I-70 Killer: As new DNA evidence is submitted for testing, questions linger around Indiana victims

Two people were killed by the I-70 Killer in Indiana. Nearly three decades later the case is still being investigated by the police in the cities where the victims live.

TERRE HAUTE Ind. — On April 8, 1992, Robin Fuldauer clocked into a Payless Shoe Store off Pendleton Pike, not five minutes away from Lawrence Central High School, her alma mater.

A coworker called, so she stepped in to sell shoes and make transactions.

It was a normal spring day, which may have stayed that same way, if not for the fact that a man came in to the store shortly after lunch. 

Fuldauer was shot execution style after being forced to the Payless’ back in broad daylight.

Nearly thirty years later, the day she dies marks a grisly beginning point. It was when a shooting spree that left six clerks in at most three states dead, began.

Over the next 29 days, young people from many states worked along I-70. They didn’t know they would be next. 

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The killer traveled 1,200 miles along I-70 between Wichita & Indianapolis, killing two women who worked alone in a wedding store, before returning to Indiana to kill his next victim.

Michael McCown (40), was killed at his mother’s Terre Haute ceramics shop. 

Today, the retail complex houses a catering business and a vape shop. It is surrounded by fast food restaurants and hotels.

The case files for two Hoosier victims in the I-70 Killer remain unclosed.

Terre Haute police officers working on the McCown case stated Tuesday that they were currently trying to submit evidence for DNA testing.

Detective Bradley Rumsey stated they would investigate a variety testing options. 

“A lot of this evidence has been packaged, and waiting for testing since 1992. So we want to get it to the lab. That’s going to be the most expedient. It’s not going to take a year to get it back kind of thing,”Detective Rumsey spoke.

While they would not comment on which specific piece of evidence they were working  to submit, THPD said their agency was considering private DNA testing labs.

RELATED : ‘Somebody knows what’: Victim’s family reacts at renewed push to locate I-70 serial killer

“We also want to make sure it’s the lab that’s best equipped to handle that piece of evidence, because there are different methods and techniques that these DNA people use to actually collect that DNA and get a sample that gives them a profile. So, one lab might be much better at a certain way of doing things than another,”He said.

Terre Haute Police Department would not be surprised if DNA evidence is used to uncover new information in the I-70 Killer investigation.

Pam Milam, then 19, was 19 when her body found in the trunk her car on Indiana State University campus’s campus in 1972. She was tied up, and strangled.

Police had no witnesses or a description of a suspect in the immediate aftermath of her murder. One man was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting students. Then he returned them to campus. However, authorities were unable to link him with Milam’s murder.

RELATED: Police find killer in cold case murder 47-year-old ISU student

The murder of Milam was a mystery until 2019, when advanced DNA genealogical methods revealed that Jeffrey Lynn Hand was the killer.

It’s the sort of outcome that jurisdictions who continue to work on the I-70 cases hope for. 

Detectives from Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas continue to work together to share evidence. They met at a task force in November. 

Police in St. Charles MO launched an online portal to allow people to submit tips on the I-70 killer. This is where Nancy Kitzmiller, an aspiring cartologist, was shot and killed.

“Every case has some piece of evidence that can possibly yield a DNA sample that’s going to be valuable for us to use. I think absolutely, there’s a strong chance we can identify the person. There’s a lot of ways. Maybe this guy is a convicted felon somewhere, and has his DNA in the system. Maybe it’ll show up in the system called CODIS, which is a database for DNA. Maybe it’ll match up to something there,”Troy Davis, Terre Haute Police Detective 

Captain Roger Spurgeon is the head of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Unit. He was inherited the case by a long-time mentor in 1996.

He expressed the hope that evidence from one jurisdiction could help solve long-standing questions in another. 

RELATED: Police open online portal to allow the public to submit tips on I-70 serial killer cold case

“If any one of our respective agencies is able to solve our particular case, then that likely means we’re going to solve all of the cases. So, each of us wants the other to be successful in that, because that means that there will at least be some sense of justice for the families of the of the victims of their loved ones,”He said.

Police believed that their suspect was in his twenties to thirties at the time of the murders. They also believe that a young murderer could have turned to an older man. Age-enhanced sketches were released in October 2021 to show the transformation of a suspect. 

Sturgeon hopes the photos can serve as a lasting memory. 

“There’s the two greatest ways that we have of being able to solve the case, is through changing technology and changing relationships between people over time,”He said. “We would we would love it if people would come forward like that when they know information that they’re no longer trying to protect those folks. But many times we have to go out and make contact with people. You know, if we find out that they do have a change relationship or if they end up having other encounters with the police, then sometimes that’s when that comes out,”He said.

As technology advances, detectives’ theories about the motives and identity of the killer change. 

Captain Sturgeon was impressed by the fact that the killings didn’t continue after the initial 29 days of 1992. 

“For him to not have continued doing these kinds of cases, you know after doing so many in a relatively short period of time begs some questions. Did he ever end up in prison? Or did he die? Or was he killed, because it doesn’t seem likely but for those two reasons he would have simply stopped.” 

The detectives who are investigating the Fuldauer-McCook cases don’t hold on to any one theory in this case. The possibility that the I-70 Killer may be dead or in prison is only one of many possibilities that have been accumulated over three decades without any answers. 

Both jurisdictions want to emphasize that, besides theories and intangibilities they also want to reiterate the fact that the families of those who have lost their lives at hands of a killer are still grieving. 

RELATED : I-70 Killer – New sketches of the murderer suspected to have started the killing spree at Indianapolis

“Homicide is something no one is able to take back. And it’s something that when you can hold someone accountable for that, it makes a big difference in the community, because the community feels safer and the family of that victim and friends of that victim. They also have that closure of knowing who sometimes even y or other questions answered that they’ve been looking at.   So it’s important to close these cases,”Detective Rumsey spoke. 

Because there was once a place where a serial killer used to hide. People continue to come and go. The sun rises along the miles of I-70 into another day that Robin Fuldauer and Michael McCown will never see.

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