Thursday, 16 October 2014

Elaine Parent - "The Chameleon Killer"

This woman was during the 1990`s the "world`s most wanted woman."  The "chameleon" tag was what she applied to herself when she sent a mocking card to Florida police who ended up spending 12 years hunting her down.  She was even sought by Scotland Yard.  What was proven against her was that she brutally murdered and mutilated 34 year old Bank Clerk Beverly McGowan.  Elaine Parent was a ruthless conwoman who would do anything to achieve her aims.  Even the most horrific murder.  

    What is known about Elaine Parent was that she was born in the Bronx on August 4th 1942, to an American father & French-Canadian mother.  She was involved in petty crime for many years but her conniving ways took an exceedingly dark turn in 1990 in St. Lucie County, Florida, when Beverly McGowan advertised for a roommate, to help pay the bills.  She received a call from an Englishwoman called "Alice" who claimed to work for IBM.  Beverly vanished, and her credit cards were being used sporadically.  The user was even claiming to be her.  Then on July 19th 1990, a gruesome discovery by a young couple fishing in a small canal, which was basically a swamp.  The torso of a woman.  She had been decapitated and her hands had been removed.  There was a mutilation to an area of her stomach.  A small tattoo on her ankle led to her identification as Beverly McGowan.  The mutilation to her stomach was to remove a tattoo there.  But the killer(s) missed the ankle tattoo.....

    Her cards were being used, and a flight was booked to Heathrow Airport, London.  The killer had fled the country.  At Heathrow, a woman claiming to be Beverly, tried to hire a car with the card, but it was refused as the card had now been cancelled.  The woman was forced to pay with cash.  The cancellation aroused suspicions and police notified.  They checked with Florida police, to discover Beverly had been murdered.  They now started a fugitive hunt, but the mystery woman had vanished.  It was not until some years later that they discovered that the woman had lived in England for five years, explaining how she had a perfect accent.  She also lived in South London with a former lesbian lover, a businesswoman.  But the relationship was very fraught so Parent took off to the States, then on the run, she went straight back to her lover.  But again, things were not good.  Parent ended up using threats, blackmail & intimidation against her old lover, to get her way.  

    Police now heard from a woman who had been a victim of this conwoman, and so built up a picture of how she operated.  She claimed to be an expert in numerology - predicting the future using numbers.  This woman fell for the trick of telling her her social security number and her bank numbers(!!!!) and even after constant pressure and crying, allowed her to use her birth certificate.  Did Beverly unwittingly give her details?  Working in a bank would have given her warnings.  Did Parent force her to give her details before Beverly was murdered?  This, undoubtedly, would have been at gunpoint.  Did she have an accomplice who did the mutilations, or was she a lone wolf?  Another murder was discovered elsewhere where a woman had her head and hands chopped off.  Coincidence?  I do not think so.  Other mysterious deaths have been thought to have been possibly committed by Parent.

    Back in the States, she was arrested at Miami Beach and found with three identities.  Very sloppy work by cops, in which they never ran any of the details through the computer, resulted in her being bailed.  Then she started turning up in New Mexico, and then back in Florida.  April 6th 2002, cops called at an address to arrest her, but whilst she went into a room to dress, she shot herself.  She took all her secrets to the grave.  How many murders had she committed?  More than one?  I believe so.  Where did her name come from?  She sent to cops a photo of a painting of herself and called herself "The Chameleon" on the back.  Like other con artists, she scoured graveyards taking details from gravestones, names, dates of birth, etc, to get new identities.  One English conman called Carl Hildebrand was one such person.  He took the names of deceased children!!!!!  His crime wave came to an end in Florida, due to the attentiveness and professionalism of a Florida State Patrolman, who did not let his investigation into him slide. Elaine Parent thankfully is no longer around to flaunt her parasitic ways, and kill because somebody refused to believe her bullshit.