Could members of a local street gang be responsible for a number of unsolved killings of young women in Utah or surrounding states?
Patrolman Frank Hatton-Ward and crime analyst Greg Chase have developed theories on at least five cases:Christine Gallegos, 19
The Salt Lake woman's body was found on Jefferson Street west of Derk's Field on May 15, 1985. She had been shot in the head with a .38-caliber handgun and stabbed several times in the chest and back. Two personal items were missing. Gang informants told Hatton-Ward that Gallegos used to party with them. James Sherard, a gang member who is serving a life sentence for capital murder, used to live on Jefferson Street, about four blocks south of where Gallegos' body was found.
Tiffany Hambleton, 16
Hambleton, of Salt Lake City, went to a rock concert Feb. 17, 1986, and never returned. Her body was found on April 25, 1986, in a ditch west of Salt Lake City. She had been stabbed numerous times in the chest and neck. She may have been sexually assaulted. Personal items were missing. An informant described how gang members picked up a white girl and took her to a house, where she was raped. When she resisted, one of the gang members stabbed her with a knife, the same one Sherard used in the murder he committed, the informant said.
Carla Maxwell, 21
Maxwell, of Layton, was shot five times in the head with a .38-caliber handgun while working in the 7-Eleven just off the first Layton exit on northbound I-15 on April 25, 1986. Sherard told Hatton-Ward that he and friends used to make frequent trips to Ogden. On one occasion, they stopped at a Layton convenience store to steal beer. Sherard said that after he got out of the store with a case of beer, he heard shooting, then saw his companion exit the store.
Lisa Strong, 26
Strong, Salt Lake City, was walking on Kensington Avenue near Eighth East late on the night of May 12, 1986, when she was shot in the head. The bullet was later matched ballistically to slugs used in the Gal-legos and Maxwell homicides. Sherard, whose friend lives just around the corner from where Strong was killed and supposedly knew the victim, said he was there when Strong was killed and that an associate used Sherard's gun to kill her.
Patricia "Smurf" Ramirez, 20
Ramirez's body was found on a hillside above Memory Grove on July 13, 1986. Missing for five days, she had been strangled. No sexual assault or robbery is suspected. Sherard also mentioned "Smurf" as a victim of his associates.