne sent the first letter six years ago to prosecutors in Colorado.

Wanda Faye Hudson, 20, was found stabbed to death in her apartment in May 1983. Browne lived in the same apartment building and worked as a maintenance man. Authorities said he had changed the lock on Hudson's door the day before she died, saying the owner, his brother, wanted the lock changed. Browne told investigators it was a spur-of-the-moment slaying in which he subdued the woman with ant pesticide, which at the time contained chloroform, and then stabbed her with a screwdriver.

Ailene Self, 26, left the Wagon Wheel bar on Louisiana Highway 1 with a man in March 1983 and was never seen again. Investigators said Browne told them he went to Self's apartment, which was next to his. He said he placed a chloroform-soaked rag over her face and left to get rope to tie her up, but she died before he could have sex with her. He said he disposed of her body in the Red River, which was near the apartment building. Her body was never found.

The third victim was 16-year-old Katherine "Fuzzy" Hayes, who left Fausto's restaurant in Coushatta with a man in October 1980. Colorado investigators said Browne told of taking her to a house, having sex with her and strangling her with shoelaces before dumping her body. Her body was found about six months later in Winn Parish.

El Paso County, Colo., sheriff's deputies said Browne told investigators he killed people from 1970 until his arrest in 1995 for kidnapping and killing 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church of Black Forest, Colo. He is serving a life sentence for her slaying.

Authorities believe Browne's claims are credible. They said they have linked him to 19 slayings in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and South Korea.

Browne pleaded guilty Thursday to murder in the 1987 slaying of Rocio Sperry, the wife of a soldier and the mother of a 3-month-old girl. Browne admitted strangling Sperry and putting her body in a trash bin. She was never found.


Tips flood sheriff's office after serial killer story

July 28, 2006

A Shreveport teen has been missing since the 1980s.

A 12-year-old girl was abducted from a ballpark in Arkansas 12 years ago.

Alexandria, La., has several unsolved murder cases where women’s bodies were dumped.

A case of a woman killed in June 1977 in Monroe County, Ill., remains unsolved.

A woman’s arms were found in a dumpster in Tucson, Ariz., in 1992.

These are among the nearly 50 inquiries from numerous states that came in to El Paso County officials this morning in the wake of news reports that Robert Charles Browne is a serial killer who claims to have left 48 victims in nine states and abroad, making him one of the nation’s most prolific killers.

Officials have corroborated eight of the killings with evidence in the states where they occurred – one in Arkansas, two each in Colorado and Texas and three in Louisiana. That leaves most uncorroborated.

“I’m busy with the phones as you can imagine,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Ken Hilte. “These calls are coming in minutes apart.”

Hilte is compiling reports, which will be prioritized depending on their urgency. Law enforcement inquiries get attention first.

“They’re recognizing the method of operations. They’re saying we have something similar to this,” he said. “Can you tell us whether or not you can place the guy in our jurisdiction?”

Hilte said investigators use credit and job history to pinpoint an individual’s location in time.

But Browne might be trickier. His cross-country delivery jobs allowed him to go on “ramblings” hours from his home looking for “opportunities,” the term he used to describe his killings to investigators.

“As is often the case with many serial killers, Browne was a truck driver for a while, and that provided him mobility and anonymity,” Hilte said.

He also has been able to determine in short order whether some missing or dead people were a victim of Browne’s.

For example, 6-year-old Morgan Nick, who was abducted from a ballpark in Arkansas 12 years ago couldn’t be Browne’s victim. That’s because he was in prison at that time on a life sentence in the 1991 kidnapping and murder of Heather Dawn Church, 13, from her Black Forest home.

Some pleas are heart-wrenching, Hilte said, such as one from a reporter in Michigan who’s sister went missing in Baton Rouge, Mich., in 1992.

“Everyone wants that closure. They want to know what happened,” he said.

He said all callers are serious, leaving their phone numbers and giving information investigators can use to determine whether Browne could be involved.


Heather Dawn Church´s father reacts to serial killer´s claims

July 28, 2006

Mike Church Describes His Emotions When He Found That His Daughter's Killer May Have Murdered Dozens

When investigators solved the murder of Heather Dawn Church, her father received some closure. But with the claim that Robert Charles Browne has killed 48 others, Mike Church can't help but feel for the possible victim's families.

"He's sick, he's sadistic, I feel he's a coward," says Church. "There seems to be no closure for me, you know this is the second time he's come around."

The man who pled guilty to the 1991 murder of his 13-year old daughter Heather, is back in the news, claiming to be a serial killer.

"Lou Smit, the detective in charge at that time, he told me, he says Mike, this guy is a real bad, a real bad person," says Church.

So bad, in fact, that he may be the most prolific killer in United States history, although he's been convicted of just two murders. Heather Church's and Rocio Sperry. She was 15-years old when she disappeared from Colorado Springs in 1987. On Thursday, Browne received a second life sentence in that case, again avoiding the death penalty.

"He took the lives of all these people and all he's thinking about now is protecting his own life," says Church, who finds solace with the fact that Sperry's husband and daughter now know what happened 19 years ago.

"I can identify with him and I'm so very thankful for the closure that he has with his family and his daughter," says Church.

For the families of the 41 other possible victims, Church says there's always hope.

"You never give up hope, you're always waiting for a phone call, you're always waiting for a knock."

Church also hopes for something else.

"I hope (Browne), I hope he dies in prison."

Two tip lines have been set up through the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, for any information about Browne and his possible victims: 520-7209 and 492-7349.


Far from crime, a break

July 28, 2006

In Colorado, admitted serial killer details Flatonia woman's slaying in 1984.

For more than two decades, the killing of Melody Ann Bush has stumped Fayette County investigators.

When the 22-year-old's body first surfaced in a culvert, two miles north of Flatonia along Farm-To-Market Road 609 on March 30, 1984, authorities weren't sure what killed her.

The autopsy performed in Travis County was even more mysterious. Cause of death was listed as "acute acetone poisoning."

If someone were forced to drink enough acetone, a chemical found in everything from nail polish remover and paint remover to drain clog remover, they would likely vomit it up before a deadly amount could be ingested.

How could Melody Bush be killed by acetone when her own body's natural reaction — if she were forced to drink it — would be to throw it back up

At first investigators turned to her husband, Robert Stewart Bush. The two had been arguing and drinking the night Bush was last seen in the Antlers Inn's Stag Bar at the back of the hotel in Flatonia.

"They were really blaming Robert when it first happened," said Robert Bush's brother, Walter. But investigators never came up with any evidence that tied Robert Bush to his wife's murder.

And so the case grew cold until 2003, when a strange break came from nearly 1,000 miles away, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

An El Paso County Sheriff's Office investigator there had talked to a man serving a life sentence for a 1991 murder of a teenager.

Surprisingly, the inmate, Robert Charles Browne, provided evidence to the Colorado investigators about a 1984 murder of a woman he met in a bar in Flatonia.

The details Browne provided were uncanny.

In an affidavit released in Colorado on Thursday, Browne wrote El Paso investigator Charlie Hess a tantalizing letter in which he first informs authorities that he's involved in Bush's murder.

"I thought long and hard about picking an incident that would not be lost among the many others," Browne wrote in a March 8, 2003, letter to Hess. "The town I chose is Flatonia, Texas ... The last I heard was that her husband was being charged with her murder."

In subsequent interviews, Browne, who authorities say has admitted to killing 49 people in nine states from 1970 to 1995, provided shocking details.

He told Hess that he met the victim in a bar at the back of a hotel that had a name like "Deer" or "Stag."

Browne talked of encountering a drunk female, who was barefoot and had just had a fight with her boyfriend or husband.

The last time anyone set eyes on Melody Bush — either on the night of March 18 or 19, 1984, she was having trouble walking. It wasn't just that she was barefoot, she had been drinking, according to the Stag Bar's then-manager, Florine Troquille.

"She recounted Ms. Bush was very intoxicated and 'spaced out' and was not wearing shoes," the Colorado affidavit states.

At this point, Browne's story begins to differ somewhat from that of the one witness in the bar, Troquille.

Troquille, who declined to be interviewed Friday, told investigators that Bush, who sometimes waitressed for her, left the bar alone.

Browne said he left the bar with Bush and went back to his hotel room.

After they had sex, Browne told Hess: "Then I used ether on her. Put her out. And then I used a ice pick on her."

"She was just actin' like a slutty, low-life woman," Browne told investigators.

Browne then returned to the Stag before returning to his hotel room.

Then he went to the bar again, the affidavit stated. Browne and a bartender went to a local truck stop for breakfast and then Browne went back to his motel room, where Bush's body was still on the bed.

He loaded her body into his van and then drove north of Flatonia and dumped the body over a bridge.

Robert Bush could not be reached for comment in his home in Colorado.

Browne told investigators he had used ether a number of times on his victims. When asked if he ever used acetone, he "replied that he never used acetone on any of his victims."

