When two women were found brutally murdered on the same remote logging road in Aberdeen, Washington, just five years apart, former Grays Harbor County detective Lane Youmans knew the slayings had to be linked.
He told Oxygen's "The Price of Duty," "These cases affected me deeply. I felt deep in my heart that this must somehow be connected."
Youmans' investigation started on February 6, 1991, after the body of 34-year-old Elaine McCollum was found by a man on his way to work. She was covered in tire tracks, and the skin on her face had almost been completely torn off. Based on McCollum's injuries and the fact that her head was nearly "skeletonized," Youmans concluded McCollum had been run over with a car multiple times. Without any major leads, Youmans' case quickly went cold.
Five years later, on August 3, 1996, another woman's body was discovered on the same gravel road. Carol Leighton, 41, had been murdered less than a mile from where McCollum was found. She had sustained "stab wounds all over [...] on her chest, her face, her arms, her vaginal area," Yomans told "The Price of Duty." Another former Grays Harbor County detective Doug Smythe recalled that Leighton's "throat had been cut from one side to the other, practically decapitating her."
"Again, I was amazed at the level of violence," said Youmans.
As both murders appeared to be extreme "rage killing[s]," Youmans wondered if there was a common suspect between the two cases, but it wouldn't be until an attempted murder in 1999 that he would get his first lead.
To learn more about the case, watch "The Price of Duty" on Oxygen.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.