By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A series of highway serial killings involving prostitutes is the focus of a nationwide FBI investigation. The crime pattern, first discovered near truck stops along the Interstate 40 corridor in Oklahoma, has now spread to 500 murders across the country.
According to authorities, truck drivers pick up prostitutes at truck stops, take the women across country, kill them and then ditch their bodies.
Seven women who worked as prostitutes, many of them from Oklahoma, were murdered between the years 2003 and 2004. The person believed responsible is John Robert Williams, a truck driver.
Terri Turner, Senior Criminal Analyst with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, made the connection through those seven women that led to a nationwide investigation.
"These women were somebody's mom, someone's sister or someone's daughter, and regardless of the situation they may have found themselves in, no one deserved to be treated the way they were treated," Turnersaid.
One of those women was Jennifer Hyman. Her friends remember her and still want to know how something so horrific could happen to someone they loved and cared for.
The seven women are just a few of nearly 500 other prostitutes authorities say were killed at the hands of truck drivers.
Part of the problem with these types of crimes is tracking down the killers. Authorities said it's not uncommon for a truck driver to pick up a prostitute in one state, commit the crime in another and dump her body in yet a third state.
"They are very mobile. You can be in several states in just a few days. You take your home with you and the victim base is really not cared about," Turner said.
But as long as Turner cares, people like Williams will be off the streets and off the highways.
"As long as there are girls in the truck stops and drivers inclined to do this, the landscape has not changed and what can change is our awareness," Turner said.
Turner said the initiative is working. It has helped catch 10 truck drivers believed to be responsible for killing close to 30 women.
John Williams is currently in prison for a separate murder case. He's expected to go before a grand jury for one of the seven highway serial murders he's accused of committing.