Troquille told investigators that she remembered a silk flower salesman who used to stop by the bar.

Browne told investigators in Colorado that at the time of Bush's murder, he was employed as a truck driver and delivered flowers. One of his routes took him through Flatonia.

Ric Cole, an investigator with Fayette County Sheriff's Office in La Grange, said officials have never interviewed Browne. He said the department is trying to keep specifics about Bush out of the public airwaves so that they can prove whether Browne is telling the truth.

"Mr. Browne, he gives information then he takes it back," Cole said, explaining that Browne has never made an official statement after he is a read a Miranda warning.

"In the past, he has never given information to those investigators on my case after he is read a Miranda warning."

He and other investigators on the case, including the Texas Rangers, want to see more information before deciding that Browne is indeed Bush's killer.

"Just because someone admitted that they committed a homicide, it still has to be proven that he did it," Cole said. "We don't know what we're looking at yet."


Serial Killer: "None Ever Got Away"

July 28, 2006

Looking back, Johnny Norman remembers Robert Charles Browne as a tough kid from a hard-luck family who had a quick mind and a bad temper.

Now, the kid Norman once taught in gym class in Coushatta, La., could turn out to be one of the nation's most prolific killers.

Browne, who is already serving a life sentence for killing a teenager, entered a Colorado Springs courtroom Thursday and pleaded guilty to killing another teenager, one of 48 additional people he claims to have killed dating back to 1970.

"He was a loner, but not somebody you'd expect to do this," Norman, now sheriff in Red River Parish, La., said in a telephone interview. "He did have a hot temper. In a pickup basketball game, somebody fouled him or hit him, he'd fly off the handle."

Investigators so far have been able to corroborate Browne's detailed claims in six more slayings, three in Louisiana, two in Texas and one in Arkansas, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

"It's possible he's exaggerating, but I don't think you can conduct business assuming he's exaggerating," Maketa said.

CBS News correspondent Jennifer Miller reports that Browne had details of the crimes that no one else could have had.

If Browne's claims prove true, he would be one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history. Gary Ridgway, Seattle's Green River Killer who in 2003 became the nation's deadliest convicted serial killer, admitted to 48 murders but once said he killed as many as 71 women, according to interview transcripts.

Browne's public defender, Bill Schoewe, did not return a call.

A 44-page affidavit paints a picture of a killer who met his victims, sometimes men but mostly women, in everyday situations: a motel bar, an apartment complex, even a convenience store where he worked.

In one case, Browne allegedly used ether to knock out a drunken woman he was seducing and then "used an ice pick on her." In another, authorities said he used ant killer to subdue a woman he later stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver.

Authorities said Browne grew up the youngest of nine children in the northern Louisiana town of Coushatta, about 40 miles southeast of Shreveport. Norman, the sheriff, said the Browne family ran a dairy in the 1960s and had hard times. "He came from a tough family," he said.

He was married six times, Miller reports, and authorities said all his ex-wives are still alive.

Browne's former high school teacher told CBS News that Browne was competitive and had a temper, but wasn't too different from most kids.

"I remember him being kind of a loner. He wasn't one that had a lot of friends, but he had friends," the teacher said.

Browne, a high school dropout who got kicked out of the Army for drug use, said his killing spree began during a bar fight with a soldier in South Korea in 1970. Maketa said that claim has not been verified.

The other claims include 17 murders in Louisiana, nine in Colorado, seven in Texas, five in Arkansas, three in Mississippi, two each in California, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and one in Washington state, Maketa said.

Browne pleaded guilty in 1995 to kidnapping and murder in the 1991 death of Heather Dawn Church, 13, of Black Forest, a town north of Colorado Springs. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Rocio Sperry, a girl who was about 15 at the time of her death 19 years ago.

Investigator Charlie Hess said he believes the killer himself doesn't even know why he is confessing.

"Does he have a conscience? Is that what motivated him? I really have no idea and I'm not sure he knows," Hess said.

It was Browne who spurred investigators to take another look at his past when he sent an unsolicited letter to prosecutors in 2000.

"Seven sacred virgins entombed side by side, those less worthy are scattered wide," the letter says. "The score is you 1, the other team 48."

The letter included a map traced from an atlas, and it showed outlines of Colorado, Washington, California, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. Browne wrote a number inside each state and the total was 48.

Authorities responded, but Browne clammed up for a while, then agreed to more discussions. Eventually, he began providing details on other slayings.

Retired Colorado Springs police investigator Lou Smit, famous for suggesting that 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey's killer was an intruder, had helped authorities build the Church case. He said he always had a feeling Browne was something even worse.

"'I know a guy who might be a serial killer,'" he recalled telling fellow cold-case volunteers in 2002. They contacted Browne and the off-again, on-again discussions began again.

Browne was asked whether any of his victims ever got away.

He told investigators: "None ever got away; never gave the opportunity. If you're going to do it, just do it."


Anguish stirs after confesión

July 28, 2006

El Paso County sheriff's investigators received hundreds of tips and inquiries Friday from as far away as the Czech Republic after news broke that Robert Charles Browne claimed he had killed up to 48 people, including nine from Colorado.

"They're coming in like you wouldn't believe. They're coming in from all over," said Jeff Nohr, an investigator with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office who interviewed Browne 22 times. "They're coming continual, from other agencies, families of victims and people just looking for answers: 'Could he have done my sister or my mother?' We'll have to do comparison, reviews, to the background of Robert's past victims."

Meanwhile, prison officials in Cañon City, where Browne has been serving a life sentence for the 1991 killing of Heather Dawn Church, said Friday that they have new safety risks to consider given publication of his claims to be a serial killer.

"What transpired yesterday changes everything," said Patti Micciche, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. "Now everyone is aware of his crimes."

Inmates wishing to earn status in gangs or to make a name for themselves have attacked notorious criminals such as Jeffrey Dahmer. The Wisconsin serial killer was beaten to death in prison.

Browne has been held in the general population at the Territorial Correctional Facility, the old maximum-security prison in Cañon City where death row inmates were once executed.

But, Micciche said, before Browne is returned to prison from the temporary custody of El Paso County, prison officials must decide where to put him.

"To now stick a high-profile guy in general population may not be the best thing for him or the other inmates," she said.

Even if Browne is returned to Territorial, he may be segregated, said Cheryl Ahumada, a corrections spokeswoman.

State officials could also transfer him to Colorado's highest security prison, Colorado State Penitentiary, a few miles from Territorial, she said.

Prisoners at CSP are kept in isolated cells 23 hours a day and are only allowed to exercise and shower for one hour alone. They receive all programming, including anger management classes, through closed-circuit TV in their cells, she said.

Investigator Nohr said Browne has provided information about 20 other cases, but officials cannot corroborate the information.

Browne does not include Church in his tally of victims. While he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, he has maintained his innocence in her death.

El Paso County commissioners authorized $20,000 for investigative work.

Patricia Day of Dallas was one of many who contacted El Paso County on Friday.

She said her daughter Jennifer was kidnapped from a doughnut shop where she worked, a block from their home, on a Sunday morning in 1986.
Just shy of Jennifer's 15th birthday, her body was discovered in a field about 10 miles away. She was stabbed in the neck. She was 5 feet tall and weighed a little more than 100 pounds.

Many of Browne's victims were young and petite, El Paso County officials said.

"These murders were just too much like Jennifer's for me to not contact somebody," Day said.

Nohr said the new tips will be prioritized and leads will be processed or forwarded to the appropriate agencies.

In the one case in Colorado Springs, Browne said he had gone to Cowboy's nightclub.

"He had seen this lady there. He left, sees her hitchhiking north on Academy Boulevard, and then he picked her up. He then strangled her and disposed of her body up in Teller County," Nohr said. "We have not been able to figure out who this person is. Multiple missing persons have been researched; nothing matched."

In September 2005, authorities searched an area off Gold Camp Road. No human remains were found.

Officers did find the upper shafts of what they believe to be a black and gray cowboy boot.

While Browne mentioned that he may have killed a couple off Interstate 70, investigators have not been able to corroborate his information.

"We spoke with CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) in regards to that, and nothing could be located," Nohr said. "An off-line search was conducted for any vehicles being abandoned, and any rest areas overlooking. Nothing like that was ever found.

"He was not definite and could not recall whether that was even Colorado where that occurred. He doesn't know," Nohr said.


Serial Killer's Confession Points Toward 22-year-old Sugar Land Murder Case

July 28, 2006

One cold February night 22 years ago, a 17-year-old Panamanian immigrant from Houston finished dancing her shift at the Dames Night Club on 9605 Southwest Freeway and went out the back door with three men.

Nidia Itzel Bolivar Mendoza never was heard from again. Her mother reported her missing.

Four days later, on Feb. 6, 1984, a man driving on U.S. 59 hit a bump near the Stafford-Sugar Land boundary line, and lost a hubcap. He turned off on what was then known as the Corporate Turn-Around and began searching through a nearby field.

