Valdosta sex ring allegations

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In 2005, a series of allegations were made about a sex trafficking ring in the Valdosta GA area. They came out right after the arrest of John Couey, a Florida sex offender who had raped and murdered 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford before fleeing to Georgia. Two different articles, one by Ralph Kershaw and one by Dan Hayworth and Roger Schmid, cited unnamed law enforcement sources in linking Couey to a pedophile ring in South Georgia. This alleged ring involved Coggins Farms trafficking illegal immigrants, pandered children to political elites in Valdosta, and was part of Ray Lemme's investigation.

Despite a lack of hard evidence, some elements of this ring have been corroborated. A couple months after those two articles, John Caylor independently published an interview with a former Coggins employee done in December 2004, who had mentioned illegal immigrant trafficking for farm labor and sex. In 2009, true crime author Chris Dahl began investigating the John Couey case and found signs that political pressure was being exerted to cover up its full extent. Dahl even identified some suggestive pieces of evidence that would fit with Couey's involvement in a Georgia sex ring. And a prostitution ring in the Georgia area that trafficked immigrant women to provide sex to farm laborers was busted in 2013, confirming the presence of illegal immigrant sex trafficking in the region.

Allegations

The sex ring allegations are quite complex, drawing in aspects of the Yang Enterprises/Tom Feeney corruption that Ray Lemme was investigating, illegal immigrant trafficking on Southern farms, and the controversial Florida case of John Couey. They can be partitioned into a couple of key sub-points.

Coggins Farms

The central participant in the Valdosta sex ring, named independently by both Hayworth/Schmid[1] and Caylor[2], was Coggins Farms of Lake Park GA. Coggins Farms was a large agricultural producer with regional farms in southern Georgia and northern Florida. It was accused of smuggling in illegal immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, and other countries to be used as farm laborers and sex slaves. These captive illegal immigrants trafficked by Coggins Farms became victims of the larger Valdosta sex ring.

The independent mention of Coggins is especially important in adding to the veracity of the sex ring allegations. Hayworth and Schmid named Coggins Farms, detailed its role in human trafficking, and even mentioned the use of "nickelmen" (explained below) in March 2005.[1] In the summer of 2005[3], Caylor released his interview with a Coggins whistleblower taken in December 2004 that confirmed all of those details.

Caylor interviewed Jim Harnage, a Lake Park resident who was formerly an assistant manager of the Coggins Farm Supply. Harnage's wife worked as a financial bookkeeper for Coggins during the same period. During the interview, Harnage accused Coggins of illegal toxic waste dumping before going into darker territory: their trafficking of illegal immigrants. He asserted that Coggins used a network of crew leaders and coyotes to bring in illegal immigrants from Mexico, and that owner Kevin Coggins annually went to Honduras with a large sum of money to purchase workers. Harnage also detailed the role of "nickelmen" in providing false Social Security identification to the trafficked immigrants.

In addition to being farm hands, the trafficked girls in particular were used for sex. The girls, many of them as young as 13, were forced to be sex slaves for the other imported immigrant workers. Harnage mentioned that the girls were locked up in compounds with chain-link fences, corroborating Kershaw's claim of Mexican children being "locked in barns and other structures"[4]. He further alluded to the girls being prostituted outside of Coggins Farms, confirming their use at truck stops.[2]

Florida PEER corroborated Harnage's whistleblowing and verified part of his story. A whitepaper went into how Harnage had alerted the Georgia environmental agency, EPA, and FBI about his concerns, yet received no follow-up. They included pictures of the illegal toxic waste disposal and mentioned how many people in the region had died of cancer, confirming a portion of Harnage's interview with Caylor. PEER also brought up the immigrant trafficking allegations, writing that they sent a FOIA to INS about the illegal immigrant smuggling but never received any reply. They even expanded on Harnage's allegations, making a brief mention of the fact that Harnage also accused the crew leaders of smuggling "drugs" in addition to people.[5]

Henry Nee's SSN

Main article: Henry Nee

John Caylor[2] and the two articles[4][1] both claimed that Yang Enterprises (YEI) employee Henry Nee, an illegal Chinese alien, obtained a false Social Security number from the Valdosta ring. Since the ring was trafficking illegal immigrants from Hispanic countries into the US, it employed the aforementioned "nickel men" to furnish them with fake Social Security cards. Nee was said to have gotten his SSN from the same human trafficking network.

