Possible developments in Colonial Parkway murders, family says

Virginia News

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — The FBI and Virginia State Police have uncovered DNA from three of the four crimes scenes of the 1986 Colonial Parkway Murders that may belong to a perpetrator, according a family member of one of the victims. 

Bill Thomas, brother of Cathleen Thomas, runs a Facebook page dedicated to information involving the murders. That is where he posted the most recent update on Saturday. 

Thomas says in the post they are still testing the DNA for matches and there is no information on whether the samples from the different crime scenes overlap. 

The three scenes where the DNA was uncovered involve the cases of Dowski-Thomas, Call-Hailey and Edwards-Knobling. 

In October of 1986, two women were found in Cathleen Thomas’ car on the Colonial Parkway with their throats slit. Thomas and Rebecca Anne Dowski were found in the car that had been pushed down the bank above the York River.

Two years later, Keith Call’s car was found about a mile away on the parkway from where Thomas’ car was found. Call and his friend Cassandra Hailey have never been found after they disappeared 30 years ago.

In September of 1987, David Knobling’s pickup truck was found at the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge. Both Robin Edwards and Knobling had been shot execution-style.

There is no mention of the potential evidence involving the 1989 Phelps-Lauer case. Annamaria Phelps and Daniel Lauer were believed to be abducted from the I-64 eastbound rest area in New Kent County, then taken to a logging road at the next exit. The car was returned to the I-64 westbound rest area. 

10 On Your Side contacted Joyce Call-Canada about this new development offered by Thomas. She is Call’s sister, whose car was found abandoned on the parkway in April 1988.

Call-Canada said, “Our family is very encouraged with the new testing available and being used in our case. We pray this is our year that the cases will be solved.” 

The four killings of couples that make up the Colonial Parkway cases have often been referred to as the “Colonial Parkway Serial Killings.” Thomas’ comment about “overlapping” samples emphasizes the fact that law enforcement has not confirmed these are serial killings.

10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox has followed these stories since they broke in 1986. This recent development shows the investigations continue and there is active evidence that is under consideration.

Click the links below to see some of the recent coverage:

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