Instead of a hubcap, he found pieces of Nidia Mendoza’s body.

Sugar Land Police detectives worked the case for years, following leads, combing through evidence and amassing a 600-page investigative report. But they had no suspect until 2004.

Now, 22 years after the grisly murder, their suspect has confessed. Robert Charles Browne, serving a life sentence in Colorado for another murder, has reportedly confessed to killing as many as 48 people.

At a press conference Friday morning, Sugar Land Police Captain Gary Cox explained why investigators believe one of those 48 is Nidia Mendoza.

Cox said Sugar Land investigators have been working with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado for a year and a half, since Brown first made statements indicating he knew details of Mendoza’s killing that had never been made public.

Within the past few days and for unknown reasons, Browne has begun confessing to a murder spree, spanning 15 years and stretching through seven states, beginning in 1970 and ending with his 1995 arrest for the murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church in Colorado.

According to news accounts, Browne pleaded guilty Thursday to killing Colorado teenager Rocio Sperry in 1987.

Details in Browne’s statements have led law enforcement agencies to the conclusion he may be responsible for at least six of the murders to which he has confessed – one in Arkansas, three in Louisiana and two in Texas, including Mendoza’s.

“At this point,” Cox said Friday, “we’re hopefully optimistic that Mr. Browne is going to be (proved) responsible” for the Houston girl’s murder.

Statements Browne made to El Paso County, Colo., detectives, coupled with information gathered in the case, now lead Sugar Land investigators to conclude that Mendoza left the Dames Night Club with Browne on the night of Feb. 2, Cox said.

He was driving a white van he used on his job making deliveries for a now-defunct silk flower wholesaling operation called J & H Wholesale. Browne took the girl to a motel police believe now is an Embassy Suites motel, on U.S. 59 near South Gessner in Houston, not far from where Mendoza lived.

Browne told investigators he had sex with the girl and strangled her, then put her body in a bathtub in the room, and cut her legs off at the thighs, and cut off her head.

“Mr. Browne indicated he actually dismembered the body and put the pieces in a suitcase,” Cox said. “He actually walked through the hotel with the suitcase” emptied the contents into the van, then went back to the room to get the additional body parts.

Browne told detectives he transported the body parts to the field in Sugar Land, where the man searching for his hubcap discovered them a few days later.

According to news reports, Browne also strangled and then dismembered the Sperry girl in Colorado. Despite his conviction in the case, her remains never were recovered.

Cox said Sugar Land investigators traveled to the out-of-state home of Mendoza’s mother recently to personally inform her that they believe they’ve found her daughter’s killer.

“I think she was elated” to learn a break finally has come in the case, Cox said. “We always like to bring closure to families, even to ourselves” after spending so much time on cold cases.

Cox said Sugar Land investigators have been invited to travel to Colorado and try to gain an interview with Browne, along with El Paso County detectives.

But after conferring with Fort Bend County District Attorney’s officials, the “game plan” that’s been developed is to wait before trying to approach the confessed killer.

One consideration detectives face is that “Mr. Browne is a unique individual. He’s not the type of individual where we can just show up and say we want to interview,” Cox said.

For instance, Browne “was playing games” with Colorado officials long before he began providing information on other cases and began confessing.

At one point in 2000, according to news accounts, Browne sent a letter to Colorado prosecutors that said, in part, “Seven sacred virgins entombed side by side, those less worthy are scattered wide.”

Cox said Browne also told Colorado officials “the score is 1 for you and 48 for me.”

Sugar Land police kept a significant amount of evidence in the case, but it was never submitted for DNA testing because that technology didn’t exist when Mendoza was murdered.

Now that evidence has been submitted to a state laboratory for DNA testing. After the results are returned, which police say could take two months or more, then Sugar Land detectives will decide how to proceed.

“Is there a sense of urgency in solving this case? Sure there is,” Cox said of the Mendoza murder. However, Browne “is serving a life sentence and he’s not getting out.”

Obviously, Cox said, “Mr. Browne has nothing to lose at this point. He’s offered this information for his own comfort.

“The bottom line is, how is justice served?”


Serial Killer Claims To Have Killed Two In California

July 28, 2006

Colorado police are investigating claims that a serial killer there may have committed two murders in California.

Robert Charles Browne claims to have killed 48 men and women in nine states over a 30-state period. He's serving a life sentence for killing a 13-year-old girl. On Thursday he pleaded guilty to murdering another teenager.

Browne told authorities he committed the murders from 1970 until his arrest in 1995. Detectives have linked him to at least seven murders so far.

He said he shot a man and woman on a Mendocino County beach in 1986. He said he met the couple after he stopped along Highway One to spend the night. Although the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department does not have a case matching that description and time frame, officials there are still looking into the claims.

If all his claims prove true, Browne could be one of the deadliest killers in U.S. history.


Tips flood sheriff's office after serial killer story

July 28, 2006

A Shreveport teen has been missing since the 1980s.

A 12-year-old girl was abducted from a ballpark in Arkansas 12 years ago.

Alexandria, La., has several unsolved murder cases where women’s bodies were dumped.

A case of a woman killed in June 1977 in Monroe County, Ill., remains unsolved.

A woman’s arms were found in a dumpster in Tucson, Ariz., in 1992.

These are among the nearly 50 inquiries from numerous states that came in to El Paso County officials this morning in the wake of news reports that Robert Charles Browne is a serial killer who claims to have left 48 victims in nine states and abroad, making him one of the nation’s most prolific killers.

Officials have corroborated eight of the killings with evidence in the states where they occurred – one in Arkansas, two each in Colorado and Texas and three in Louisiana. That leaves most uncorroborated.

“I’m busy with the phones as you can imagine,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Ken Hilte. “These calls are coming in minutes apart.”

Hilte is compiling reports, which will be prioritized depending on their urgency. Law enforcement inquiries get attention first.

“They’re recognizing the method of operations. They’re saying we have something similar to this,” he said. “Can you tell us whether or not you can place the guy in our jurisdiction?”

Hilte said investigators use credit and job history to pinpoint an individual’s location in time.

But Browne might be trickier. His cross-country delivery jobs allowed him to go on “ramblings” hours from his home looking for “opportunities,” the term he used to describe his killings to investigators.

“As is often the case with many serial killers, Browne was a truck driver for a while, and that provided him mobility and anonymity,” Hilte said.

He also has been able to determine in short order whether some missing or dead people were a victim of Browne’s.

For example, 6-year-old Morgan Nick, who was abducted from a ballpark in Arkansas 12 years ago couldn’t be Browne’s victim. That’s because he was in prison at that time on a life sentence in the 1991 kidnapping and murder of Heather Dawn Church, 13, from her Black Forest home.

Some pleas are heart-wrenching, Hilte said, such as one from a reporter in Michigan who’s sister went missing in Baton Rouge, Mich., in 1992.

“Everyone wants that closure. They want to know what happened,” he said.

He said all callers are serious, leaving their phone numbers and giving information investigators can use to determine whether Browne could be involved.


Browne described as polite, bright

July 28, 2006

Polite. Courteous. An IQ of 140. And he kills people, perhaps as many as 49, usually by strangling them.

That's the portrait of Robert Charles Browne that emerged Thursday as authorities in El Paso County revealed some of what they've learned through four years of patient, persistent correspondence and prison visits with the 53-year-old convicted killer and self-described serial murderer.

Investigators said the former convenience store clerk from Coushatta, La., barely knew the names of some of his victims. Others he does not remember at all.

Until Thursday, he was mostly known as the man who killed Heather Dawn Church, a 13-year-old honor student from Black Forest, about 12 miles northeast of Colorado Springs.

On Sept. 17, 1991, Church was baby-sitting her 5-year-old brother, Sage, while her mother and two other brothers attended a Boy Scout meeting. When they returned home, Heather had vanished.

Two years later, her skull was discovered on Rampart Range Road west of Colorado Springs. She had died from blows to the head.

At the time of Church's disappearance, Browne lived a half-mile from her home.

Ironically, Browne has roots in law enforcement: He's the son of a deputy sheriff and the brother of a Louisiana state trooper.

He also is a former Army medic who was discharged in 1976.

He worked steadily from 1981 to 1988, according to investigators, with the exception of a 10-month gap, when he served a prison sentence for stealing a truck.

It was that crime that would give investigators a vital clue. A fingerprint found at the Church home matched a print Louisiana authorities obtained in his vehicle theft case.

Born on Halloween, Browne grew up in a large, hardscrabble family in Coushatta, a small northern Louisiana town about 40 miles southeast of Shreveport, according to Red River Parish Sheriff Johnny Norman.

Norman, who taught driver's and physical education in the 1960s, knew Browne as a student in the eighth and ninth grade.

"He was kind of a loner, but he had friends. He was a good student. He did have a little temper," Norman said.

Norman said the Browne family ran a dairy in the 1960s. There were nine children, including three sets of twins. "They came up during some hard times," Norman added.

