Real Name: Gregory Richard Barker
Aliases: Alex Graham and Alexander Graham
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: 1982
Details: On March 25, 1982, forty-three-year-old divorcee Hilda Amelia Roche met a man at a singles' bar in Alexandria, Virginia. Hilda told friends that she later had dinner with the man and planned on meeting him again. She also stated that he had a lot of money and a nice car. However, she never told friends his name. On April 1, 1982, a woman's body was found in the woods near an elementary school, shot once in the back of the head. There were also signs of sexual assault. At the time, however, police could not identify her.
Four days later, Hilda's friends reported her missing. Police searched her apartment and found her wallet in the living room. After looking at her driver's license, they determined that she was the woman found murdered four days earlier. Evidence in her bedroom confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted. Inside her room, they found her blouse, slacks, and pantyhose. They also found adhesive tape. Because there were no signs of forced entry at the apartment, investigators suspected that she knew her killer.
When investigators questioned Hilda's friends, they learned about the mysterious man she had met at the bar. She had told her friends that he was from Florida, drove a nice car, was a consultant for the government, and lived in an apartment complex in Alexandria. The 1400 unit apartment complex was the only clue investigators had to the man's identity. They searched through lease agreements going back three years. After going through more than 25,000 files, they came up with thirty-two possible names of men that matched Hilda's date's description.
Three months into the investigation, investigators received a break. They learned that Hilda had lost her wallet on the night that she had met the man. For unknown reasons, the man insisted that he be contacted if her wallet was found. A few days later, the restaurant found her wallet. The man returned and picked up her wallet. The restaurant owner remembered little about the man, but she agreed to undergo hypnosis in hopes of remembering more information. She recalled a phone number belonging to the man. The hypnotist advised investigators that the numbers may not be in the correct order.
Investigators compared the phone number with the numbers belonging to the thirty-two suspects. They came up with one almost-exact match: thirty-eight-year-old Gregory Barker. Barker was a former Marshal in Vietnam. Interestingly, he moved out of the apartment just a few days after the murder. Investigators could find no evidence that he actually worked for a government agency.
Investigators later matched fingerprints found in Hilda's apartment to Barker. They believe that on the night of the murder, Barker arrived at Hilda's house, returned her wallet, and asked to come inside. They believe that he took her to her bedroom and sexually assaulted her. After that, he kidnapped her, took her to the school yard nine miles away, and then killed her. He is now wanted for Hilda's murder, and investigators suspect that he may have been responsible for other murders. They suspect that he could even be a serial killer.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the April 24, 1991 episode. Barker was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. Barker was arrested by Federal Agents in Phoenix, Arizona where he had been working in a phone room on the April 25, 1991, the day following the airing of the Unsolved Mysteries episode. Pictures showing him allegedly robbing and threatening the teller were used for identification. At the same time Barker was arrested as the suspect in investigation of the Hilda Roche murder, as well as sixteen other murders, one of which was the kidnapping and murder of Leesa Jo Shaner, the daughter of a Tucson FBI agent.
Barker was initially arrested by federal agents on a bank robbery charge from Nevada. He was captured the day following the air date, when a woman working on the floor above identified him from the show that aired the day before. He had heard that somebody thought they'd seen him on TV that evening, but they thought it was America's Most Wanted, so when he saw that it wasn't on that evening, he thought somebody was just kidding around with him. He came into work the next day, only to find several agents ready to arrest him. They did so without incident.
Ironically, because he was working in a phone room, associates were known to press him about his alias, Alexander Graham as in Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. When he was not working, he was known to walk the streets late at night, eventually spending the night in all night theaters. He was known to have served 2 tours in Vietnam. Barker has since claimed his eventual capture and arrest were all part of a military cover-up. In May of 1992, Barker was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to sixty years in prison. He is now deceased.
It is unknown if Barker is still suspected in other murders. The murder of Leesa Jo Shaner is no longer believed to be connected to him; her killer was identified as William Floyd Zamastil, who was convicted of her murder in 2011.
- Slaying suspect nabbed in Valley
- Man wanted in killing arrested
- Mysteries Solved
- Va. murder suspect arrested after TV show airs
- Retracing Steps that Led to Killing
- Tapping Into 'Mysteries' Phone Bank
- 'Mysteries' Subject Guilty in '82 Slaying
- US v. Gregory Barker
- Shallow Grave (article about Leesa Shaner)
- Slain mom's kin seek end to 25 years of pain
- Hilda Roche at Find A Grave