By Chris Bunton
I traveled to Belleville Illinois, recently to research the serial killer Dale Anderson. My research took me to Belleville High School East, where the body of Audrey Cardenas was found in June of 1988. She was an intern for the Belleville News Democrat at the time.
The area where she was found is in town. It is a mixed commercial and residential neighborhood. The exact location is a wooded creek that runs right behind the high school. The massive parking lot for the school, sits beside it and a bridge crosses the creek to meet the steps that ascend up to the school.
This is one of the most heavily wooded locations in the neighborhood. A peaceful, hidden place, that some have called haunted.
After Audrey was found, a mentally ill transient man named Rodney Woidtke wandered into the area. He was arrested, charged and convicted of the murder. He was serving time, when journalist Carolyn Tuft started researching the murder, and claimed his innocence. He was released after serving 13 years for a murder he did not commit. He died in 2014.
At the time of Audrey’s death several bodies had appeared in the general area. Elizabeth K. West, Ruth Ann Jany, Kristina Povolish, Eulalia Chavez, and Audrey Cardenas. They were scattered in various locations around and in Belleville, throughout the late 70’s and 80’s. A man named Greg Bowman was convicted of killing West and Jany. But, he was likewise found to have not been guilty of the crimes.
All of these victims had similar aspects related to them and FBI profiler Robert Ressler came to the conclusion that there was a serial killer who was behind it, and that the killer was Dale Anderson.
Dale was born November 24, 1951. It is believed that he started his killing spree in 1978, although serial killers sometimes have careers that are never fully known.
Dale had always wanted to be a police officer. But, he was never able to get hired by any of the departments, until a federal grant allowed him to be hired for 1 year at the St. Clair Sheriff’s Department as a jailer.
After that, he got hired by the Illinois Department of Public Aid. It wasn’t long till he started feeling that co-workers and supervisors were picking on him. He went after them with a vengeance. In 1988 he filed a complaint that led to co-workers Maurice Vale, Robert DeLaria, and Charlotte Kroupa getting arrested. He claimed they assaulted him.
He later staged a shooting scene and accused them of trying to kill him. It was obvious that he was out to get these workers, so he was put on administrative leave and then fired.
It was at this time that he murdered Jolaine Lanman and her 3 year old son. He planted evidence to try to link the murder to his co-workers, who had gotten him fired.
An 11 year old neighbor saw a vehicle that matched Dale’s car leaving the Lanman home, at the time of the murder. She had memorized the car’s license plate number. It was Dale Anderson.
A search warrant served on Dale’s home found several items, including his handwriting, which linked him to the Lanman murders and his attempts to set up his co-workers.
Dale Anderson was convicted of the Lanman murders on April 17th, 1990. He was sentenced to life in prison. He is currently serving time at Pontiac Prison in Illinois.
Due to the efforts of FBI profiler Robert Ressler, and Journalist Carolyn Tuft, Anderson has been linked to the murders of Elizabeth K. West, Ruth Ann Jany, Kristina Povolish, Eulalia Chavez, and Audrey Cardenas, as well. He has not confessed.
(Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Editor, Poet and Blogger from Southern Illinois.)