Still, Norman said he was surprised at the disclosures in Colorado. "You just don't think in a small community like this that someone who would do something like that would come from here."

Browne's father, Ronald, was a deputy when the department was investigating the death of Wanda Hudson, a woman in her 20s, the sheriff said. Browne has now confessed to that slaying, investigators say.

Browne had a series of six wives or "what he would consider a wife," said El Paso District Attorney John Newsome, who noted a few interesting facts about them: all six were similar in appearance and all were petite, weighing between 95 and 125 pounds. All six are still alive, Newsome added.

Brown joined the Army at age 17 and served from 1969 to 1976, attaining the rank of sergeant before being dishonorably discharged on a drug conviction. He has told investigators he committed his first slaying in 1970 while posted in South Korea. This murder remains uncorroborated.

He later worked a series of jobs, including truck driver and silk flower delivery man, which were conducive to the "ramblings" that allowed him to troll for potential victims.

"Robert is what I would consider a very intelligent individual," said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. "He knew exactly what he was doing."

Former FBI Agent Charlie Hess, who volunteers as a cold case investigator for the sheriff's department, agreed with Maketa's assessment.

"He was always polite. He was always respectful," Hess said. "He has a high IQ."

Serial killings

In a series of letters and interviews, Robert Charles Browne told authorities he killed 49 people in nine states and South Korea. Among those cases are:

2 confirmed murders in Colorado: Rocio Delpilar Sperry, 15, in Colorado Springs in 1987, and Heather Dawn Church, 13, in Colorado Springs in 1991 .

8 that investigators have corroborated with evidence independent of Browne's account: three in Louisiana, two in Texas, one in Arkansas and the two in Colorado.

9 killings in Colorado that Browne has claimed. Seven are uncorroborated.

19 deaths about which Browne has knowledge available only to the killer and investigators. His details are so scant in several of the other cases that authorities have not been able to confirm them.


Serial Killer Claims Creativity in Slayings

July 28, 2006

Robert Charles Browne says he shot some of his victims and strangled others, in one case with a pair of leather shoelaces. He knocked out one woman with ether, then used an ice pick on her. He put a rag soaked in ant killer over another victim's face and stabbed her nearly 30 times with a screwdriver.

If Browne is telling the truth about killing 49 people across the country, his crimes practically constitute a manual on the many ways in which to kill.

In fact, it may have been the variety in his methods that kept authorities from connecting the crimes until Browne sent a taunting letter to prosecutors six years ago.

"Sometimes killers do not replicate things from one crime to the next," said criminologist Robert Keppel, a professor at Sam Houston State University and author of the 1997 book "Signature Killers." "That makes it hard on police."

Colorado authorities announced Thursday that Browne, 53, claimed to have committed scores of killings between 1970 and his arrest in 1995. He has pleaded guilty to two slayings and is serving a life sentence for murdering a Colorado girl in 1991.

Investigators so far have been able to corroborate Browne's claims in six slayings _ three in Louisiana, two in Texas and one in Arkansas, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

In some cases, however, investigators have been unable to confirm some of his claims to have dumped bodies in certain places. And in other cases, he cannot remember enough details for investigators to check out what he is telling them.

Court papers paint a picture of a predator who loathed women and thought he was justified in killing them because they were cheating on their husbands and boyfriends _ in many cases, with him.

Browne, who has been married six times, said he has been disappointed with women his whole life. "Women are unfaithful, they screw around a lot, they cheat and they are not of the highest moral value," he told investigators. "They cheat and they are users."

Vicki Woods, a lifelong friend of Browne in his hometown of Coushatta, La., said she was stunned to hear of the allegations. "This is not a side of Robert I ever imagined," she said.

Woods said she had complete trust in Browne, who baby-sat her preteen son and daughter in the 1980s. Her children also went to Browne's Easter egg hunts and spent weekends at a trailer he owned near the small rural town in northern Louisiana.

"I am so confused. I have no idea what's going on, except that I feel like I have lost a friend," she said.

After one of the killings in Coushatta _ a killing now linked to Browne _ he often insisted that women and children in the neighborhood stay indoors after dark, she said.

"He was so protective of us," Woods said.

Browne told investigators he rarely if ever planned a killing, choosing his prey at random. He met his victims in everyday settings _ a motel bar, a convenience store where he worked. In one case, he was familiar with a victim's apartment because he had changed the locks there as a maintenance man.

He said he used different types of guns and sometimes beat his victims. One died after he put a rag soaked in ant killer over her face while she was asleep, he said.

An Army veteran who served in South Korea during the 1970s, Browne described killings committed with unspeakable cruelty. He said he dismembered Rocio Sperry, whose remains have never been found, in a bathtub, "just popping" her joints and taking the body apart, investigators said. He said he was worried about being spotted carrying the body outside.

The remains of Nidia Mendoza, 17, were found dumped along a Houston interstate, her legs and head cut from the body. Browne told authorities he used a dull butcher knife that was in his motel kitchenette.

He told investigators in prison interviews that he never just went "looking for someone." When the opportunity was there, Browne said he took it _ "it was just disgust with the person and some of it just confrontation."

"No plan?" an investigator asked.

"No," Browne replied.

Maketa said Browne probably got away with his crimes because he never spent much time with his victims before killing them and was adept at disposing of their bodies.

If Browne's claims prove true, he would be one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history. Gary Ridgway, Seattle's Green River Killer, became the nation's deadliest convicted serial killer in 2003. He admitted to 48 murders but once said he killed as many as 71 women.

It was Browne who spurred investigators to take another look at his past when he sent a letter in 2000. It read: "Seven sacred virgins entombed side by side, those less worthy are scattered wide. The score is you 1, the other team 48."

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who was once El Paso County district attorney, said he believes Browne's claim to multiple slayings. He described the killer as intelligent.

"The combination of moving around a lot, picking random victims and being pretty clean about it, if he's telling the truth about how he disposed of the bodies _ that would show some pretty calculated methods to avoid detection," Suthers said.

But Keppel was skeptical of Browne's claim that he killed close to 50 people.

"Probably no doubt the guy's murdered a lot of people, but numbers are just for media purposes," Keppel said. "This guy has lied, cheated and stolen his whole life and there's no indication he's going to tell you the whole truth about all his victims."

Browne's public defender, Bill Schoewe, did not return calls seeking comment.


Serial killer swaps details of victims for prison favours

July 29, 2006

A MAN serving a life sentence for a single murder has said that he committed 48 others during a cross-country killing spree that spanned a quarter of a century.

If true it would make him one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Investigators in Colorado said they believed that Robert Browne’s claims were credible and appealed for help in tracing dozens of unknown victims from California to Louisiana.

Browne, 53, the son of a Louisiana deputy sheriff, has already been linked to seven confirmed murders of women and girls who ranged in age from 26 to 13. On Thursday he pleaded guilty in court to one of those murders, the 1987 strangulation of Roccio Sperry, a teenage bride from Colorado.

Browne could yet rival Gary Leon Ridgway, the Green River Killer of Washington State, who is believed to be the most prolific serial killer in the US. He was convicted of 48 murders committed in the early 1980s, but claimed to have killed 71 people.

Browne’s apparent killing spree lasted from 1970 to 1995, when he was jailed for the murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church in 1991. The girl was abducted from her bedroom in Black Forest, Colorado, while she was babysitting. Two years later a hiker found her skull in nearby mountains.

Browne, who was caught when his fingerprints were identified on the girl’s bedroom window ledge, was sentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors believed that his case was closed until March 2000, when he sent them a cryptic, rhyming letter that hinted at additional killings.

“Seven sacred virgins, entombed side by side, those less worthy, are scattered wide,” the letter read. “The score is you 1, the other team 48. If you were to drive to the end zone in a white Trans Am, the score could be 9 to 48.” He attached a hand-drawn map with numbers of victims in different states, but the information was too imprecise to work on. “His letters, his taunting letters, indicated that there were others and basically challenged us to find them,” Terry Maketa, the Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, said. Cold-case volunteers began a correspondence with Browne in which they coaxed out details of the killings in exchange for prison favours.

“He told me outright, ‘Get me a private doctor, I’ll give you three murders’,” Charlie Hess, 79, a retired CIA officer, who visited Browne in jail, said. Mr Hess followed through, and Browne yielded details that police said only the perpetrator could have known.

Calls were made to detectives around the country, who confirmed that the descriptions of the crimes matched unsolved cases from decades back. The victims were mostly what Browne called opportunities — women he picked up for sex. He told Mr Hess that he would strangle, stab or shoot them and then dump their bodies in rivers or rubbish bins.

Mr Hess said that he had no insight into Browne’s confession. “Does he have a conscience? Is that what motivated him? I really have no idea and I’m not sure he knows,” he said. Investigators say they hope that the confessions will help to bring closure to the families of the victims.

Joseph Sperry, now 39, who lost custody of his baby daughter after his family blamed him for the murder of his 15-year-old wife, Roccio, said that Browne’s guilty plea had brought him a measure of peace after two decades of grief.

