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Relatives of victims killed during the Donut Shop Murders ,as well as those related to the killers, have connected and bonded in the comment section of a defunct podcast's website. Most notably, the son of one of the culprits found a friend in the daughter of one of the murder victims.
Regina Alexander is the daughter of Elizabeth Steffins, who vanished in Texas in September of 1971. Her remains were found three months later, and later Sherman Ramon McCrary and his son-in-law Carl Taylor confessed to killing her, the New Yorker reports. The piece details how she connected to Jerry Nations, a relative of the killers.
McCrary and his family were suspected in more than 20 murders, mostly of young women who were last seen alive at donut shops in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Kansas City and Utah in 1970 and 1971, the Deseret Times reported in 1988, the same year McCrary died by suicide in a Colorado prison. Both McCrary and Taylor had been sentenced to life for the 1971 kidnapping and murder of Lakewood, Colorado donut shop employee Leeora Looney, 20, the New Yorker reports. McCrary’s wife Carolyn, his son Danny, and Taylor’s wife Ginger all allegedly watched as McCrary terrorized and murdered Looney, the Associated Press reported in 1988. Ginger and Carolyn were both sentenced to just a few years in prison for their roles in the crime, according to the New Yorker. Danny received a life sentence for another murder the family was linked to. He died behind bars in 2007.
Nations was one of several children taken away from the family when they were arrested. He was just 5-years-old. He cycled through multiple foster families until 1976 when he was adopted, along with his brother. It was not until 1995, when he was 29, that he discovered his family’s dark past.
Details about the killings remain scarce online and it was difficult for those connected to the murders to find information. That’s when a message board served as a springboard for possible healing and connection.
On a blog for “Serial Killers Podcast,” which no longer airs any episodes, a post lists the suspected victims of the McCrary family. That blog post’s comment section has 158 comments, where relatives of apparent victims as well as relatives of the killers found one another.
It was there where Nations and Alexander first talked, according to the New Yorker.
After Nations posted on the message board, Alexander contacted him in 2017 and told him “I am interested in you because ur family killed my mother, Elizabeth Perryman.”
The two later had a difficult but heartfelt phone conversation, which was recorded by the New Yorker.
“It’s just crazy how many people your parents have affected down the generations,” Alexander told Nations, who agreed and said “it’s like a domino effect" in the call.
By the time they had hung up, Nations told the New Yorker, “she’s like the female version of me.”
From there, the two became Facebook friends and Alexander even offered him romantic advice following a breakup.
Tammy, the daughter of Sherman McCrary, also communicated with relatives of victims in a 2014 post, stating, “I know that some of these people may not like me because of who I am. I am the daughter of Sherman McCrary the serial killer, I was with them through the whole ordeal, and I like some of them want answers," according to the New Yorker.
Alexander responded to her with kindness.
A new podcast about the case, “Families Who Kill: The Donut Shop Murders,” dropped its first two episodes on Tuesday, though all seven are available for Wondery+ subscribers.
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