Investigators have identified a victim of serial killer Robert Shulman, a postal worker from Hicksville who was convicted of killing five women in the 1990s — nearly 30 years after her death.
Authorities using genetic genealogy revealed that Meresa Hammonds, a 31-year-old mother of two living in New Jersey at the time, was a previously unidentified victim of Shulman’s dubbed Yonkers Jane Doe, according to The Journal News, which first reported the story. Yonkers Police Det. John Geiss, who investigates the department’s cold cases, reportedly informed the family that the FBI had identified Hammonds after her cousin used a genealogy website to research their family tree.
“She was born in Kentucky in April of 1961, and was one of seven siblings,” Carl Koppelman of the nonprofit DNA Doe Project posted on Facebook. “She spent much of her early years living in California. When she was older, she moved to Michigan, and then to New Jersey, where she and her sister worked as fashion models.”
Hammonds was one of five women Shulman was convicted of killing between 1991 and 1996. Found in a trash bin behind a restaurant by a construction worker searching for a lost lottery ticket on June 27, 1992, she was the second Shulman victim to be found and one of two of his victims who were unidentified. Now, the only victim of his yet to be identified is known as Medford Jane Doe, who was found on Dec. 7, 1994.
Shulman, who smoked crack with his victims before beating them to death, was arrested near his apartment after detectives interviewed sex workers who had been there. Police were shown the way after showing the women a tattoo found on the dismembered remains of one victim, 28-year-old Kelly Sue Bunting of Queens. Like his other four victims, Shulman beat Bunting to death with a barbell, hammer or baseball bat.
Shulman confessed to police and told reporters he felt “horrible” for killing the women and told the families of the victims he was “sorry,” according to The New York Times. He was sentenced to death for the lone murder committed after death penalty was re-enacted in New York State but was later re-sentenced to life in prison when the death penalty was nullified by the state Court of Appeals in 2004. He died in prison in 2006 at age 52.
-With Rashed Mian