No evidence currently indicates that Nee's Social Security number was illegal or acquired from a Valdosta sex ring. However, the circumstances behind his SSN do deserve further scrutiny. Despite having lived in Florida for most, if not all, of his time in the US, attending university and working there, Nee had a Social Security number that was assigned in Iowa in 1983. Some people search websites do say that Nee lived in Iowa City before Florida, but those same websites show that none of his family members lived outside of Florida. So it's possible that Nee never lived in Iowa and the online services inferred it from his SSN, which would imply the SSN was indeed fake.

Furthermore, the sex ring was said to be politically-connected, protected by high-level Republicans, and Yang Enterprises was represented and protected by Bush family confidant Tom Feeney. It's quite conceivable that Feeney could have done favors for YEI concerning Nee's legal status, and that he assisted them by obtaining a false SSN from the well-connected Valdosta sex ring.

Ray Lemme death

Main article: Ray Lemme

Building off their claims about Henry Nee, Caylor and the two articles also connected the death of Florida state investigator Ray Lemme to the sex ring. Lemme was investigating political corruption, contract fraud, Chinese espionage, and election rigging tied to Yang Enterprises, which included Nee's role as an illegal alien and spy. Lemme was found dead of a suspicious suicide in a Valdosta GA motel shortly after saying he had tracked the corruption "all the way to the top". To this day, nobody has definitively explained Ray Lemme's strange death or what he was doing in Valdosta.

All of the sources maintained that Lemme followed his Yang Enterprises investigation to the sex ring in the Valdosta area, where he was subsequently murdered. Caylor claimed that Lemme was "on the trail of Henry Nee" and was in Valdosta to follow that lead.[2] Kershaw also said that Lemme "stumbled across" the Valdosta sex ring while investigating corruption in Florida, and theorized that Lemme was "drawn to Valdosta as part of his investigation".[4] Hayworth and Schmid mentioned how a "nickelman provided a false SSN to Chinese spy Henry Ni" and tied that to Lemme's YEI investigation, asserting that "Lemme was investigating the illegal alien importation".[1] So all three sources agreed on Lemme's reason for being in Valdosta.

Much about Lemme's "suicide" doesn't add up, so it's quite likely that he actually came to Valdosta as part of his investigation, rather than to kill himself. If that's true, however, his activities in Valdosta are still unconfirmed. Supposing that Lemme was en route to Valdosta on the morning of June 30th (as phone records indicate) and checked into the motel on the evening of June 30th (as witnesses seem to imply), he would have spent around 12 hours in the Valdosta area doing something unknown. That time might have been dedicated to following the Valdosta sex ring lead.

Political involvement

Caylor and Hayworth/Schmid both implicate high-level Republicans in protecting the Valdosta sex ring. Hayworth and Schmid claimed that Coggins Farms owner Kevin Coggins was a big player in the Georgia Republican Party, as well as a major campaign financier of Saxby Chambliss (made a Senator in the suspect 2002 election) and George W. Bush.[1] Caylor also named Chambliss, but placed him in a larger Dixie Mafia network that involved Georgia businessmen (such as the Coggins family) and top Republican politicians.[2] Ultimately, both of them agreed that there was high-level political support for the Valdosta sex ring, which, according to Hayworth and Schmid, led to state and federal investigations and grand jury probes being shut down on orders from the White House[1].

