Approximately 25 years ago, two women were murdered near Kansas City, Kansas, by an individual who was never caught.
Christina King was beaten to death, and her body was left behind a vacant building. She was discovered on Christmas Day, 1998. Two years prior, the body of Pearl Barnes — who also went by Sameemah Musawwir — was found in a vacant house after she was stabbed to death.
Years passed, and no suspects ever materialised. No one knew who killed Ms Barnes or Ms King.
Now, thanks to DNA evidence, police in Kansas City believe they've not only found a suspect, but they think they may have uncovered a long-dormant serial killer.
Gary Dion Davis
Police linked Gary Dion Davis, a 52-year-old over-the-road trucker, to the murders using DNA evidence that was initially collected at the scenes of the murders.
Mr Davis has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, but more may be on the horizon; the Kansas City police think the trucker may have killed others.
“In my experience, based on him killing two women, most likely he’s killed more,” Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman said, suggesting that Mr Davis may be a serial killer.
Mr Oakman said after the alleged murders, Mr Davis continued on with "his normal life like nothing happened."
Little information about Mr Davis is available at the moment. It's unclear if he has a lawyer at the time of this report.
A Facebook page matching the name and description of Mr Davis contains numerous posts ruminating on truck driving and complaining about perceived double standards between men and women, according to The Daily Beast.
“I’m just gone ask, all the females half naked dancing or showing us how a toaster work, I’m trying to figure out, why they get mad when we show [d***] picks and tell you about our [d***]’s ain’t that the same thing y’all be doing, so why is it good for the [chicken emoji] but not for the [rooster emoji], since I gotta use this [bulls***] now,” he wrote.
And another, from just earlier this month:
“Ok this just on my mind, if the man drunk and high and the women drunk and high we f****** on each other, why is it, the man taking advantage of the women, but the women not taking advantage of the man, help me out here!” he wrote.
Mr Davis has not entered a plea at the time of this report.
The families of the two women who were murdered may finally get at least a bit of closure if Mr Davis turns out to be the killer and is convicted.
Ms Barnes' niece, Arvetta Davis, said she and her family — including Ms Barnes' two children — were grateful that there was finally some movement toward bringing her aunt's alleged killer to justice.
“They were very young when this happened, so we’ve been waiting a very long time for someone to be held accountable for what happened to their mother,” she told Fox News.
In 2021 Ms King's family gathered just three days after Christmas to attend a prayer vigil and release balloons in memory of their lost kin.
April Parks, Ms King's daughter, was only 10 when her mother was taken from her. She recalled viewing autopsy photos later in life as the investigation into her mother's murder continued, and said she couldn't fathom why someone would do what they did to her mother.
“Who did it? Why? How could they do that to such a young person? She was only 26. And like, her autopsy there were so many injuries and so many abrasions and bruises. I just don’t understand what she could have done that bad to deserve that,” she said to Fox4 at the time.
The vigil was organised by an organisation called Justice for Wyandotte, which works to improve law enforcement transparency. The organiser, Khadijah Hardaway, said in 2021 that cases like Ms Kings' highlighted the need for the city to establish a cold case unit.
“One of the things we have asked the new police chief is to put in a cold case unit and use the dollars already there to fund that so that we can get some kind of transparency going on for some of these cold cases and some of the murders that are being committed now,” she said at the time.
Mr Oakman took the request to heart, announcing shortly after his swearing-in that he intended to open a cold case unit.
Cold Case Unit
Kansas City's cold case unit began operating in January 2022, according to the Kansas City Star.
The group consists of three full-time detectives and is reportedly the only unit of its kind in the region. Since its start, the unit has identified suspects in 11 cold case homicides, including those of Ms Barnes and Ms King.
The oldest case the unit has cleared was that of "Baby Girl Jane Doe," which involved the discovery of an infant in 1976 that had been left in a dumpster with her umbilical cord still attached.
Police ultimately determined through DNA evidence that the infant's grandmother was the most likely suspect, though she had since died and was unable to be brought to court for trial.
Mr Oakman said he was proud of the work the unit did, but noted that there were many other cases that still needed review.
“We have a lot of unsolved cold cases. So, it may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. In fact, it may not be this year. But there’s gonna be a time,” he said. “You may be in a drive-thru line. You may be at the grocery store. We’re gonna eventually get you.