WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff is concerned that a couple who is charged in connection with four different murders, in two different states, may be connected to other murders.
In early February, the body of 47-year-old Douglas John Bowling was found near an orange grove south of Ft. Meade. One week later, Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of three people in connection with the killing.
Christopher Taylor, 30, was charged with Bowling’s murder and tampering with evidence. Two other people, 21-year-old Gary Taylor and 36-year-old Kristina Sluss, were charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence. According to Sheriff Judd, the victim and three suspects were all from Winter Haven and knew each other.
Investigators say Christopher Taylor beat Bowling for about an hour and a half to two hours with a skillet, an aluminum bat and his fists, then strangled him and put his body in a bathtub. An affidavit says the three then left for dinner before returning to dump the body.
At the time of the arrests, Sheriff Grady Judd said that Gary Taylor made the statement, “another one bites the dust,” leading the sheriff to believe they may have murdered others.
On Friday, Christopher Taylor and Kristina Sluss were charged with the murders of three people at a home in South Carolina.
According to our sister station WSPA, the killings happened on Jan. 20 and involved a “lethal cutting weapon.” WSPA reports there is also a third person who was arrested.
Sheriff Judd says all four murders were extremely brutal, calling them sadistic. In both cases, the victims’ bodies were dismembered or partially dismembered.
During a press conference Saturday morning, Sheriff Judd said he believes the couple may be connected to other murders.
“You don’t just wake up one day and kill people,” said Sheriff Judd.
Judd says Taylor shows signs of being a serial killer.
“I don’t believe for a minute that this may be all the people he has killed,” said Judd.
And now, Sheriff Judd needs the communities’ help.
“We need to know if you have any murders in the southeast United States, where the person was dismembered or partially dismembered. Do you have a vicious, outrageous crime scene? And the victims are victims for no apparent reason,” said Sheriff Judd. “If there is another victim who - maybe they have disappeared, no one has heard from them, but one of these two individuals has been in your community. In law enforcement, we call that a clue.”