July 24, 1983, was a hot and muggy day. Inside the interrogation room in the Metropolitan Hall of Justice, the air conditioning kept tempers cool.
After hours of intense, often brow-beating interrogation, Roger W. Downs had just admitted to killing Graeme Cunningham, a 13-year-old boy who had been missing about 10 days.Detectives Bruce White and Steve Smith questioned Downs more closely about the killing, asking Downs what sort of deviate pleasure he got from the crime.
Downs replied that he received "sexual pleasure out of seeing them naked after they are dead."
By unwittingly using the words "they" and "them," Downs, who was born and raised as Arthur Gary Bishop, had just given police the clue that would unravel four years of mysterious child disappearances.
"I think you said `after they are dead.' Is there any significance to that?" queried Detective Don Bell.
"Troy Ward I kidnapped and killed," Bishop responded.
Detectives were stunned. They had gone into the interview with Bishop as a prime suspect in the disappearance of Graeme Cunningham. They would eventually leave that room with confessions to the abductions and murders of five Salt Lake County children over a five-year period beginning in 1979.
--- Oct. 16, 1979, started no different than any other day for Bishop. Taking a lunch break from his job as a bookkeeper for a Salt Lake steel company, Bishop went home to his apartment at the Four Seasons.
It was a hot day; Bishop opened his apartment door to let the air circulate. As he stood in the doorway, he watched Alonzo Daniels - 4-year-old whose dark eyes sparkled innocence - play with an imaginary airplane.
He had never seen Alonzo before, even though the child lived with his mother only four or five doors away.
"He was outside playing in the yard," Bishop said. "He was very friendly toward adults. He waved and said `Hello, how are you.' The more outgoing kids, unfortunately, are the ones that are marked. They're not afraid to come into your house."
Bishop enticed the child into his apartment with the offer of candy. "Of course all kids love candy."
A short time later, Alonzo was dead.
Bishop called his place of employment, said he'd gotten sick and took the rest of the day off. He then stuffed the boy's body into a stereo speaker box and carried it to his car. He walked past a woman he presumed was Alonzo's mother, frantically calling out Alonzo's name.
He stuffed the box into his car, stopped at a K mart to buy a shovel and drove the body to a desert grave near Cedar Fort.
Two days later, Salt Lake Detective Buzz Blunk routinely questioned Bishop about the missing boy. Guilt weighed heavily on his mind, and Bishop waited for the opportunity to confess. It never came.
In awhile, the guilt subsided. "It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I killed one or if I killed 18," he rationalized.
Shortly thereafter, Bishop moved from the apartment complex, changed his name to Lynn Jones and took a job with Ski Utah. He also took with him vivid memories of the murder of Alonzo Daniels - memories he relished for the perverted pleasure it brought him.
Over the next year, Bishop relived the experience vicariously. He purchased puppies - 15 to 20 in all - and killed them.
"I found it so stimulating," he said. "A puppy whines just like Alonzo did. I would get so frustrated at the whining I would hit them with hammers or drown them or strangle them."
Killing puppies satisfied Bishop's deadly lusts only so long. His real passion was looking at nude boys and fondling them. He spent considerable money on Scandinavian pornography, but a government crackdown on imported smut closed off his supply.
Bishop resorted to taking his own photographs.
-- In the late 1970s, Bishop had befriended "Jeff," a young, fatherless boy in the Avenues neighborhood where both then lived. He took the boy camping, bought him toys and offered him emotional support - all with the consent of the boy's mother.
"I'd just kind of do things with him on weekends or when I planned trips." Bishop said. "He's my . . . he's like a son to me."
But Bishop was more than a father figure to the boy. He began sexually abusing the boy and taking nude photographs and video tapes of him. He would also offer toys and cash to Jeff's friends to pose for photographs.
Bishop knew just what appealed to young boys and what would get them into his apartment. He had a large video library of children's movies. He had small motorbikes, skateboards and other expensive toys to appeal to the age group that attracted him. And he was well stocked with alcohol, though he didn't drink himself.