“Last week was the first time I had a dream about my wife,” he said. “It was her face, and there was a bright light behind it. I woke up and I felt good. I feel I can move on.”

Browne said that he had also killed some men, including a soldier he fought over a prostitute while he was in the military in South Korea. The authorities have not confirmed that killing.

However, in several other cases the information he gave checked out against original accounts of the murders. These included the deaths of two women who lived in a Louisiana apartment block owned by Browne’s brother.

Police were also convinced that Browne had probably been responsible for the killing of a 17-year-old topless dancer he he picked up near Houston, Texas, and for the stabbing of a woman in a motel in Flatonia, Texas.


Confessions of self-professed killer open old wounds

July 29, 2006

The confessions of self-professed serial killer Robert Charles Browne are doing more than opening old wounds for the families of his alleged victims.

Family members whose loved ones are still classified as missing also are grasping for any tidbits of information that could give them hope -- or closure. The interest, coming from individuals and law enforcement agencies across the U.S., on Friday flooded a tip line that the El Paso County sheriff's office in Colorado Springs, Colo., set up Thursday after disclosing details on the myriad of homicides that Browne lays claim to.

"The tip line has been ringing constantly," said Andy Prehm, El Paso County sheriff's office public information officer. "I can't tell you how many, but we're getting steady calls."

Jamie Williams, of Bossier City, was one of the callers.

Williams' mother, Rebecca Gary, was last seen Dec. 27, 1988, at a Waffle House in Baton Rouge. Williams was 12 years old.

She knows the pain Tiffany Self, daughter of Faye Aline Self, is feeling. Aline Self is one of three Coushatta women that Browne, a Coushatta native, claims to have killed in the 1980s.

Browne has told Colorado authorities that he committed 17 murders in Louisiana, including the three in Red River Parish, one in Morgan City, one in New Orleans, and one in the Natchitoches Parish village of Clarence.

Tiffany Self, of Provencal, was only 11 months old when her mother walked out of the Wagon Wheel on state Highway 1 and was never seen again.

In all, Browne takes credit for 48 murders spanning from 1970 through 1995. He's been serving a life sentence for the 1991 murder of Heather Dawn Church of El Paso County. Thursday, he pleaded guilty to killing Rocia Delpilar Sperry on Nov. 10, 1987, in an apartment complex in Colorado Springs.

Williams doesn't know if her mother is one of Browne's unidentified victims in Louisiana. But while it might seem odd to some people, in a way she almost hopes that she is.

"It's the not knowing that's so hard. Most people have a graveside to go to and I don't," Williams said Friday. "I don't want her to be one of his victims, but in a strange way, it would be a relief and then I would know."

Williams said Colorado authorities told her they would call her back within 24 hours. That's more than she got, Williams said, than her call to the Baton Rouge Police Department. "They didn't even know what I was talking about."

Prehm said the wide variety of missing persons cases that are being reported on the tip hot line would be documented and shared with other law enforcement agencies to see if it coincides with any of their open cases. "Some other law enforcement agencies are saying they do have cases that might match."

Some doubts remain, however.

In addition to confessing to killing Self, Wanda Faye Hudson and Katherine Jean Hayes, also known as Fuzzy, all of Coushatta, Browne says in a 44-page affidavit that he also killed a Mansfield woman he met in a bar in Clarence. He identifies her only as "Hilltop Bar Lady."

Hudson was murdered in her apartment, which was near where Browne lived at the time. And Hayes was picked up from Fausto's chicken restaurant. Hayes' remains were found in Winn Parish six months later. Hudson's bloody body was found in her apartment, but Self's body has not been found.

Natchitoches Parish sheriff's Chief Investigator Travis Trammel said Friday he only learned of a possible connection with Natchitoches Parish on Thursday night when he received a call from a Baton Rouge reporter.

Since then, Trammel has the affidavit that includes other details from Browne's confession of various murders in the U.S. Browne said he picked up a woman, who was in her 20s or 30s, from a bar in Clarence, and took her to a motel. Later, Browne states that he strangled the woman and dumped her body off a cliff into the Red River.

The woman, Browne said in his affidavit, was a newlywed, but was expressing frustration with her husband, who was employed with International Paper Co.'s Mansfield Mill, because of his work schedule.

"All I know is what's in that affidavit," Trammel said.

Trammel has called the El Paso County sheriff's office and has received assurances that investigators will get in touch with him.

Meanwhile, Natchitoches investigators are manually searching through their records from 1983 to see if they can locate a report on a missing woman or a missing vehicle. The woman's vehicle reportedly was left in the bar's parking lot.

"Those records are not computerized," Trammel pointed out.

He notified DeSoto Parish sheriff's Lt. Toni Morris since it would be more likely that the woman's husband would have reported her missing there.

As of late Friday afternoon, Morris had yet to find any information related to Browne's allegation. But like in Natchitoches, the DeSoto sheriff's office also wasn't computerized in 1983, so those records will have to be located and searched, Morris said.

"The most logical thing is to talk to people who worked here back then, and I'm one of them, but nothing like that comes to my mind, and I think I would remember something like that," Morris said. "A woman, a newlywed, missing from Mansfield; I think something like that would have stuck out."

He was in the process of contacting two other former investigators who now hold other positions in the department to see if they still retained their investigative records from that time period.

Talking to longtime workers of IP also might be an option, Morris said.

"That's the only options that we have right now, but we will definitely check it out," the chief investigator added.

Louisiana state police investigators have had the most contact with Colorado authorities, but attempts Friday by The Times to get a comment from the investigative division in Baton Rouge were unsuccessful. A message left on the voice mail of Senior Trooper Dwight Robinette, a public information officer, was not returned by 7 p.m.

In his affidavit, Browne admits he did not set out to kill his victims. Most happened, he said, because "an opportunity would arise to victimize someone."

Reared in the Coushatta and Fairview-Alpha areas of Red River and north Natchitoches parishes, Brown is one of nine children, including three sets of twins. His father is a former Red River Parish sheriff's deputy and his brother a former state trooper. Browne worked a short time as a dispatcher for the Red River Parish sheriff's office.

Browne was dishonorably discharged from the Army in 1976. He worked for IP's Mansfield Mill from 1981-83. He also drove a truck for a wholesale company, that gave him the opportunity to go on "ramblings." Browne, 53, referred to women as "trash," and didn't hide his disdain for them. While incarcerated in 2000, Browne drew a map showing where some of the killings took place. Some of the victims he remembered, others he didn't.

Williams just hopes that her mother's case will get the consideration it deserves. Williams makes calls to the Baton Rouge Police Department once or twice a year, and on one of the last visits she was given her mother's purse that a detective had in his office.

Williams was visiting her grandmother in Shreveport when her mother was reported missing, leaving her grandmother, now 81, to raise her.

"It's been 18 years and I'm pretty sure my mother is deceased and gone. But I still want to be able to bury her and go to a place to grieve."


Murder May Be Linked To "Serial Killer" Confession

July 29, 2006

The family of a murdered Colorado Springs woman wonders if she was a victim of a self-proclaimed serial killer.

The 1988 murder of Mary Lynn Renkel Vialpando remains unsolved but has been recently flagged by Colorado Springs police after Robert Browne confessed to killing 49 people.

In his confessions, Browne said he killed seven more people in Colorado besides the two women he was convicted of killing.

On June 4, 1988, Vialpando and her husband had just picked up their daughter after a wedding reception.

"Bob and Mary had a little quarrel of some sort and so Mary decided to go out for a walk," said Cynthia Renkel, Vialpando's sister.

It was 2 a.m. and Vialpando never returned. Her body was found in an alley four blocks from her Colorado Springs home.

Evidence showed she had been repeatedly thrown to the ground.

"Probably the last time he threw her down they told us that she hit the back of her head on a rock," Renkel said.

Records shows she died from blunt force trauma.

"She had been raped probably after she was dead because they think that she died instantly," Renkel said.

There were no witnesses or suspects named in the murder.

Browne lived in Colorado Springs at the time of Vialpando's murder. His victims were typically petite woman and he would attack easy targets.

Renkel hopes Browne will be linked to her sister's murder to give closure to the family.

"I hope it brings some peace because it's a torment, really," Renkel said.

In 2004, the Renkel family learned that Vialpando had also been stabbed. Police never released the information because they figured it was something only the attacker knew.

Browne also had a pattern of stabbing his victims.

There are 1200 unsolved murders in Colorado dating back 1970.


Serial killer swaps details of victims for prison favours

July 29, 2006

A MAN serving a life sentence for a single murder has said that he committed 48 others during a cross-country killing spree that spanned a quarter of a century.
If true it would make him one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Investigators in Colorado said they believed that Robert Browne’s claims were credible and appealed for help in tracing dozens of unknown victims from California to Louisiana.

