Murders of four A.C. prostitutes still unsolved after 10 years

- It was a crime that rattled the Jersey Shore; a crime that brought family members and friends to their knees.

It made headlines nationwide.

Ten years ago, investigators descended upon this drainage ditch behind a $15 a night motel off the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township. That's where two women out for a walk made a gruesome discovery.

The bodies of four women, were found spaced several feet apart in a span of just over 300 feet. They were all strangled or asphyxiated. . All four were found face down and barefoot.

Investigators said the victims, 20-year-old Molly Dilts, 42-year-old Barbara Breidor, 35-year-old Kim Raffo and 23-year-old Tracy Roberts, were all prostitutes working in the Atlantic City area. 

A task force of detectives spent months, years investigating the murders, along with any possible connection to the murders of 10 women found in Gilgo Beach out on Long Island.  The only local person who drew investigators attention was 35-year-old handyman Terry Olesen of Alloway Township. He had spent a month at a room at the Golden Key Hotel, just a few feet from where the bodies were found. 

Police searched his room and his home. They removed evidence. They questioned him extensively, but Olesen was never named a suspect. He was never charged.

Atlantic City attorney James Leonard was Olesen's lawyer. He told police and reporters Olesen didn't know the women. He didn't know anything about how they died. He claimed Olesen was the subject of a fishing expedition. Olesen even volunteered to supply a DNA sample in 2008.

"To me their silence speaks volumes regarding his involvement in this case and that is that he has none," Leonard explained.

As the years have passed, investigators continued to search for the serial killer they believe murdered the four women here. There has not been any significant news on the case in the last three or four years. On the 10th anniversary of the crime, the Atlantic City Prosecutor's Office would only say the case "remains and will remain under active investigation until the case is solved and the perpetrator is identified, charged and convicted in court."  

Leonard has a theory he believes is worth pursuing. He cites a card sent to a local prostitute who spent time with a man, who called himself the "River Man" on several occasions in an Atlantic City motel. The two watched a DVD of a documentary on the murders. He asked the woman to send him a copy of the DVD.

"I told her, 'I think you need to call the police, call the prosecutor's office,'" Leonard explained.

The card thanked the woman for the DVD. At some point the man returned to Atlantic City and met with the woman again.

"He took particular admiration with respect to her shoes and actually asked for a pair of shoes, the irony of that being that all four of these women when they were found behind the motel , they had no shoes," Leonard added.

Leonard says the man, who we are not identifying because he was never called a suspect or charged in the case, moved from place to place over the years. His fascination with the murders and his use of the name "river man" , an apparent reference to the Green River Serial Killer from the West Coast, leads attorney Leonard to believe the man is worthy of a closer look.

"I found this extremely eerie.  And the fact that he's calling himself River Man, of all the nicknames that one would come up with, that was somewhat eerie," Leonard explained, "I took the letter, placed it in a bag, turned it over to the prosecutor's office, they came out. Picked it up, that was that."

Leonard says he never heard another word from investigators. He says the case still draws attention. A multi-part documentary on the murders here and on Long Island is rekindling interest in the case.

Will it ever get solved? Leonard says only time will tell.

"Something tells me we might be sitting here 10 years from now, the 20 year anniversary and it will still remain unsolved," Leonard added.

Police never found the actual crime scenes where the victims were killed. Their shoes, pocketbooks, identification and cell phones never turned up. DNA found on one of the victim's failed to generate a match to anyone known to law enforcement. 

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