Local news and opinions

Is there a serial killer in Murfreesboro?

Mar 16, 2018 at 11:00 am by Michelle Willard

No. There is not a serial killer in Murfreesboro and we need everyone just to calm down for a minute.

It is true that over the past month several women have died suspiciously or gone missing.

But that does not mean there is a serial killer on the loose.

Or, as the Murfreesboro Police Department puts it, "their cases are in no way related."

Here is what MPD said about the crimes:

On Saturday, Feb. 17, officers from the Murfreesboro Police Department discovered Blair Y. Alexander on Hope Way near West College Street.

Detectives believe there was foul play related to her death. The investigation is ongoing (so they won't say anything else) and it is considered a suspicious death at this time. 

"Ms. Alexander’s investigation thus far has shown that she was not a random victim of crime," said MPD Officer Amy Norville, spokeswoman for the department.

Alexander was last seen alive Friday morning, Feb. 16 at the Murfreesboro Motel on Northwest Broad Street.

Anyone who may have seen or had contact with Alexander after 11:30 a.m. Friday is urged to contact Murfreesboro Police Detective Sgt. Tommy Massey at 615-893-1311 or call Rutherford County Crime Stoppers at 615-893-7867 (STOP).

On Feb. 26, MPD released a statement that Carol Brandon, 64, of Murfreesboro was found dead in a wooded area next to Blackman Elementary school on Fortress Boulevard.

"Mrs. Brandon had a history with the department involving mental health-related incidents. There was no sign of foul play in the autopsy, however, the final cause of death is awaiting toxicology," Norville said.

On March 13, MPD released another statement about the disappearance of Molly Spies, 17, of Murfreesboro.

The 17-year-old Oakland High School student was last seen on March 7 at Just Love Coffee at 129 MTCS Blvd.

Investigators do not suspect anything nefarious in her disappearance, Norville said.

"The currently missing juvenile (Spies) left on her own accord and is listed as a runaway," she said. "Her health conditions prompted the media release."

MPD offered a $5,000 reward Friday, March 16 for information leading to the location of Spies.

She has medical problems including a heart condition that requires medication that she does not have with her.

If you have seen her or know her current location you are encouraged to call Murfreesboro Police at 615-893-1311 and speak with Detective Tommy Roberts.

As for the others, Katelyn Ervin's family reported her missing Feb. 27. She was found deceased and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office Detective Steve Craig is investigating it as a suspicious death. 

He could not release any details because of the ongoing investigation.

"Katelyn's death is not related to any other missing person case or any other death case in Rutherford County," Craig said.

There have also been reports of sex trafficking at motels in Murfreesboro (Yes, it does happen.) and disappearances in Smyrna. But that doesn't mean that the cases are related in any way.

"The cases above are in no way connected," Norville said.

Sadly, on average two to three women per day are killed by an intimate partner in the U.S., according to reports from the National Organization for Women, the American Psychological Association, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

And suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in Tennessee with 16.5 deaths out of every 100,000 coming from suicide, according to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

So it's more likely that these women died at the hands of someone they knew rather than those of a shadowy mass murderer.

This comes from someone whose hobby is reading and writing about true crime.


Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics, true crime, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)murfreesborovoice.com. 


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