An extraordinary award of $30,000 is available to anyone who can provide information that would help investigators make an arrest — or reach a solution — to a cold case murder from 1974.
The stabbing death of 19-year-old Gloria P. Johnson may be one in a Memphis serial killing spree nearly five decades ago.
Johnson’s body was found by firefighters putting out a brush fire in southwest Memphis. Police believe she was killed elsewhere — she was stabbed in the face and the chest — and her body dumped in a field near YMV and Fields Roads and Hickey Street, an area still nearly abandoned as it was 47 years ago. The killer then used an accelerant to start a fire.
The extra award is the largest one currently posted with CrimeStoppers, and is made up of $28,000 from Ms. Johnson’s family and the $2,000 customarily available from CrimeStoppers in homicide cases. The family first posted $10,000 last summer, and now has increased the amount in the hope of attracting new information.
The bodies of four young women were discovered in that area in late 1974 and the first three months of 1975. Police then and now have not ruled out a serial killer who was disposing of victims’ bodies in the area near Boxtown and Westwood neighborhoods. All four women lived in other areas of the city.
Investigators are combing through old records in the Johnson case. They have canvassed nearby homes and discovered that many people remember the case but don’t possess information. Investigators continue to follow slim leads, but hope that someone still alive who has information on the murder will step forward.
Read more about the Gloria Johnson case and other cold case homicides here.
Fugitive in three rape warrants
arrested thanks to a tipster
The young woman was frantically gesturing to the moving police car driving by.
The Memphis Police Department patrolman pulled over and listened as the crying 15-year-old explained that she had just been raped by two men. That was July 2, 2022.
And there was even more to her story.
She said she recognized the men from Facebook postings she had seen, and that one of the men had sent her a text offering money if she would stay silent.
The woman was transported for medical help. Soon police had identified Lorenzo McKinney as one of the suspected rapists and a warrant was issued for his arrest for rape, aggravated assault and coercion of a witness (the rape victim).
Almost six months later a tip came to CrimeStoppers. The tipster gave a location for McKinney and he was arrested.
MPD records revealed that the suspect was wanted for eight other current warrants, including two counts for two other alleged rapes.
The bond for McKinney was set at $525,000. The felon’s history of convictions include twice for rape, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, theft, drug sales and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony crime.
The tipster was awarded $800 for removing one more felon from the city’s streets.