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The Redhead Murders started some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s and ended as late as the early 1990s — so many victims remain unidentified that it’s difficult to define the serial killings with any certainty. The murders were also committed in a very wide geographical area, stretching through six states: Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. One reason the murders remain unsolved? The large number of law enforcement agencies involved.
As noted by Knox News, because the murderer potentially crossed state lines to kill his victims, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved, along with all those state agencies. That means at least seven law enforcement agencies working separate investigations, with all of the state agencies lacking jurisdiction or authority outside their own state lines. And as noted by A&E True Crime, these investigations now stretch over nearly four decades. The result is pure confusion: The various police departments can’t even agree on how many victims are involved, with some pegging the number at six and others believing the Redhead Murderer killed as many as 11 women.
And there’s still no cohesive plan. In 1985, five states and the FBI got together to form an unofficial task force on the Redhead Murders, an “ad hoc” gathering more about sharing information and codifying the list of official victims than coordinating an investigation. It was the last time any such coordination was attempted.