On Nov. 8, 1981, Bishop met Kim Petersen, a South Salt Lake boy with a passion for roller skating, at a bowling alley. Bishop offered to buy the 11-year-old's roller skates. "I'll have to check with my parents," he said. They decided to meet the next day to discuss the transaction.
When they met the next morning, Petersen told Bishop he couldn't sell the skates. Bishop then asked the Petersen boy if he wanted to go rabbit hunting. "If there's one thing kids like to do is go rabbit hunting," Bishop said.
The pair drove to the desert west of Utah Lake and hunted rabbits. As they did, Bishop approached Petersen about posing for photographs, telling the boy that he (Bishop) was being blackmailed.
After much persistence, Petersen relented, but only if Bishop agreed to let Petersen take a photo of Bishop first. Bishop agreed and they returned to the car for the camera.
As they finished taking photos, Bishop panicked. "I realized he was too street wise and it frightened me. I thought the kid might turn around and blackmail me," Bishop said. So Bishop shot him, twice.
Stashing the body in some bushes, Bishop drove to American Fork, bought a shovel and returned. He buried the Petersen boy not far from where he had buried Alonzo Daniels.
--- Jeff and his friends had been watching video tapes at Bishop's new residence near 39th South and State Street when they decided to run to a nearby arcade for a few minutes. Bishop, who was still living under the name Lynn Jones, walked over to the Smith's supermarket about a block away to buy some food for the party.
"He was sitting there looking at the toys," said Bishop. "I said, `If you want more toys, follow me.' At first he didn't and I said, `Oh, come on.' I guess he was used to following orders and he followed me. It wasn't all the howling and screaming and pulling like everybody pictured it would be."
It was Oct. 20, 1981, and the boy was 4-year-old Danny Davis, a blond-haired, blue-eyed, cute little boy who had wandered away from his grandfather who was shopping in the supermarket.
The boy walked out the grocery store on his own about five steps behind Bishop. In fact, Bishop didn't even know the boy had accepted his invitation.
"He was so far behind me I didn't know he was following me," Bishop said. "I was halfway down the sidewalk outside before I saw him. If anybody had been watching, they would never have put the two of us together. We walked away from the doorway and then turned right and it was just darkness. I just picked him up and carried him over to where I lived."
Bishop hadn't gone shopping to pick up another victim. But when the opportunity presented itself he acted without a second thought. He had intended to molest the boy and simply return him to the store's parking lot.
But he became angry at the boy, and Danny Davis was soon dead of strangulation.
Bishop stuffed the body into a double plastic garbage bag, tied it off and left it sitting in a corner in the kitchen. Jeff and his friends returned moments later and began watching videos, unaware a body lay only a few feet from them.
That night, Bishop, Jeff and the other boys sat on their porch and watched as lawmen searched for Danny Davis. Later that night, Bishop moved the garbage sack to the back of his car. As Bishop was getting ready for work the next morning, Bishop "got the scare of my life."
Two deputy sheriffs were knocking on his door. Had he seen young Danny Davis? Had he seen anything unusual? Without a hint of guilt, Bishop answered the lawmen innocently and then watched as the deputy walked right past Bishop's car. The garbage sack with Danny Davis' body stuffed inside was clearly visible through the hatchback window.
"I thought, `If you only knew,' " he said. "I just smiled."
Bishop worked until about noon, all the while the boy's body was lying in the back of his car. He left work to buy a shovel and then began driving to the desert graveyard.
"It was kind of funny. I kept thinking, `What if I get in a rear end collision and this body falls out on the road?' " He buried the body near the other two victims.
Over the months that followed, literally hundreds of county, state and federal lawmen investigated the disappearance of Danny Davis. There was renewed interest in the Petersen and Daniels cases.
With the disappearances of the children, an entire state was outraged and terrified. Child fingerprinting campaigns followed, as did "don't talk to strangers" seminars for schoolchildren.