The claimed political connections to Coggins Farms have yet to be verified. The Coggins family are Republicans who contributed a fair amount to Chambliss and Bush, but their prominence in the Georgia GOP and relationship to people like Chambliss are unproven. Caylor has said in private correspondence that he has a tape of a goon sent by Coggins and Chambliss threatening him; this tape has not been provided.

Valdosta pedophiles

As mentioned, Jim Harnage alluded to the trafficked girls being used as sex slaves outside of the farm compounds. In their articles, Kershaw and Hayworth/Schmid go further, explicitly claiming that the girls were prostituted to Valdosta residents. Kershaw even says that the girls were provided for sex to local politicians, businessmen, and policemen in Valdosta, drawing a parallel with elite pedophilia rings like the Franklin child sex ring in Omaha.[4] Hayworth and Schmid didn't mention the elite pedophilia angle, but said that the girls were pimped to Valdosta residents by local businessmen at establishments like strip clubs.[1]

These claims, specifically of politicians, businessmen, and policemen being pandered children, are uncorroborated beyond those two articles. That said, there is some evidence of a pedophilia problem in Valdosta: in recent years, two officers from the Valdosta Police Department were arrested for pedophilia crimes[6][7], and nearly a dozen civilian and military personnel at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta were arrested for soliciting child sex[8]. Also noteworthy is that the motel where Ray Lemme (who was said to be investigating the sex ring) died was very close to a Valdosta strip club.[9]

John Couey

Mugshot of John Couey

The most shocking allegation made by Kershaw and Hayworth/Schmid is the connection between the Valdosta sex ring and John Couey. John Couey was a Florida sex offender with a low IQ and history of molesting little girls. In 2005, he kidnapped 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raped her, and buried her alive. After law enforcement began investigating, Couey fled to Savannah GA, where he was briefly interrogated, and then Augusta GA, where he was arrested and brought back to Florida. Couey's arrest, confession, and trial received nationwide attention. He was universally considered pure evil, and most people were happy to see him receive the death penalty, though Couey actually died on death row before his execution.

Couey never appeared in the media to be anything more than a lone sex offender, but Kershaw and Hayworth/Schmid identified him as a participant in the Valdosta sex ring. Both claimed that he was a patron of the ring, paying $300 for sex with the trafficked girls.[4][1] It is also possible that Couey might have had a larger role in the ring, like as a nickelman or a "mule" for trafficked children.

Kershaw pointed to irregularities in how Couey's case was handled by Florida law enforcement, indicating an apparent attempt to protect Couey and cover up the sex ring. He said that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) broke Megan's Law by failing to inform the Citrus County Sheriff's Office that Couey was a repeat sex offender, causing a delay in their response. And he cited anonymous sources in the Citrus County Sheriff's Office as saying there was high-level interference (from DC and Tallahassee) in the Couey case and that it "involves others".[4]

Beyond that, Kershaw implied Valdosta was one of Couey's destinations after fleeing Florida[4], and Hayworth and Schmid said that the city "has become a virtual haven for sex offenders"[1].

This seems like a wild series of allegations to make solely based on anonymous law enforcement sources. However, true crime writer Chris Dahl investigated the Couey case and came to believe that the true story was indeed covered up due to political pressure. Dahl originally got involved with the Couey case when he embarked on sending letters to Florida death row inmates, hoping to get interesting stories. He got into a correspondence with Couey, who promised to reveal everything about his case. Almost immediately after making the promise to Dahl, Couey died of alleged natural causes. Dahl became suspicious and began probing all the irregularities behind the case.[10] He amassed numerous pieces of evidence pointing to a much larger pedophile operation which was covered up, a conclusion that has been borne out by further research.

