Police in Havelock, Jacksonville, and elsewhere are investigating whether the unsolved homicides of women are linked to a convicted killer already serving a life sentence for a grisly murder and facing charges in another.
Matthew Lorne Alder, 42, has been imprisoned in Michigan since 1995 when a jury there convicted him of the premeditated murder of a 19-year-old woman whom he raped and set on fire.
He is also awaiting trial in that state in another decades-old homicide case, which he has been linked to through DNA. Additional information has recently surfaced that allegedly ties Alder to cold cases in North Carolina, authorities have confirmed.
Naval investigators, agents with the State Bureau of Investigation and detectives with local law enforcement departments are working together to determine Alder’s supposed involvement in at least four homicides in the area, including the death of an unidentified woman whose skeletal remains were found in Jacksonville in 1995 and a hitchhiker who was found beaten to death in Havelock in 1992.
Alder was a Marine stationed in the area at the time of the deaths, officials said.
In Havelock, police continue to investigate the death of 25-year-old Camille Marie Whalen, an out-of-town hitchhiker and mother of three whose nude body was discovered bound and gagged at a baseball field in August 1992. She had been strangled and stabbed at a different location, according to autopsy reports.
“This investigation is active so I can’t go into any detail about what we are doing,” Havelock Police Chief Wayne Cyrus said.
Because of the unfolding nature of the cold case investigation, detectives can’t answer specific questions about the crimes, Jacksonville Public Safety Director Mike Yaniero said in an email in response to questions about the cases.
In Jacksonville, the case involves Jane Doe 95-7000 — named so because her discovery was the 7,000th case the JPD opened in 1995. She has never been identified despite exhaustive efforts by detectives.
Medical examiners believe Jane Doe 95-7000 was dead for two to three years before her remains were discovered.
After a new Michigan law requiring inmates to submit DNA samples went into effect last year, Alder proved to be a positive match for DNA found at a crime scene in Genesee Township in that state. In September, he was charged with murder in the death of 19-year-old Wanda Musk, whose body was found naked and bruised in a field there in 1993. She died of blunt force head trauma.
Alder is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at Kinross Correctional Facility for the murder of Lisa Gipson. In 1994, Alder took Gipson home with him from a nightclub. He and an accomplice sexually assaulted her, placed a paper bag over her head while leading her to the garage and stuffed a rag in her mouth. Alder drove to a secluded area and burned her alive, according to court records. When Alder was apprehended, he had first- and second-degree burns on his right hand, wrist and leg.
Anyone with information about any of the unsolved crimes can contact the Havelock Police Department at 447-3212, the Jacksonville/Onslow Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273 or the Jacksonville Police Department at 910-455-1472. Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward and callers do not have to reveal their identities.