Real Name: Beverly Ann McGowan
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Pompono Beach, Florida
Date: July 17, 1990
Details: In early July 1990, thirty-four-year-old bank clerk Beverly McGowan began advertising for a roommate to live with her in her Pompono Beach condo. She soon found a potential roommate, a British woman named Alice. Alice drove a nice car and appeared to be a successful career woman. The two also shared an interest in the New Age movement, particularly numerology.
Alice agreed to do a chart for Beverly, using numbers from her personal life. She soon asked for her passport number and birth certificate information. After the chart was completed, Alice told her that she would find true romance and accumulate great wealth. However, she also claimed that a man and a woman that were close to her would deceive and hurt her.
On July 17, a few days after Alice moved in, Beverly vanished from her Florida condo. On July 19, several of her friends and family received letters from her, claiming that she had sold her condo and was planning to start a new life. Her loved ones, however, were suspicious. Her brother and sister went to her condo. Her car was gone, the phone was disconnected, and she had not been seen at work in two days. Her nightgown was on the bed, which had not been made.
It appeared that she had just left, planning to come back. Other than her car, the only things missing were her two cats, address book, birth certificate, and passport. They later learned that she had sent a telegram to her mortgage company, authorizing them to foreclose on her condo and dispose of her personal belongings.
On the same day that her family and friends received letters from her, Beverly's mutilated body was discovered. She had been dumped in a remote canal in Southern Florida, one-hundred miles from her home. Her throat had been slit. Her killer had removed a portion of her head and her hands. They also cut off a tattoo on her abdomen to delay identification. However, they missed a second tattoo of a flower on her ankle. Dental records positively identified her body.
Police were confused by the letters that she had sent to her family and friends. They were written in her handwriting and there appeared to be no evidence that she was forced to write them. Police immediately set their suspicion on her new roommate, Alice, who was seen using Beverly's credit cards after the murder. She also apparently used Beverly's identity to escape to England.
After the murder, a man posing as Beverly also used her credit card to reserve a rental car at London's Heathrow Airport. The man later picked up a car at Heathrow, using Beverly's name. When Beverly's car was found two days later, wig hairs were found inside. These hairs matched the wig that the man was seen wearing. The two suspects have yet to be identified and Beverly's murder remains unsolved.
Suspects: The woman known as "Alice" is the prime suspect in Beverly's murder. She was believed to be a British woman who was staying in the United States, working for IBM in South Florida. She had told Beverly that she was working at IBM's Fort Lauderdale office. However, IBM stated that they did not have an office in that city, and did not have anyone from England working for them.
On the day Beverly's body was discovered, Alice was seen using Beverly's Visa card at several shops in the area. The day before, it is believed that she used the card to withdraw $300 from an ATM.
An unknown individual calling themselves "Sam" is also suspected of being involved in the case; the individual apparently was a man dressing as a woman, wearing a black Cleopatra wig. He had a British accent and appeared to be familiar with London. On July 20, the day after Beverly's body was found, "Sam" used Beverly's credit cards to reserve a rental car at London's Heathrow Airport. He told the travel agent that he was flying to London on British Airways Flight 292, which departed on Sunday, July 22, at 6:30 pm.
Police searched the passenger list for the flight and other similar flights, but Beverly's name did not appear. It is believed that either Alice or Sam was on the flight. On Monday, July 23, a person matching Sam's description and using Beverly's name picked up a car at Heathrow Airport.
On July 25, Beverly's car was found at a motel near Miami International Airport. It had been there for five days. In the car, investigators found Cleopatra wig hairs.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 13, 1991 episode.
Results: Unresolved. After re-checking the British Airways Flight 292 manifest, authorities discovered that "Alice" had used the name Sylvia Ann Hodgkinson to purchase her tickets. Through this name, authorities were able to identify "Alice" as a con artist named Elaine Antoinette Parent. Parent had previously been acquainted with Hodgkinson and had stolen her identity. In May 1991, she was arrested while holding identification for both Hodgkinson and another woman. However, she was released without charge. Forensic evidence in Beverly's car and handwriting on a tablet in her condo was also linked to Parent. Over the years, she became known as the "Chameleon Killer" as she had stolen more than twenty identities. However, because of this, she was able to elude capture for over a decade.
In April 2002, police finally caught up with her with the help of an anonymous tip. At the time, she was living at an apartment in Panama City, Florida. After detectives arrived at her apartment, they allowed her to change clothes. During this time, however, she took her life with a .357 Magnum to the heart to avoid capture.
Although Parent's death might bring a sense of closure to Beverly's family, it left much of the secrets of her bizarre lifestyle and criminal career unanswered. Also, some suspect that she may be responsible for other murders that she has yet to be connected with. As for "Sam", he was never identified. However, some believe that "he" may have actually been Parent.
- '90 Murder Trail Leads to Woman
- Hunt for the Chameleon
- 'Chameleon Killer' cheats the Florida police by ending her many-faced life
- Elain Parent at Murderpedia