For Valentine’s Day, "Real Housewives Of Dallas" cast member Stephanie Hollman celebrated her husband Travis with a sweet Instagram post commemorating their happy marriage. So far, so good, right?
Then she casually mentioned his connection to a notorious serial killer.
Okay, we're listening.
“You are the only person I have ever met who was babysat by a serial killer and made it out alive (true story he was babysat by the 1-5 killer),” she wrote in the post.
The “I-5 Killer” is an Oregon-based serial killer named Randall Woodfield, who has been linked to the murders of 18 people, though he was only convicted of one murder and the attempted murder of another, Oregon Live reported in 2012. Some even believe may have killed upwards of 44 people, according to Sports Illustrated. His killing spree occurring over a mere five-month period beginning in 1980, during which he attacked both strangers and acquaintances alike while traveling up and down the Interstate-5 corridor in the Pacific Northwest.
Woodfield had actually been committing heinous acts for more than a decade before the murder rampage. As a teen, he was caught for being a “Peeping Tom,” the Portland Tribune reported in 2017, though his juvenile record was expunged when he was 18. While attending local community college, his gravitation toward crime continued. He was arrested for ransacking the apartment of a former girlfriend but was found not guilty due to a lack of evidence, according to Sports Illustrated. He then transferred to Portland State University in 1970, where he apparently shined as a wide receiver on the football team.
“He was a real big deal,” Travis recalled of the Oregon athlete.
It was during this time —when he was still revered in Oregon as a sports hero — that the future serial killer was apparently trusted enough to watch children. Stephanie told Oxygen.com that Travis' mom and stepdad were friends with the coach of the Portland State University football team, who would enlist players to babysit for Travis and his sister when the adults wanted to go out.
“He said that he [Woodfield] was better than most of his other babysitters and that he would play hide and go seek and tag and would be very active,” Stephanie told Oxygen.com.
Travis said that Woodfield, along with another player, babysat for him and his sister multiple times.
“I just remember it was always fun because they were athletes,” he recalled to Oxygen.com. “They were fun. They were energetic.”
But Woodfield's pattern of deviant behavior continued. While at Portland State, he was arrested multiple times for indecent exposure and was convicted twice. That didn't stop him from being drafted by the NFL's Green Bay Packers in 1974, though was cut later that same year. While the Packers never publicly explained why, there is speculation they did so because they discovered that he was possibly involved in at least 10 cases of indecent exposure, Sports Illustrated explained.
Just one year after being cut from the Packers, Woodfield's crimes appeared to have escalated. In Ann Rule’s 1984 book about him, entitled “The I-5 Killer,” she writes that Woodfield began robbing and sexually assaulting women as early as 1975. By that point, Woodfield had returned to Oregon from Wisconsin and began robbing and sexually assaulting women at knifepoint. He was ultimately arrested that year during a sting operation before taking a plea deal to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery. While he was sentenced to a decade in the Oregon State Penitentiary, he only served four and was back on the streets by 1979.
Once out of prison, Woodfield attended his 10-year high school reunion where he reconnected with former classmate Cherie Ayers. Soon after, in 1980, she was found stabbed and bludgeoned to death in her Portland apartment. She is believed to be his first murder victim and her death marked the start of his five-month killing spree along the interstate, which runs through Northern California and Washington.
During the spree, he sexually assaulted two 20-year-old cleaning women — Shari Hull and Beth Wilmot — while they worked inside an office building in Keizer, Oregon. He shot both women in the back of the head, killing Hull, but Wilmot managed to survive to identify Woodfield in a police lineup.
Woodfield was ultimately convicted in Hull’s murder and the attempted murder of Wilmot and was sentenced to life plus 90 years. He was later given an extra 35 years after he was convicted of sodomy and weapons charges for at an attack on a woman in a restaurant bathroom. By 2012, forensic technology connected him to five additional killings, including the murder of Jannell Jarvis, who was just 14, The Oregonian reported in 2012.
When Woodfield was named a suspect in the I-5 killings a few years later, Travis said the community was horrified, especially his mom, who had thought he was a "nice kid."
“She was shocked and she was freaking out a little bit,” he said. “Everybody who knew him was.”
The couple say they are now very picky about who they recruit to watch their own two sons.
Woodfield is at Oregon State Penitentiary, where he is expected to die behind bars. He has never confessed to the killings.
To learn more about the killer, watch “Mark of a Killer" on Oxygen now.
And you can catch the "Real Housewives of Dallas" on Bravo, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT (8 p.m. CT).
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