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On August 28, 1990, the bodies of Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada are discovered at the Gatorwood Apartments, near the campus of the University of Florida. Their murders came two days after the discovery that three young female students had been killed and mutilated in two separate locations near the campus.
The serial killer was known for posing his victims’ bodies in lewd positions. Authorities determined that all five murders were connected, and the Gainesville student community panicked. University of Florida officials offered all students temporary on-campus housing to those afraid for their safety. The desperation to calm the community led police to arrest Ed Humphrey as a suspect, and students began to return to campus. However, with no real evidence against him, authorities continued their search, while keeping Humphrey in jail with a conviction on an unrelated charge. The case was finally cracked when investigators found an abandoned campsite on the campus with a cassette recorded by the killer, admitting to the murders. Other evidence eventually led police to Danny Rolling, who had been arrested in Ocala for armed robbery. Apparently, Rolling had also killed a family in Shreveport, Louisiana, the previous November. He then shot his own father in the face before moving on to Florida. Rolling was convicted of the murders in April 1994, and sentenced to death. Ed Humphrey was released from prison, and his family bitterly denounced the police for their investigation and erroneous conclusions. Rolling was executed in October 2006.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: