- The 1996 murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds, 25, remains unsolved nearly thirty years later but her family are urging police to reexamine her case
- The accused Gilgo Beach murder suspect, Rex Heuermann, 60, bears a potential resemblance to a police sketch of the presumed killer of Reynolds
- She was killed by the still unidentified Route 29 Stalker while driving from Baltimore to Charlottesville – her car was found as the side of the road
Family members of a woman who was killed nearly thirty years ago in an unsolved case are urging police to investigate her death in connection with accused Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann.
There appears to be a resemblance between Heuermann, 60, and a police sketch of the presumed killer of Alicia Showalter Reynolds, who was murdered in March 1996.
Alicia was a promising graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and working on a vaccine for a parasitic infection at the time of her vanishing.
She was 25 years old when she was killed by the still-unidentified Route 29 Stalker while driving from Baltimore to Charlottesville.
Alicia’s family recently noticed similarities between Heuermann and the sketch of the Route 29 Stalker and have now asked investigators to explore this potential connection.
The circumstances surrounding Reynolds disappearance are deeply unsettling.
She was on a 150-mile journey to go shopping with her mother, Sadie Showalter, and had planned to meet her at around 10:30am.
When Alicia did not arrive, Sadie waited at the mall, thinking bad weather or unforeseen circumstances had delayed her daughter.
Later the same day, at 6 pm, Alicia’s car was found abandoned along the shoulder of Route 29 near Culpeper, Virginia, with a white paper napkin placed under the windshield wiper – a signal commonly used to indicate an issue with the vehicle.
It was later discovered that there was nothing wrong with the car. Three witnesses also came forward to tell police that Alicia had been spotted speaking with a clean-cut white male who had been driving a dark-colored pick-up truck.
Alicia’s body was not found for another two months. Her body had been dumped in woods 15 miles east of Culpeper.
The investigation by Virginia State Police into Alicia’s death remains active and ongoing with the family still waiting for answers in her disappearance and murder some 27 years later.
Barbara Josenhans, Alicia’s younger sister, noted how she had given up hope of finding her sister’s killer years ago.
But upon noticing the resemblance between Heuermann and a police sketch of the Route 29 Stalker, Barbara has urged investigators to delve deeper into the potential connection.
Barbara emphasized the similarities in Heuermann’s facial features, particularly the cheeks, pointing out that he would have been approximately 32 or 33 years old at the time of Alicia’s murder.
‘It’s the cheeks, there’s something about the cheeks,’ Barbara Josenhans, Alicia’s younger sister told The Sun.
‘It’s quite striking […] he would’ve been around 32 or 33 at the time. Iwonder if he’s ever been questioned about it. If he hasn’t he should be.’
There are other possible coincidences too: property records reveal that Heuermann’s mother has resided in Palmyra, Virginia, since at least 1994 – about 50 miles from where Alicia was last seen alive.
Furthermore, in a deposition for an unrelated lawsuit, Heuermann admitted to traveling to Virginia on multiple occasions throughout 2018.
‘She was a good sister,’ Barbara recalled. ‘She was 25 when she died and I was 20. We were very different people […] but we were just on the cusp of our adult relationship.
‘It was incredibly unfair that this happened to Alicia. It was totally random and unpredictable.
‘It’s weird to think that had she been killed in a car accident, it would’ve been easier to handle in some ways than her being murdered. It doesn’t make sense, but psychologically, it does.’
Other disturbing facts have also subsequently come to light including how between February and March 1996, 23 women drivers had lights flashed at them or horns blasted on or near Route 29 in an attempt to get them to pull over.
Some were also shouted at that they had something wrong with their car.
Three women who did stop were taken to a payphone without issues, but the week before Alicia’s disappearance, another woman was stopped on the highway by a man who used the same ploy that something was wrong with her car.
He managed to get her inside his own pickup truck after offering to give her a ride, before attacking her with a screwdriver.
The woman was able to escape after jumping out of passenger door.
Investigators believe that man was likely the same person who was spotted with Alicia the day she disappeared.
Virginia State Police believe the man may have been conducting ‘test runs’ before finally summoning up the courage to kill.
Law enforcement have not commented on whether Heuermann is being considered a suspect in Alicia’s case.
‘State police does not comment on potential suspects, confirmed or unconfirmed,’ police said in a statement.
‘Despite the passage of more than two decades and the scrutiny of more than 10,000 leads, Virginia State Police continues to actively pursue the disappearance and murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds.
‘State police remain hopeful that this case will come to a successful resolution and continue to encourage the public to come forward with any information related to the investigation.’
Reynolds’ family hopes for some sort of closure while also being wary of the emotional toll a trial might take.
‘I want to believe the guy is dead, quite frankly,’ Barbara said to The Sun.
‘That would make everything easier […] one of the hardest parts of all this has been watching my parents deal with their grief, while also dealing with my own.
‘At this point, 27 years later, although I would love for the case to be solved, I would hate for there to be a court trial.
‘Dealing with the trial, seeing this person in the flesh, and reliving it all would be more disturbing than helpful, for me, at least.
‘I don’t know if the rest of my family feel the same way, but that’s definitely where I stand.’
As investigations into Heuermann’s alleged crimes expand, authorities are now faced with the challenging task of revisiting cold cases and considering potential connections to other unsolved murders across the country.
Other police departments across the nation are looking back through cold cases to investigate Heuermann for any potential connection to other unsolved murders.
Heuermann is currently in custody in New York, facing charges to which he has pleaded not guilty relating to the murders of several sex workers along Gilgo Beach on Long Island, New York.
In July, Heuermann was charged with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello.
The three sex workers were found bound and wrapped in burlap along a desolate beachfront parkway in 2010.
Authorities said he is also the ‘prime suspect’ in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes.
On Wednesday, his now ex-wife, Asa Ellerup visited the Manhattan architect in jail for the first time since his July arrest and spent up to an hour with him.
She filed for divorce six days after Heuermann, 60, was charged with the murder of three sex workers whose bodies were among 11 found on the desolate stretch of coastline close to their Long Island Home between 2010 and 2011.
Standing outside the family home in Massapequa Park on Friday, her attorney Robert Macedonio confirmed the visit with DailyMail.com and said she would be attending her husband’s trial to see if he is guilty of the crimes.
‘She wants to hear and see how it is played out in court. Not what the media has put out. Not what the podcast people are saying,’ he said.
‘Certainly, not what John Ray is saying, she wants to hear and see for herself what is presented in court,’ Macedonia added in reference to John Ray who is a lawyer for the families of two women found dead on the east New York peninsula.
Ellerup was at the home with her two children on Friday and what appeared to be a television or production crew.
Her son Christopher was seen leaving the home to walk the dog and her daughter surfaced outside as well.
Ellerup who was dressed in a beige cardigan and black pants, did not want to speak to the media but her attorney spoke on her behalf.
‘She is doing fine. She is holding up well,’ Macedonio said. ‘She had a visit with Rex on Wednesday afternoon and spent about an hour with him.
‘I did not get into discussion what the content of the conversation was.’
He added: ‘She hadn’t seen him in person since the day before his arrest. Other than that, she is doing okay.’
Asked if she was supporting Heuermann, Macedonio said: ‘She wants to see and hear for herself what evidence they have that he did this.’
Heuermann’s next court date is scheduled for Wednesday but there is not believed to be any hearings.