Post by Joanna on Aug 20, 2014 4:12:50 GMT -5
Unsolved Satanic Murders of the Christian Camp Counselors
SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. – Police say they're still actively investigating the murders of a West Michigan man and his fiancée, killed 10 years ago. Jason Allen, 26, and Lindsay Cutshall, 22, were shot to death August 15 or 16, 2004, while camping on a secluded beach in Jenner, Calif., about 75 miles north of San Francisco. The couple worked at a California church camp and planned to marry in September. Sonoma County detectives say they continue to receive tips concerning the murders. The two young counselors were shot in their sleep in their sleeping bags as they camped on Fishhead Beach and the slayings have decidedly Satanic undertones. Their bodies were discovered August 18, 2004.
Allen of Zeeland, Michigan, and Cutshall of Fresno, Ohio, spent the summer working as whitewater rafting guides at a Christian outdoor adventure camp east of Sacramento. They were both shot in the head at close range. Following is a chronology of events since the murders:
August 26, 2004: A Wisconsin man was questioned regarding the slayings, but after passing a polygraph examination, was dismissed as a suspect. "We are done with Mr. Scarseth," Sonoma County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Edmonds said of Nicholas Edward Scarseth, 21, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., a drifter who had emerged as "a person of interest" in the case.
August 26, 2004: A private foundation posted a $10,000 reward for information concerning the murders.
September 5, 2004: The two slain camp counselors were remembered for their strong Christian faith as family and friends gathered to honor the couple. About 300 mourners packed a church in eastern Ohio near Lindsay Cutshall's hometown.
September 7, 2004: Police released a sketch of a vehicle showing a window decal that was seen in the vicinity of the murders.
December 8, 2004: Four months after the murders, investigators admitted they were no closer to finding a suspect than when the bodies were discovered.
April 4, 2005: Police announced a man wanted in connection with the murders of a young couple on Vancouver Island 33 years earlier was wanted for questioning in the deaths of Allen and Cutshall.
May 4, 2006: For the first time, the Sonoma County California Sheriff's office released the following details of evidence collected at the scene of the murders in hopes of generating tips in the investigation:
Detectives for the first time disclosed DNA evidence was found at the scene and believe it could help identify a suspect. Also found near the bodies was a "Camo 40" beer bottle – a distinctive label that was then available in Sonoma County at only select outlets. Also released were digital photographs of an assortment of journal entries and photos of devil-like faces carved or burnt into driftwood found near the victims.
The two apparently were killed in their sleep. None of the couple's belongings, including Christian literature and camping gear, had been disturbed. "It's a difficult case, and we knew that from the beginning," Edmonds said. "We think that the public can help us. ... If the case is solvable, we want it solved." Another possible clue, according to the detective, is a black-and-white fur hat recovered on a nearby bluff. They also released a photo that depicts a necklace that may have been given to Cutshall a few days before the slayings. The necklace was not found with the bodies.
Edmonds said he hopes the disclosure of the distinctive items collected near the crime scene will help jog memories and produce leads that might solve the crime, as has happened in other "cold cases." Investigators recovered the DNA sample – presumably saliva – on the Camo 40 beer bottle and have searched the state's data base of DNA samples from inmates, comparing it with DNA found at the crime scene. State law requires the collection of DNA – a genetic fingerprint – from those arrested for a felony. The medical examiner indicated the killings occurred Monday, August 16, or in the early hours of August 17. There were numerous reported sightings of the young couple in the days before their bodies were found August 18. "The crime scene was relatively stale when we arrived," Edmonds added. Ballistics experts concluded that a .45-caliber Marlin rifle – either a lever action or semi-automatic model – was used in the double slaying. It's a fairly distinctive but common rifle, and investigators have examined Marlin rifles owned by many residents along the North Coast. But they have been unable to find the murder weapon.
Investigators are focusing on five different journal entries by authors with distinctive handwriting styles. The observations and reflections were written during the weeks before the killings at a small hut near the young couple's campsite. Investigators would like to know who wrote these entries. "No one has admitted to being the author of the journal writings," Edmonds said. "Both the style and the content are fairly distinctive for these entries." Two of the writings involve salutations from someone who calls himself Spiderman. Another journal entry was a rhyme about Santa Claus, leprechauns and the tooth fairy. Another entry, signed with the letter "R" written uniquely, read: "At the Driftwood Inn, alone again, outside of myself and placid as hell ...."
"Our purpose is to further our understanding of these particular items," Lt. Edmonds explained, "and to ask the community to share their suspicion or knowledge about these particular items, to help us understand who might have the capacity to do something like this." Investigators also would like to know who drew devil-like faces in driftwood near the victims. "We have no idea at this stage whether these drawings have anything to do with the case," he said. "But we believe their deaths were Satanically motivated anyway. These were great kids who were serving the Lord, and they didn't have any enemies other than the evil one."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the crime. People with information about the evidence or the case are asked to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department at (707) 565-2185.
Following is the couple’s known trail that brought them to Jenner:
Friday, August 13, 2004: At 7 p.m., Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen finished their duties at the Rock-N-Water adventure camp in Coloma. Sometime that nightm they left in Cutshall's red Ford Tempo, telling staffers they were off to visit friends.
Saturday, August 14: At 1 p.m., Cutshall's credit card was used to buy Tabasco sauce at Pier 47 in San Francisco. The two were also seen at the California Gourmet Market at the Cannery. Photos from the couple's camera show them in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Late on Saturday, they purchased gas at River Gas on Highway 116 in Guerneville. At the Jenner Inn, the front desk manager said the couple appeared either Friday or Saturday night. When told there was no vacancy, they left to camp.
Sunday, August 15: In the morning, Cutshall and Allen ate breakfast at the Jenner Inn. They planned to go to a new campsite. Later on Saturday (or perhaps early Sunday), the two asked the owner of Northern Lights, a surf shop in Bodega, where they could camp for free. They were due back at their Sierra camp jobs by 5 p.m.
Monday, August 16: Between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., the couple allegedly entered the River's End to ask if any cabins were available. (However, the inn owner described Allen as having a goatee, which he did not have when he died.)
Tuesday, August 17: An employee at Jenner Inn's Mystic Isle Café allegedly saw the couple outside the restaurant when it was closed.
Wednesday, August 18: The bodies of Allen and Cutshall were found at Fish Head Beach when a sheriff's helicopter spotted them near where deputies were attempting to rescue a stranded teenager on a cliff.
July 18, 2008: Investigators announced they believed they would eventually solve the case.
Sources: The San Francisco Gate, WZZM and “The Allen-Cutshall Murders” by Chris Montaldo.