GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Family and friends will gather Saturday to remember the victims of the Colonial Parkway murders.
A memorial monument will be planted for Keith Call, who along with Cassandra Hailey, disappeared from the Colonial Parkway April, 9 1988.
It is believed by some they were intercepted along Highway 17 after leaving a party at Christopher Newport University.
The monument will be placed in the shadows of the Call family headstone at Rosewell Memorial Garden Cemetery in Gloucester County.
10 On Your Side first saw Keith Call in October 1987, standing in line to buy tickets for an upcoming U2 concert.
Keith’s sister and brother remember their smiling Keith in a WAVY-TV live shot waiting for the U2 tickets to go on sale.
Six months after that video live shot, Keith Call would disappear without a trace along with Cassandra Hailey. The two were friends, and out on what is believed a first date.
10 On Your Side has video of the Call family sitting on the banks of the York River.
In a time warp: sitting in present day, but 100 miles away in the mind.
35 years ago
“Today compared to 35 years ago computers and so forth we would have had a better chance to having the cases solved,” said Keith Call’s brother, Chris Call.
Said Keith Call’s sister, Joy Call: “I had a frantic call from my mother. Joy, they found Keith’s car on the parkway, and Keith wasn’t in it,” adding, “it is always in the back of my mind, and I think a big part, we have never had any closure. We don’t have Keith. We don’t have remains. It is hard to put it to rest. It’s not a good feeling. It’s hard to believe. It’s hard to believe my parents have been gone that long.”
She then added: “My parents may have closure now with Keith in heaven, and they are there too. Maybe they know now.”
The Call children — minus Keith — all think his disappearance and death ended their parents’ life early — broken-hearted.
Joyce and Chris think of their brother every day, and they still mourn how much he would enjoy the new technology.
“Keith was involved in computer science, and he would have loved it, and the cell phones and the gadgets,” Chris Call said.
It was a different time then, and the family believes better technology in 1988 could have helped crack the case.
“Today compared to 35 years ago, with the computers and so forth, I think we would have had a better chance to having the cases solved,” Chris Call said, “because the State Police, (it) would have had an easier time to communicate with the FBI, the Park Service.”
The U.S. National Park Service has been criticized over the years for catastrophic failures in investigating the initial stages of an abandoned car that turned into a crime scene.
During our investigation, the U.S. Park Service repeatedly refused comment, and critics say with good reason.
To this day, the family blames the National Park Service that critics say irresponsibly contaminated the crime scene which was Keith’s car. By moving it, taking out the belongings then putting it back in, re-contaminating the crime scene.
Former Agent In Charge Irv Wells, now deceased, told us in an interview he couldn’t get the U.S. National Park Service to cooperate with the investigation, and the FBI was not informed until Monday morning, after the news hit on a radio station. The car was found abandoned early Sunday morning.
“I think I saw the U.S. Park Service towing the car away,” Chris Call said. “I said to myself, ‘what the hell are they doing?’ It was a crime scene. We didn’t know what was going on. Why are they towing it away right now?”
WAVY has covered the Colonial Parkway murders repeatedly over the last 37 years, starting in October 1986 when a jogger found Cathy Thomas’s car hidden in brush on the Colonial Parkway.
Inside the car were Thomas and College of William and Mary student Rebecaa Ann Dowski, with signs of strangulation, and throats slashed so deeply causing near decapitation.
10 On Your Side will be at the memorial service Saturday.
“Well you have been part of it from the beginning,” Joyce Call told 10 On Your Side. “You are kind of like part of the family. You have been here all along.”
Following our interview, the memorial marker showed up, and it is beautiful.
Ed Taylor, president of the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, made it happen.
“We left this blank space at the bottom,” Taylor said, “because we hope someday very soon when those responsible for finding the people who killed Keith Call and all the others, they will be interred very soon.”
If you are interested in attending the memorial service:
Address: Rosewell Memorial Garden, 3609 SR-636, Hayes, VA 23072