A convicted Missouri murderer already in prison for life was linked to the grisly deaths of four women that were all carried out by the so-called “Package Killer” more than three decades ago.
Authorities announced they were charging 73-year-old Gary Muehlberg with four fresh counts of first-degree murder in the cold cases of four women who all disappeared in 1990.
Victims Robyn Mihan, 18, Brenda Pruitt, 27, Donna Reitmeyer, 40, and Sandy Little, 21, were all found in makeshift containers across three Missouri counties. One woman’s dead body was bound between two mattresses while another victim’s body was hidden in a wooden box, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The other two bodies of victims were shoved in garbage cans, according to the newspaper. The newspaper said all four were mothers.
Muehlberg confessed to strangling the four women after a detective from O’Fallon reopened one of the cases in 2008 and linked the homicide to the alleged serial killer through DNA testing, authorities said at a news conference.
“I got into police work to work these types of cases,” O’Fallon Det. Sgt. Jodi Weber said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“When I started to look into it, the fact that a woman’s body had been found in a box in our jurisdiction — and it had never been solved — blew me away.”
All four victims were tied to an area that was known for prostitution back then, said St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar, one of three prosecutor’s offices bringing charges.
“It may have taken a while, but your family member was not forgotten,” Lohmar said in a message to relatives of the victims at the new conference.
Muehlberg was already convicted of murder in 1995 after he killed a man over a money dispute.
Prosecutors spoke with Muehlberg after the DNA tied him to one of the murders and agreed to take the death penalty off the table if he cooperated, Lohmar said.
No motive has been determined.
In August, Muehlberg sent Weber a letter expressing remorse for his heinous actions, calling it a “negative, dark, short period in (my) past life.”
“I must live with my past — the good and bad parts. No more running,” he wrote, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The newspaper reported he confessed to another murder, but has not been charged yet as police continue to probe the case.
The daughter of victim Donna Reitmeyer was glad to know a suspect was charged.
“Because I don’t think she rested in peace knowing that he was still out there,” Dawn McIntosh said of her mother. “So I’m glad he was caught.”
With Post wires