Slain Students at the University of Florida - Gainesville, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 29° 39.076 W 082° 20.524
17R E 370104 N 3280896
Quick Description: Five live oak trees were planted in memory of the five University of Florida students who were brutally slain by a serial killer in 1990.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 12/5/2011 5:27:35 PM
Waymark Code: WMD8P3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 1

Long Description:
A plaque at the base of the center tree reads:

Christa Leigh Hoyt
Sonja Larson
Tracy Paules
Christina P. Powell
Manuel Taboada

In Memory Of
The Fellow Students
Whose Lives Were Needlessly Lost
In August 1990.

Dedicated By
MORTAR BOARD
SENIOR HONOR SOCIETY
September 20, 1990

The following information is from the History.com website:

"The bodies of Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada are discovered at the Gatorwood Apartments, near the campus of the University of Florida. Their murders came two days after the discovery that three young female students had been killed and mutilated in two separate locations near the campus. The serial killer was known for positioning his victims' bodies in a lewd manner before he left. Authorities determined that all five murders were connected, and the Gainesville student community panicked.

While the first murders spawned a massive investigation including 75 state and federal agents, Florida's governor sent an additional 50 state troopers and investigators to assist after the bodies of Paules and Taboada were found.

University of Florida officials offered all students temporary on-campus housing to those afraid for their safety. Nearby Santa Fe Community College allowed its students to return home for two weeks with no adverse affect on their grades. In the wake of the crimes, people flooded the sheriff's office to obtain concealed weapons permit applications, while stores ran out of mace.

The desperation to calm the community led police to arrest Ed Humphrey as a suspect, and students began to return to campus. However, with no real evidence against him, authorities continued their search, while keeping Humphrey in jail with a conviction on an unrelated charge.

The case was finally cracked when investigators found an abandoned campsite on the campus with a cassette recorded by the killer, admitting to the murders. Surrounding evidence eventually led police to Danny Rolling, who had been arrested in Ocala for armed robbery.

Apparently, Rolling had also killed a family in Shreveport, Louisiana, the previous November. He then shot his own father in the face before moving on to Florida. Rolling was convicted of the murders in April 1994, and sentenced to die in the electric chair. Ed Humphrey was released from prison, and his family bitterly denounced the police for their investigation and erroneous conclusions. Rolling was executed in October 2006."

-- Source

Location of the tree: University of Florida near entrance to Smathers Library

Type of tree: Live Oak

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