After Danny Davis, police compared cases and found nothing to link them, other than the fact three boys were missing. There were no common denominators. In fact there were more differences than there were similarities.
Public fears heightened in 1982 when 3-year-old Rachael Runyan of Sunset disappeared and was later found slain. It is a slaying Bishop has continually denied.
Bishop, meanwhile, collected fliers offering rewards for information about the disappearance of Danny Davis. He would get nervous every time he read a news report that detectives had new clues, but when nothing would happen his fears would subside.
--- It had been 20 months since Bishop had killed, a time during which he satisfied his perverted hunger by taking more and more photographs of young boys. Bishop said he photographed or abused 54 boys.
He kept his dirty treasures locked away in a box under his bed and in a wedding photo album.
There was never any shortage of boys willing to pose if the money was right, and his association with Jeff ensured a continuous and ever-changing supply of subjects. Remarkably, none of the boys, including one who was threatened by Bishop at gunpoint, ever went to authorities.
"When you offer a kid $100, $200 to pose for just a few shots, they'll do it," Bishop said. He also grew marijuana in his basement to entice the children, though he never smoked it himself.
On June 22, 1983, Bishop wasn't thinking about new murder victims. He was trying to remember the location of an artesian well to fill some water bottles.
"I never went out looking for victims," Bishop insisted. "It was always happenstance. I didn't even notice Troy Ward until he started talking to me."
Bishop asked the boy, who had just turned 6 years old that day, if he knew where the artesian well was, and the child gave directions to Liberty Park. "Do you want to show me?" Bishop asked. Troy Ward bounced into the car.
"Since you've been so nice to help me, why don't you come home with me and I'll give you some ice cream," Bishop said.
The Ward boy was hit with a rubber mallet and drowned in the bathtub.
Like Alonzo Daniels and Kim Petersen, Bishop abused the body after the death. Like Danny Davis, Bishop stuffed the boy's body in a garbage bag until he had a chance to dispose of it.
He dumped the body in Big Cottonwood Creek later that night.
--- Jeff and his best friend, 13-year-old Graeme Cunningham, had been planning to leave on a skateboarding vacation to Southern California on July 14, 1983. But the day before they were to leave, Bishop called Cunningham at home.
"If you want to make some quick bucks, I know a way you can do it," Bishop said. The Cunningham boy knew Bishop was growing marijuana in his basement and figured Bishop needed someone to make a delivery.
"I told him all he had to do was drop off one thing and pick up another and it would take him about a half an hour and then he'd be 50 bucks richer." What Bishop didn't tell him was that "I wanted some kind of action and it didn't matter who."
Bishop picked Cunningham up about a block away from the boy's home and drove him to Bishop's apartment. He made a phone call and told the Cunningham boy the contact for the delivery was not home.
Bishop then asked him if he would be willing to pose for some photographs, telling him all the other boys were doing it. "At first he was reluctant. He was shy," Bishop said, "and finally I told him. `I'll tell you what. I'll buy you a new skateboard in California if you'll do it.' I offered him a $100, so he said `OK.' "
Bishop had known the Cunningham boy for quite awhile and had never approached him before. "I knew all along he would tell on me," he said. "He had a good relationship with his family, and I knew never to try anything with him."
Cunningham was hit with a hammer and drowned in the bathtub.
The next day, Bishop, Jeff and Graeme were to leave for California. Jeff didn't want to leave without Graeme so they waited until the next day. Finally, on July 16, they left for California.
But Jeff wasn't having a lot of fun because Graeme wasn't on the trip. Jeff commented, "You know it's kind of unusual. You've known Graeme and he's disappeared. And that kid up at the Four Seasons right across from you disappeared and this Kim guy you went to buy roller skates from has disappeared."
When the pair returned from California, detectives were waiting for Bishop. For the next several hours, detectives grilled Bishop, catching him in lies and exposing his secret lusts for young boys.
"I knew you were never going to let go. So I decided to confess," he later told detectives.