Claremont Insider: DNA Evidence Links Cold Case to Possible Serial Killer

Friday, May 1, 2009

DNA Evidence Links Cold Case to Possible Serial Killer

The Daily Bulletin reports that DNA evidence has linked suspected serial killer John Floyd Thomas, Jr. (photo, right), to the 1986 murder of a Claremont woman.

The Bulletin article, by Lori Consalvo and Will Bigham, says:

One of the cases Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators have linked to Thomas using DNA evidence is the June 1986 strangling death of Adrienne Askew, Claremont police Capt. Gary Jenkins said.

Askew, 56, was attacked in her apartment in the 600 block of West Bonita Avenue, according to news reports of the incident.

Detectives were also investigating Thomas as a possible suspect in at least one other attack in Claremont from the 1980s, police said.

The article goes on to say that in the same year as the Askew murder, two elderly women living in Claremont apartments were attacked and raped. Also, the Bulletin noted that three years earlier Askew's mother, Isabel Askew, was abducted from the apartment she shared at the time with her daughter Adrienne. 11 days later Isabel Askew was found dead near Ontario Airport.

The Bulletin piece said the Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. would not comment on which Claremont cases might be linked to Thomas. It also said that that a series of assaults on elderly women in the area began in 1983, the same year Thomas began working in Pomona after serving a prison term for the rape of a Pasadena woman. The Bulletin reported that the attacks stopped in 1989 after Thomas took a job in Glendale.

An investigation by the LAPD Cold Case Homicide Unit into an unsolved 1976 murder resulted in Thomas being identified as a suspect in the Adrienne Askew murder. The LAPD's website provides more insight into their investigation. Friday's New York Times teased this story on page 1 and carried it on page A18, along with this sequence of mugshots: