A former Iowa long-haul truck driver has been charged in the early-1990s murders of three women, including two who were pregnant at the time of their deaths.
Clark Perry Baldwin, 58, was taken into custody Wednesday at his Waterloo home after genetic genealogy linked him to the slayings of 32-year-old Pamela McCall and two unidentified women.
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The women’s bodies were found in Tennessee and Wyoming.
“After 29 years, you have to think he had certainly thought it was behind him and got away with it,” Brent Cooper, district attorney general of the 22nd Judicial District in Tennessee, tells PEOPLE.
Baldwin, a truck driver from the late ’80s through the mid-’90s, was married at the time of the three killings. He was identified after a relative uploaded DNA to a genealogy site, which was later linked to crime scene evidence.
“Investigators went through all the partial matches, and through the process of elimination they ended up with this guy, and started looking into his background,” says Cooper. “He was the correct age range and a former truck driver.”
Brent Cooper/District Attorney 22nd Judicial District
Cooper says investigators later followed Baldwin around and collected garbage he discarded. They even tracked him to a Walmart, where they collected items he’d picked up and placed back on the shelf, as well as swabbing the handle of a shopping cart he used.
“There were multiple items we got good DNA from that matched the profile at our murder scenes,” Cooper says.
McCall, a hitchhiker, was his first known alleged victim. She was found strangled to death in March of 1991 in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
“She was last seen at a nearby truck stop a few miles from where she was found,” Cooper says. “She was seen getting into a dark-colored tractor trailer.”
The following year, in March of 1992, a female truck driver found the nude strangled body of a woman near Interstate 80 in southwestern Wyoming, the Associated Press reports.
A month later, workers with the Wyoming Department of Transportation discovered the partially mummified remains of a pregnant woman off of Interstate 90 in northern Wyoming. Police determined that she likely suffered a blow to the head, according to AP.
Both women, who authorities believe were in their late teens or early 20s, have never been identified. They have since been referred to as “Bitter Creek Betty” and “I-90 Jane Doe,” the Associated Press reports.
“I think he preyed on young women that frequented truck stops,” Cooper says. “It appeared they would travel with him and then he would end up possibly raping them and then killing them.”
Cooper says he would be surprised if there weren’t other victims out there.
“We certainly think it is a possibility,” he says. “We are certainly going to try and see if we can uncover any that are related to him. He traveled all over the country. It is an occupation that would make it easier to hide your actions. If you are gone all the time from home you won’t raise any suspicion with your family.”
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According to Cooper, Baldwin, a father of one, was previously arrested for strangling a woman in a truck in Texas in Feb. of ’91, about a month before the murder of McCall. Charges were dismissed in the case because the victim, who was from another state, refused to return to Texas.
“It is very similar,” Cooper says. “Apparently he handed her a gun and told her to kill him. After he attacked her, he kind of came to his senses and said, ‘Just go ahead and shoot me.’ Apparently when the police arrested him he was remorseful and told them all about what happened.”
Baldwin waived extradition in Iowa and will be brought to Tennessee where he is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of McCall and her 24-week-old fetus.
Baldwin is also facing charges in the deaths of the two women in Wyoming.