Thirty years ago today, April 13, 1984, Christopher Wilder was killed in a scuffle with police.
Wilder, 39 years old at the time of his death, was a serial rapist and murderer who raped at least twelve women and killed at least eight of them during a six-week rampage that took him through several states.
The first murder authorities attribute to Wilder was Rosario Gonzalez, last seen on February 26, 1984. Gonzalez was employed as a model for the Miami Grand Prix where Wilder was racing in a Porsche 911.
On March 5, 1984 Wilder’s former girlfriend, Elizabeth Kenyon, a Miss Florida finalist, went missing. Wilder was known to both Gonzalez and Kenyon. A private investigator hired by Kenyon’s parents interviewed Wilder and found information that he believed connected Wilder to the murders, the investigator turned his information over to police, but before they could talk to Wilder he went on the run.
Colleen Osborne, 15, disappeared after leaving her Daytona Beach home on March 15, 1984. It was established that Christopher Wilder was staying at a motel on Daytona Beach, blocks away from where Colleen was last seen. Her body was discovered near an Orange County lake a few weeks later.
On March 18, 1984 Wilder lured Theresa Ferguson, 21, away from the Merritt Square Mall in Merritt Island and murdered her. Ferguson’s body was discovered on March 23 at Canaveral Groves.
On March 20, 1984 Wilder abducted Linda Grover, a 19-year-old Florida State student, from the Governor’s Square Mall in Tallahassee, Florida. When Grover declined Wilder’s offer to photograph her for a modeling agency, he assaulted her in the mall parking lot, binding her hands and wrapping her in a blanket before putting her into the trunk of his car and drove to Bainbridge, Georgia.
At the Glen Oaks Motel in Bainbridge that night, Wilder raped Grove, then he used super glue and a blow dryer to blind her. He then tortured her with copper wires and an electrical shock. Grover began fighting back and though bloody and bruised somehow locked herself in the bathroom. Wilder fled as she began pounding on the walls calling for help.
On March 21, 1984 Wilder was in Beaumaont, Texas were he approached Terry Walden, a 23 year old wife and mother, she turned down his offer to pose for pictures for a modeling agency. Walden went missing on March 23 and her body was found on Walden Road on March 26. She had been stabbed to death. Wilder left in Walden’s rust colored 1981 Mercury Cougar.
On March 25, 1984 Wilder abducted Suzanne Logan, 21, at the Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City. He then drove her to Newton, Kansas and checked into Room 30 of the I-35 Inn. Wilder had breakfast with Logan the next morning then drove her to Junction City, stabbed her to death and left her under a cedar tree.
On March 29, 1984 Wilder was seen at a diner in Grand Junction, Colorado with 18-year-old Sheryl Bonaventure. The girl was found shot and stabbed to death around March 31 and found near he Kanab River in Utah on May 3.
Authorities say Wilder’s next victim was 17-year-old Michelle Korfman, an aspiring model who disappeared from a model competition at the Meadows Mall in Los Vegas on April 1, 1984. He decomposed body was found along a Southern California roadside rest stop on May 11.
By this time Christopher Wilder was on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitive list.
Wilder next abducted 16-year-old Tina Risico, after sexually assaulting her he believed she was robotic enough to help him lure other victims. Wilder drove Risico to Prescott, Arizona, Joplin, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois before she helped him kidnap 16-year-old Dawnette Witt from a shopping Mall.
While Risico drove to New York, Wilder raped Witt several times. Near Pen Yan he took Witt into the woods and stabbed he several times and left her for dead. She survived and while recuperating in the hospital told police Wilder and Risico were headed for Canada.
At a mall in Victor, Wilder forced 33-year old Beth Dodge into his car, he had Risico follow him in Dodge’s Pontiac Firebird. After a short drive Wilder shot and killed Dodge and dumped her body. Wilder then drove Risico to Logan Airport in Boston, in the Firebird.
On April 13, 1984 Wilder attempted to abduct 19-year-old Carol Hilbert in Beverly, Massachusetts, Hilbert managed to escape. A broadcast of the Firebird was given to police. At a gas station at the corner of Main and Bridge streets in Colebrook, New Hampshire, Wilder was noticed by New Hampshire State Troopers Leo Jellison and Wayne Fortier. As the troopers approached Wilder he ran to his car and grabbed a .357 magnum handgun. Trooper Jellison grabbed Wilder from behind. During the scuffle two shots were fired from Wilder’s gun into his chest and through his heart, killing him. One bullet passed through him into Jellison, who was seriously wounded but eventually recovered.