It is surprising that Couey was not immediately questioned, despite being a registered sex offender who lived directly adjacent to the Lunsford home. The Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) did attempt to round up all the local sex offenders, but they were unable to locate Couey, who was no longer living at the address listed in the database. However, the FDLE was aware four months prior to Jessica's kidnapping that Couey had failed to respond to a letter at his listed address, and they sent a letter to the CCSO telling them to verify Couey's location. Had the CCSO received and acted upon this letter, it likely would have been discovered that Couey was staying at his half-sister's trailer which sat 150 yards away from Jessica's house, and Couey would have been found early on. The FDLE insisted they sent the letter, but CCSO spokesman Gail Tierney claimed that the FDLE sent this letter to the CCSO's old address instead of its current address.[11] Why the FDLE made such a drastic blunder is a mystery. In any case, the effect of this blunder was to protect Couey from law enforcement. That the FDLE failed to properly inform the CCSO of John Couey's sex offender status corroborates Kershaw's article, which was published a month before local newspapers revealed that fact.

Because of its proximity to the Lunsford home, police did visit the trailer owned by Couey's half-sister Dorothy Dixon. In fact, they made several visits, but somehow never discovered Couey or Jessica. According to Mark Lunsford's lawyers, the police found suspicious behavior at the Dixon trailer and returned at least twice for that reason, but they never asked to search the inside of the trailer. Had they done so, Jessica likely would have been found alive. Couey insisted that he held Jessica captive for multiple days, and while state attorney Brad King repudiated this as a lie on Couey's part, Mark Lunsford's legal team concurred. They pointed out that no food was found in her digestive system, even though she was fed the night of her abduction, and that an early search of the property around the Dixon trailer failed to turn up her body, indicating she had not yet been buried. Nevertheless, it was also unclear why police did not find Jessica's body until after Couey's confession. Multiple search volunteers with specially-trained canines reported being told to "stand down" by the CCSO.[12]

Strangely enough, one of the Dixon trailer residents, Matt Dittrich, said in a deposition that police did search the interior of the trailer. To the best of his knowledge, that included Couey's room. That was in contradiction to statements by police, who denied conducting an interior search.[13] If the police did conduct a search there, it is inconceivable that Jessica wouldn't have been found. But it is also quite possible that Dittrich was attempting to cover for his own inaction.

How much Couey's family knew about his activities is unclear. Couey told police that Dittrich walked into his room while Jessica was in the closet, but Dittrich dismissed as "bullshit" the possibility he was in the same room as Jessica.[14] After his arrest, Couey wrote but did not send a letter to Bill O'Reilly saying that someone in the trailer knew more than he was letting on.[15] Many observers, including Dahl, were skeptical that Couey could keep Jessica for multiple days without anyone in the Dixon trailer finding out. What is clear is that the family covered for Couey by lying to the police, yet they never faced prosecution as accomplices. Shortly after Couey was apprehended, police arrested Dorothy Dixon, her daughter Madie Secord, and Dixon's boyfriend Matt Dittrich on obstruction of justice charges. All of them admitted lying to police and saying that Couey didn't live at the trailer when police came to ask them.[16] But in June, the state attorney's office dropped all charges, claiming there was no prosecutable offense committed.[17] The Florida Code from a year prior, however, stated that giving "false information to any law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime" -- such as the whereabouts of a suspect in a missing person's case -- was a "misdemeanor of the first degree".[18]

Also surprising to Chris Dahl was the fact that Couey, while the subject of a manhunt, was able to trek down busy US 19 for a week without any police noticing him. Madie Secord and Gene Secord both raised this matter in their depositions, with Gene explicitly asking how Couey wasn't caught. For whatever reason, Couey was able to get away unmolested and escape on a bus to Georgia.[19]

After Couey was arrested, the focus immediately shifted to closing the case with him as the sole perpetrator. Couey obligingly confessed, but it was given under troubling circumstances and had some bizarre loose ends. On the first day of his interrogation, done by Citrus County detectives Scott Grace and Gary Atchison, Couey only talked hypothetically, refusing to implicate himself. When the prospect of a lie detector test was brought up, Couey asked for a lawyer, yet the interrogation continued anyway.[20] The court would later throw out his confession for that reason.[21] The next day, an FBI examiner gave him a polygraph, and then Detectives Grace and Atchison began a second round of interrogation. Without any mention of whether Couey passed or failed the polygraph, he launched into a full confession. This confession did not implicate anyone else, such as his family members who obstructed justice on his behalf. It did, however, contain some surprising remarks by Couey implying that Jessica was not a virgin[22]:

Grace: Okay. So you guys go back in to the room.. what happens? What's the very next thing that happens when you get to the room?