Browne, 53, the son of a Louisiana deputy sheriff, has already been linked to seven confirmed murders of women and girls who ranged in age from 26 to 13. On Thursday he pleaded guilty in court to one of those murders, the 1987 strangulation of Roccio Sperry, a teenage bride from Colorado.
 
Browne could yet rival Gary Leon Ridgway, the Green River Killer of Washington State, who is believed to be the most prolific serial killer in the US. He was convicted of 48 murders committed in the early 1980s, but claimed to have killed 71 people.

Browne’s apparent killing spree lasted from 1970 to 1995, when he was jailed for the murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church in 1991. The girl was abducted from her bedroom in Black Forest, Colo- rado, while she was babysitting. Two years later a hiker found her skull in nearby mountains.

Browne, who was caught when his fingerprints were identified on the girl’s bedroom window ledge, was sentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors believed that his case was closed until March 2000, when he sent them a cryptic, rhyming letter that hinted at additional killings.

“Seven sacred virgins, entombed side by side, those less worthy, are scattered wide,” the letter read. “The score is you 1, the other team 48. If you were to drive to the end zone in a white Trans Am, the score could be 9 to 48.” He attached a hand-drawn map with numbers of victims in different states, but the information was too imprecise to work on. “His letters, his taunting letters, indicated that there were others and basically challenged us to find them,” Terry Maketa, the Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, said. Cold-case volunteers began a correspondence with Browne in which they coaxed out details of the killings in exchange for prison favours.

“He told me outright, ‘Get me a private doctor, I’ll give you three murders’,” Charlie Hess, 79, a retired CIA officer, who visited Browne in jail, said. Mr Hess followed through, and Browne yielded details that police said only the perpetrator could have known.

Calls were made to detectives around the country, who confirmed that the descriptions of the crimes matched unsolved cases from decades back. The victims were mostly what Browne called opportunities — women he picked up for sex. He told Mr Hess that he would strangle, stab or shoot them and then dump their bodies in rivers or rubbish bins.

Mr Hess said that he had no insight into Browne’s confession. “Does he have a conscience? Is that what motivated him? I really have no idea and I’m not sure he knows,” he said. Investigators say they hope that the confessions will help to bring closure to the families of the victims.

Joseph Sperry, now 39, who lost custody of his baby daughter after his family blamed him for the murder of his 15-year-old wife, Roccio, said that Browne’s guilty plea had brought him a measure of peace after two decades of grief.

“Last week was the first time I had a dream about my wife,” he said. “It was her face, and there was a bright light behind it. I woke up and I felt good. I feel I can move on.”

Browne said that he had also killed some men, including a soldier he fought over a prostitute while he was in the military in South Korea. The authorities have not confirmed that killing.

However, in several other cases the information he gave checked out against original accounts of the murders. These included the deaths of two women who lived in a Louisiana apartment block owned by Browne’s brother.

Police were also convinced that Browne had probably been responsible for the killing of a 17-year-old topless dancer he he picked up near Houston, Texas, and for the stabbing of a woman in a motel in Flatonia, Texas.


Ex-Wife Says Serial Killer Turned Violent After Marriage

July 30, 2006

Accused Colorado serial killer Robert Charles Browne was a gentleman when he courted her but turned violent after they married, his fourth wife told the Gazette.

"He changed from daylight to dark," said Rita Morgan, 51, one of the suspected serial killer's five ex-wives.

Browne, who is serving a life term for the murder of a Colorado teen, last week claimed to have killed 49 people. He pleaded guilty to a second murder on Thursday.

The petite blonde with mascaraed blue eyes and neatly manicured nails, said she first met Browne when she was 16 and he was in the Army, stationed overseas. They exchanged a few letters.

When they next met she was recently divorced with two boys, and in her 20s.

He remembered her right away when he visited the Cotton Patch in Coushatta, La., where she worked as a waitress. He brought her flowers and asked her out. "He made you feel comfortable, like you knew him," Morgan said. In 1980 she became his fourth wife.

Their first week of marriage hadn't ended before he changed.

"'I could just kill you, and nobody would do anything about it down here,"' he told her.

The man who had held open the car door for her would knock her down for losing a set of keys. Though he apologized and said it would never happen again, she never knew what might send him into a rage.

When her father tried to talk to him, Browne told him to mind his own business, and that he would "do whatever I want, whenever I want."

Morgan said she saw Browne punch his mother for refusing to give him money.

He choked her hard enough that she had to go the hospital and once pointed a gun at her head. "What are you thinking?" he yelled.

"Just go ahead, Robert," she said. He pulled the trigger but the gun didn't fire. "It's not your day, is it?" he said. He then suddenly asked her to take the gun and shoot him. "Go do it yourself," she said.

The two often split apart, although their marriage was longer than most of the others. She left for good when her son was hurt and Browne showed no concern.

"That's what did it," she said. "He had no concern. You might hurt me, but the day it involved my children and you're not helping me ... He never even called up to the hospital."

After four years after marriage, they divorced in 1984.


Serial killer puts Coushatta in the spotlight

July 30, 2006

This Red River Parish town could be a cookie cutter image of the ills that haunt many other small towns in northwest Louisiana. The economy is ailing. Jobs are scarce. Populations are dwindling. Downtown business districts are evaporating.

Still, it's home. Coushatta residents might fuss and cuss about their hometown politicians, a pothole in the road or barking dogs in a neighborhood. But when outsiders look in, pride does shine.

And Coushatta has found a lot of outsiders in its midst since Thursday. The national spotlight is beaming on this town by the Red River -- and the news is not good.

Self-confessed killer Robert C. Browne, 53, who grew up in and around Coushatta and the Fairview-Alpha community in north Natchitoches Parish, is claiming to be one of the most prolific serial killers in the nation's history. He's listed 48 murders, with four of those allegedly happening in Red River and Natchitoches parishes.

"It's bad. Really bad," Mary Lou Fortson said of the shadow over her hometown of almost 74 years.

Because not only are Browne's confessions stirring local talk, but folks in the area have yet to digest another horrific crime of just a month ago. He, too, is from Coushatta.

Terrance Carter, 27, will face the possibility of the death penalty when he is tried for the July 1 death of Corinthian Houston, a 5-year-old Natchitoches boy that Carter is accused of abducting from a Natchitoches home and taking to a vacant house in Coushatta where the child was tied to a chair, doused with gasoline and set on fire.

Murders are few and far between in Coushatta. The first death penalty was handed down in 2004, when John Dale Allen was convicted of the July 6, 1999, stabbing death of Elaine Oliver in her bait stand that stood on the banks of the Red River. Roy Lee Williams of Coushatta is facing the same fate when he goes on trial in January for the February 2004 strangulation death of Avis Foster, also of Coushatta. Robert "Rocky" Stewart, of Coushatta, is serving a life sentence for the April 14, 2001, death of Wendi Long, 21, of Martin.

Those crimes are most often recited by Coushatta residents. Most know or knew either directly or indirectly those touched by the deaths since Coushatta is the place where everybody knows everybody, a common trait among almost all northwest Louisiana communities.

Fortson lives next door to Oliver's former store location. Tina Thomas knows Carter. William Bamburg spent his early years in the same apartment complex where Browne worked. Kathy Tingle went to school with Wanda Hudson. Lonnie Giddings rents the Dew Drop Inn building from Donald Browne, Robert Browne's brother.

The relationships go on and on.

Life goes on

The curiosity surrounding Browne's confession seeped into many conversations Saturday, whether over lunch at Kayla's Kafe or an early afternoon snack at the Dew Drop Inn.

But for a few hours, at least, attention is deflected somewhat as the town paused to pay respects to a soldier killed in Afghanistan who chose Red River Parish for his final resting place. Army Sgt. Robert Paul Kassin, 19, killed in combat on July 16, had requested to be buried next to his grandfather, Aron Wilson, in the Bethel Cemetery near the Hall Summit and Martin communities.

On St. Louis Street within eyeshot of the Red River boat launch, Thomas, other family members and friends were dining on tables underneath a large shade tree as they celebrated the seventh birthday of her daughter, Kenya Horton. A spread of chili-covered hot dogs and chips were placed before the children, as the adults waited anxiously on the barbecued ribs to be pulled from the smoke-churning grill.

Thomas lives just down the street and over a few blocks from Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, where Kassin's service was held. And while she feels for that family, "shocked" is how Thomas described her reaction to learning about Browne. Although she was only 3 years old when Wanda Faye Hudson was brutally murdered -- allegedly at the hands of Browne in 1983 -- Thomas has always heard the talk about the murder.Closer to home, Thomas is still trying to understand how her best friend, Carter, could have harmed Houston, as authorities allege. "I wish I could get my hands on him and ask him why."

"What's been happening in Coushatta lately, whew," said Thomas. "It'll be a while before we get over this I think."

A street over, Fortson and her daughter-in-law were preparing to leave Fortson's residence, but stopped long enough to point out the adjoining street as the location where Browne formerly lived.

"Just like everybody else, I always wondered who did it," Fortson said of Hudson's murder.