Atchison: Is she scared? Is she crying?

Couey: Oh no, I told her to lie.. No, I started... I shut the door. shut the window.

Grace: Urn-hum.

Couey: Closed the blinds and I told her to lay on the bed.. just.. you know, just when I started, you know, playing around, you know, fondling..

Atchison: You didn't mind you doing that?

Couey: She didn't tell me to stop. She wasn't yelling and she wasn't screaming. All I.. Like I said, she was.. for some reason, she's a very polite girl and I asked her.. I said, anybody ever done that for you before, and she no.

Grace: Urn-hum.

Couey: I don't know.. anyway, I done dumb things, you know. I (inaudible) I shouldn't of done it, and I feel guilty about it. I fondled her. I didn't.. I didn't intercourse with her at first (inaudible).


Grace: Okay, but when you had sexual intercourse with her, okay.. did you ejaculate inside of her?

Couey: Yes sir.

[...]

Grace: Did she cry and tell you to stop?

Couey: No sir, she didn't.

Grace: She didn't cry at all?

Couey: No.

Grace: And you just had sex.

Couey: And that's why it don't make no sense.

Grace: Okay. You just had vaginal sex one time?

Couey: She told me when I got done.. she said that it felt like she was on her period.

Grace: Cause she was bleeding so much?

Couey: Yes.

Grace: Okay.

Couey: She said.. she started laughing about that.. I'm on my period, you know.

For obvious reasons, Couey's statements didn't have much credibility, and his insinuation about Jessica was viewed as an obvious, offensive lie. Some people might have recalled how Richard Allen Davis, the murderer of Polly Klaas, pulled a similar inflammatory stunt in court when he claimed Polly talked about her father molesting her. It seemed like Couey was just attempting to shift some of the blame for Jessica's rape and murder away from himself. Not considered was the question of whether Couey, with a severely below-average IQ, was even smart enough to attempt such a ploy. And in fact, there was troubling evidence in the case that pointed directly at the Lunsford family. Much of it came up before Couey was a suspect.

Certain aspects of the abduction bore the hallmarks of an inside job. From the beginning, it was acknowledged that there was no sign of forced entry. In fact, the door to the Lunsford home was actually unlocked.[23][24] The Lunsford family owned a dog but it did not bark during the time Couey was in the house[25], quite possibly an indication that it either knew Couey or others were involved in removing Jessica. And there was no evidence of a struggle in the actual abduction itself, to the point that Jessica was allowed to take a stuffed dolphin with her. Her autopsy showed no injuries other than those caused by the sexual assault and being buried alive.

[Inconsistencies in Lunsford family depositions]

More damning evidence was found on Mark Lunsford's computer. When Mark's computer was examined right after Jessica's abduction, the police found child porn. Lunsford denied he had viewed any child porn pictures, and claimed that they got onto his computer inadvertently through "pop ups", but they were found in the delete bin, indicating he had consciously downloaded the images before deleting them. Law enforcement was surprisingly unconcerned about this discovery. In fact, Sheriff Jeff Dawsy and the state attorney's office under Brad King both refused to pursue any criminal charges. The excuse was that Mark only had a "limited amount" of child porn and had "been through enough".[26][27][28]