Though once called Riverside Apartments, the short dead-end dirt road that leads into the cottage style housing area is only lined by six small houses. The house where Hudson was killed is long gone, as are all of the inhabitants.

The six small dwellings -- two larger than the other four -- are no bigger than today's master bedrooms. Peeling white paint drips from the wood frames.

In the mid-1980s, what was then a "close-knit community" was home also to Bamburg. He was probably only 6 or 7 at the time, but Bamburg, who took a few minutes away from preparing pizzas at Janelle's Speedy Pizza, said it once was a nice place to live.

Browne, a former maintenance man for the complex, was Bamburg's neighbor. "He was decent. He was a nice guy, but he was kind of peculiar."

Bamburg also recalls a brief, "out of the blue" encounter that he had with Browne in the early 1990s. Browne showed up in town late in the afternoon, picked up Bamburg and some of his friends and took them to get Icees.

"He was here in a stolen truck," Bamburg said he learned later. "The police came to the house the next day to talk to us, but my mother took care of talking to them."

Not long after that Bamburg said he heard that Browne was jailed in Colorado for killing a young girl. "But I hadn't heard about the others."

Giddings, 48, does remember when Hudson was killed; he went to school with her. He didn't know Faye Aline Self, another Coushatta woman that Browne has allegedly confessed to killing.

Giddings and his family grew up near Browne and his family. While he can't remember much about Browne, he calls his brother, Donald, a friend. Donald Browne, a former state trooper, is paralyzed and lives next door to the Dew Drop Inn that Giddings has operated for the past two years.

Donald Browne, a regular in the small café, hasn't been in since the news about his brother broke Thursday, Giddings said.

A knock on the back door, decorated with hand-painted artwork, of Donald Browne's white cinderblock house was met with, "Who's there?" Silence from inside greeted The Times' attempts to open a dialogue.

"A lot of people just can't believe he did it," Giddings said of Robert Browne's confession. "Some believe he did it, but there are others who don't believe that he did."

Kathy Tingle, of Castor, said she's got no reason not to believe Browne, but she does find it strange that after more than 20 years, someone has finally confessed. "It's shocking to me."

Tingle, who along with husband Mark ate lunch at the Dew Drop Inn, knew Hudson from school; she was a year younger. She also remembers when Hudson was killed.

There was talk at the time of a former boyfriend being involved. "But the main thing I remember is that it was so brutal."

Doubts remain

Kathy Cole will not say Browne did not kill her sister, Aline Self, but neither is she fully convinced that he did.

Cole, who manages an apartment complex in Minden, said she only has more questions now that Browne has admitted to putting a chloroforme soaked rag on Self's face, causing her death.

No. 1, Self's vehicle was found parked at the Wagon Wheel, a former popular bar on state Highway 1, the day after Self was reported missing from there. How did Self get to her apartment in Coushatta, especially since she told her friends that she had to leave the Wagon Wheel so that she could pick up her infant daughter and get home because of work the next morning, Cole asks.

"How did she leave? It doesn't make sense that she would leave her car and get someone else to take her home," Cole said. "His story doesn't hold water as far as Aline is concerned."

However, Browne's story is about all that Cole has to go on. She's long complained of the missteps by the former Red River Parish sheriff's office administration, which she accuses of being sloppy in their investigation of Self's murder.

Cole has talked to detectives in Colorado since Thursday, and she hopes to soon talk to Louisiana state police investigators who have been aware of Browne's allegations since 1995.

"I didn't expect this to be such a gut punch that it was," Cole said. "I'm afraid to hope "» but the worst part is that I was thinking that I'd at least be able to recover something of her for burial. But I don't think that will happen."

Self's children, Karrie, Charles and Tiffany, also are having difficultly processing what's taken place, Cole said. "Karrie was 10 at the time when her mother went missing and she still remembers the hurt."

Tiffany, who lives in Provencal, was 11 months old, wonders if planning some type of memorial service is too premature, Cole said. "We're just waiting for more details. Am I grateful that Browne confessed? No, I'm mad. "» If someone had stopped him (in Coushatta) there might be 40 more people alive today."


Examining Lake Charles cold cases

July 31, 2006

Sergeant Kevin Kirkum of the Lake Charles Police Department Cold Case Division says, "the first process is to get all the information that we can and find out exactly what the guy is saying, his confession can make a difference in whether or not we have a case here or don't have a case here."

Its been just days since Robert Browne made his shocking confession of killing at least 49 people since the 1970's, but with at least three being from Louisiana, Kirkum says they are already questioning the details. 

"I understand that Colorado is receiving hundreds and hundreds of telephone calls, so I'm sure that they're weaving through tips and we're pretty sure they're going to contact us today or tomorrow to give us some details."

Once more information is learned, Kirkum says, the real work begins. "We go through, literally go through boxes and boxes of cases that we have and look at every detail to make sure what the suspect is saying is what we want to look at."

Sergeant Kirkum says they currently have about 30 unsolved murders in the Lake area, but depending on Browne's confession the possibilities could be few.

"We pretty much have read over and looked into most of the cold cases that we have, so once we get the details we may be able to go to one or two cases that are real similar and then we go detail by detail."

A process that Kirkum calls tedious but necessary process. "It takes quite a bit of time you know because you have to read very carefully, we have to find all of the evidence, we have to re-interview witnesses to make sure we're on the right track." Possibly getting the answers some families have waited years to find.

The Lake Charles cold case unit says they are working closely with cold case detectives at the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office and plan to meet once more information is available.


Gaining the trust of a serial killer

July 31, 2006

Closure may be the only consolation for family members and loved ones of the many victims of Robert Charles Browne, the convicted murderer now incarcerated in Cañon City, who confessed on Thursday to 48 slayings.

And while it is always difficult to imagine the presence of such evil in our midst, we owe an incalculable debt to three volunteers: Charlie Hess, Lou Smit and Scott Fischer. They are retired law enforcement officers who made solving these cold cases a personal crusade.

Smit, a legendary homicide detective, enlisted former FBI and CIA agent Hess and former detective Fischer to investigate a cryptic letter that Browne sent to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in 2000 suggesting he had killed many others.

Hess both corresponded with Browne regularly and visited him in prison. After gaining Browne's trust, Hess learned details of various crimes from around the country that only the killer would know.

So far, six additional murders that Browne committed have been confirmed. Authorities in nine states are seeking evidence of other confessed killings.

Improved evidence-gathering techniques, including greater use of DNA, have certainly made it easier to solve current and cold cases.

But there's no substitute for old-fashioned shoe-leather detective work, not to mention the patience of a seasoned investigator. We're fortunate these men call Colorado home.


Choice of victims made serial killer especially dangerous

August 2, 2006

Robert Charles Browne fit the profile of a serial killer, but his choice of victims - females and males - isn't common.

Browne, 53, has told sheriff's officials he has killed 48 people in nine states, including Colorado.

Most serial killers - someone who commits at least three killings with a cooling-off period between - pick victims who are the same gender and of similar age and looks.

Although several of Browne's victims were young, petite women, others appear to have no similarities beyond being what he described as "opportunities." Among them, he says, were a couple camping on a California beach and two men along a Mississippi highway.

"When the urge comes to people like him, everybody's in danger," said Robert Ressler, a retired FBI profiler who's credited with coining the phrase "serial killer."

The killers usually target females or males, not both. Because Browne says he killed both, Ressler said, it indicates he's likely bisexual - many killers get a sexual high during the killing.

A man who was buddies with Browne in the mid-1980s and who has been interviewed by investigators said Browne talked about having sex with other men.

"He had tried to initiate sex with me, which I basically declined," the man, who didn't want his name used, said during a phone interview.

An estimated 35 to 50 serial killers are operating in the United States at any given time, and about a dozen are arrested each year, retired FBI agent John Douglas wrote on his Web site.

"They don't identify with their victims or feel any sympathy toward them," Douglas wrote. "As they see it, they've been victims all their lives, dominated and controlled by other people. This is their chance to call the shots - to decide who lives or dies and how someone should die."

Sheriff's officials have linked Browne to 20 killings and think he probably has more victims. Ressler thinks Browne fudged the number of people he says he killed.

"They do tend to inflate their figures," Ressler said. "It's very clear to me this guy is on an ego trip. He may have killed a lot, but I think he's bumping it up. I think he's putting himself ahead of the pack so he becomes the most notorious in the country."

Ressler said the U.S. serial killer convicted of the most killings was John Wayne Gacy, executed for killing 33 boys and young men, most of whom he buried in a crawl space under his home. Others have claimed more victims but weren't convicted of all of them.

Browne is a textbook example of a serial killer, experts said. His background includes cruelty to animals, theft, burglary and arson. He's intelligent, unemotional, fixated on sex and a loner who says he was abused during childhood.

Imprisoned since 1995 for killing 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church of Black Forest, Colo., Browne has spent the past four years slowly and sometimes teasingly giving details to sheriff's officials about people he says he has killed.

He methodically described how he killed some of his victims, without planning the crimes. He strangled several, shot others and used ice picks or screwdrivers to stab some.

One woman, he said, was "slobbering drunk, behavin' like the slut she was, and so what the hell, opportunity arose again," according to court documents. He says he dismembered at least two women - one in his bathtub and another in a motel bathroom with a dull butcher knife from the kitchenette.

Two victims were neighbors, and the others were strangers he met, mostly while on "ramblings." He says he killed more women than men and that he had sex with several of the women beforehand. Browne told sheriff's officials he couldn't explain why he killed but said he has a low opinion of women.

"Women are unfaithful, they screw around a lot, they cheat, and they are not of the highest moral value," he told them. In some ways, he says he feels justified in what he has done.

Three of Browne's five ex-wives told authorities he abused them and threatened to kill them.

"He sounds like a sexually motivated type of killer," Ressler said. "These people have sex drives that are out of control. It's never consensual, always forced. They have these abusive relationships, then go off and kill."

Ressler - who has interviewed dozens of serial killers, including Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and Ted Bundy - wouldn't expect Browne to kill his wives because that would have put suspicion on him. That's why most serial killers target strangers.

Serial killers tend to act out a fantasy, usually sexual in nature, when they kill, said Steve Egger, an author and associate professor of criminology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

"From the first killing, they may have souvenirs. The majority just have memories, but they only have that for so long. There's almost no serial killer that stops. In most cases, they tend to accelerate. They begin to feel omniscient, that no one can catch them," said Egger, who wrote "The Killers Among Us: Examination of Serial Murder and Its Investigations."

The killings are a rush, usually bringing a sexual high the killers can relive repeatedly through memories.

"I've interviewed people in prison that get glassy-eyed just talking about their crimes because they get stimulated," Ressler said.

The more they kill and get away with it, the more they keep wanting to kill, experts say.

"Forget rehabilitation when it comes to serial killers," Douglas wrote on his Web site. "They have a different kind of thinking pattern than other people. You can't reprogram a brain like that with counseling. How could any treatment turn around that way of thinking? You basically just have to write them off."

After serial killers are arrested, they tend, like Browne, to admit killings they haven't been connected to.

"Once they're caught, they feel like it's over," Egger said. "In many cases, they have the attention that they haven't had in the past."

When sheriff's officials asked why Browne was admitting to dozens of killings, he said he didn't know. Ressler believes it's for the attention - and a way to get notoriety in prison.

"This is the day he's living for," said Ressler, who has written several books about killers. "If he's piecemealing out his confessions, it indicates he wants to keep the whole thing alive and have celebrity status. He is probably lacking the stimulation he needs to keep going. Attention is very important to them."


Convicted Serial Killer Confesses To Cold Case

August 3, 2006

A 22-year-old cold case in Fayette County is heating up. A convicted serial killer confessed to a murder in Flatonia. Flatonia is a quaint whistle stop in Fayette County, with only one red light, 1,400 people and one unsolved murder. It was 1984 when someone murdered a 22-year-old dancer named Melody Ann Bush.

Now serial killer Robert Charles Browne claims he's the killer, knocking Bush out with ether and stabbing her with an ice pick in his hotel room. "Five days after he murder, police found bush's body here, in a remote culvert off fm 609; more than 20 years later, they may have found her killer,� Robert Charles said.

Robert Charles was a reserve deputy called to the scene. "She had been in the elements for quite a few days it looked like,� Charles said. �It wasn't a pretty sight." It was a brutal crime that shattered security in this small town. Fearful citizens formed a neighborhood watch, some installed security systems. "I think a crime like that changes communities, especially rural communities," resident Bernadine Kainer said. It changed Robert Chambers. "It made me a little harder than I was," Chambers said. But will the answer to an old murder mystery restore peace, after all this time? Browne confessed to 48 murders across the country. Sheriff's officials in Fayette County declined comment Thursday, as they determine whether there is enough evidence to charge the convicted killer with another murder.


Police seek link between serial killer, missing girl

August 4, 2006

Ilene Misheloff was a 13-year-old girl walking home from school on Jan. 30, 1989. Robert Charles Brown was more than half-way into his alleged serial killing spree, and possibly was living in California at the time of Misheloffs disappearance, authorities say.

With Browns recent confession in Colorado that he is responsible for nearly 50 unsolved murders throughout the country — seven of the allegations corroborated by authorities — Dublin Police are trying to determine if he may have been involved in the Misheloff case. Every so often ... somebody is admitting to serial crimes, Detective Nate Schmidt said. We are grasping for everything because the case is so old.

Police departments throughout the nation are no doubt performing the same searches, hoping Brown is the answer to their unsolved mysteries. And Schmidt pointed out there is no direct evidence pointing to Brown, and there are few similarities between the Misheloff case and his alleged murders. Well never give up hope, said Mike Misheloff, the girls father. But theres nothing about (Browns) case that gives us hope.

Brown, 53, is serving a life sentence in Colorado for the murder of a teenage girl. Last week he told authorities he killed at least 48 other people over the last threedecades, two of them in California.

On Jan. 30, 1989, Misheloff was walking home from Wells Middle School on Amador Valley Boulevard in Dublin. She also did not make it to an ice skating practice some time later, and was last seen at 2:30 p.m. Mike Misheloff said his daughter made the 2-mile walk from the school to her home often, and that she had gotten out of school early that day to attend the ice skating practice. Were going through any kind of record to put him in California at the time Ilene was abducted, Schmidt said.

The Dublin Police Department is working together with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children to find any connections, he said. Schmidt said an owner of a local business, who wants to remain anonymous, recently raised the reward for information leading to Misheloff to her abductor; from $95,000 to $100,000. People with any information about the case may call the police department at (925) 833-6670.


Miss. authorities investigate serial killer's claims

August 13, 2006

Mississippi authorities are looking into the claims of a man who said he murdered 49 people, including three from Mississippi. Robert Browne, who is serving a life sentence in Colorado, said he dumped the bodies of three men in a swampy area along the state border in northeast Mississippi.

Officials said they have found no evidence to support his claims. But that's not stopping them from fully investigating Browne's story. "We're following up on the information," said Lt. Col. David Shaw, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. "It's too early to determine whether there's any validity to his claims." Browne, now 53, has pleaded guilty in two killings and is serving a life sentence for killing a 13-year-old girl in Colorado. Authorities announced last month that Browne had been claiming to have killed 49 people in several states, including Louisiana and Mississippi. He said the killings happened between 1970 and 1995.

Investigators have corroborated Browne's story in six of the killings. In other cases, investigators can't find evidence Browne described or he doesn't remember enough details to point authorities to a body. Browne began hinting about additional killings in a 2000 letter. If Browne's claims are true, he would be one of the nation's most prolific serial killer. Authorities in northeast Mississippi, however, don't have a lot to go on. Sheriffs in Monroe, Itawamba and Tishomingo counties said they have no information or evidence about Browne's claimed killings. "I have no idea who this guy is or what he's talking about," Itawamba Sheriff Philip Crane said. "I haven't heard about a killer dumping bodies in northeast Mississippi. I saw something on television about the guy, but I didn't hear anything about Mississippi." Browne claimed to have committed 17 murders in Louisiana, nine in Colorado, seven in Texas, five in Arkansas, three in Mississippi, two each in California, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and one in Washington state.


Serial killer claims 3 Miss. Deaths

August 14, 2006

Mississippi authorities are looking into the claims of a man who said he murdered 49 people, including three from Mississippi. Robert Browne, who is serving a life sentence in Colorado, said he dumped the bodies of three men in a swampy area along the state border in northeast Mississippi.

Officials said they have found no evidence to support his claims. But that's not stopping them from fully investigating Browne's story. "We're following up on the information," said Lt. Col. David Shaw, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. "It's too early to determine whether there's any validity to his claims."

Browne, now 53, has pleaded guilty in two killings and is serving a life sentence for killing a 13-year-old girl in Colorado. Authorities announced last month that Browne had been claiming to have killed 49 people in several states, including Louisiana and Mississippi. He said the killings happened between 1970 and 1995.

Investigators have corroborated Browne's story in six of the killings. In other cases, investigators can't find evidence Browne described or he doesn't remember enough details to point authorities to a body. Browne began hinting about additional killings in a 2000 letter.

If Browne's claims are true, he would be one of the nation's most prolific serial killers. Authorities in northeast Mississippi, however, don't have a lot to go on. Sheriffs in Monroe, Itawamba and Tishomingo counties said they have no information or evidence about Browne's claimed killings. "I have no idea who this guy is or what he's talking about," Itawamba Sheriff Philip Crane said. "I haven't heard about a killer dumping bodies in northeast Mississippi. I saw something on television about the guy, but I didn't hear anything about Mississippi."

Browne claimed to have committed 17 murders in Louisiana, nine in Colorado, seven in Texas, five in Arkansas, three in Mississippi, two each in California, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and one in Washington state.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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