Eventually, the authorities began to lie and state that no child porn had been found. Assistant state attorney Ric Ridgway wrote as much in a 2007 letter to Mark's lawyer.[29] Det. Gary Atchison repeated the same implausible excuse about pop-ups and accused the media of lying.[30] However, former journalist Dave Pieklik confirmed that he was told about the child porn and its location in the delete bin directly by the prosecutors and the CCSO's Public Information Office.[31]

The most serious accusation concerning Jessica was that she had been raped before. Outside of Couey's own accusations, the evidence for this is unclear. A Wikipedia edit on July 11, 2006 made the claim that the recently-released coroner's report showed evidence of "prior healed notches" and "clefts and scars" in Jessica's hymenal area, indicating that she had been raped before Couey abducted her. It cited a news portal on the Ocala Star-Banner website, not any specific document, and this portal is now gone, making it impossible to verify the source.[32] The autopsy report that was released through a public records request makes no mention of prior vaginal injuries. Furthermore, the identity of the Wikipedia editor turns out to be David Stodghill, himself a pedophile. Altogether, there is no unequivocal proof of prior abuse, but the other irregularities concerning Mark Lunsford and the strange behavior of the coroner (see below) certainly leave the possibility open.

It was suggested by Chris Dahl that Couey and Lunsford were both involved in a criminal underworld that exchanged sex and drugs. According to Dahl, some death row inmates suspected that scenario was what led to Jessica's rape and murder. He claimed that rumors were circulating throughout the Tampa Bay area of a larger group of pedophiles that was about to go down, but the narrative suddenly changed and Couey alone took the fall.[33] Some corroboration exists to support Dahl's recollection. One former Homosassa resident who followed the case also recalled hearing rumors that Couey had "friends", perhaps from a local bar.[34] There was in fact a local bar where people were making jokes about Jessica Lunsford.[35] In a press conference with Sheriff Dawsy following Couey's arrest, a reporter mentioned speculation from neighbors that Couey knew the Lunsford family, something Dawsy vehemently denied.[36] It did not stop others from speculating along similar lines.[37][38] Interestingly, Dawsy was a lot less dismissive of the possibility just four days earlier. On March 15, he talked about the police hunting down an out-of-state suspect who was "part of Jessica Lunsford's family, social, school or church circles".[24] Given the evidence of Couey's guilt as well as indications that the Lunsford family had some role in facilitating the abduction, it is quite plausible that Couey and Mark Lunsford made some type of "exchange" involving Jessica.

Lunsford was given a substantial amount of public sympathy after Couey was caught, but his character was by no means upstanding. Multiple ex-girlfriends accused him of physical abuse, and one also accused him of drug use, fitting with the suggestion of a sex-for-drugs exchange. One ex-girlfriend even claimed that Mark assembled a group of his biker friends to drive by and intimidate her.[39] Biker gangs, it should be noted, have long been associated with criminal underworld activities such as drugs and prostitution. So Mark Lunsford does in fact fit the profile of someone who might be involved in a sex and drug network alongside Couey.

As is well-documented in similar cases like the Franklin scandal, these types of networks are not just patronized by the bottom-rung of society (people like Couey and Lunsford). The political and business elite often engage in wild debauchery involving drugs and sex, particularly with children. It is quite likely, then, that such a ring in the Homosassa area would be well-protected by the political establishment. And Couey murdering Jessica rather than returning her to her family was a catastrophic mistake that could have exposed that pedophile underground. Dahl notes that in the search for Jessica, another body of a young girl was discovered, perhaps someone involved in this same ring who met a very similar fate. To protect the network, John Couey needed to be portrayed as a lone offender.[33] The incomprehensible actions by law enforcement, such as ignoring Mark's child pornography and not charging the others in the Dixon trailer, are indications of an official cover-up to that end.

Quite tellingly, the same cast of suspicious characters -- state attorney Brad King and Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy -- was accused of covering up child sexual abuse at Green Isle Ranch in nearby Lake County.

Mark Lunsford stayed in the spotlight for a couple years with a mixed public reception. After Jessica's death, he started the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation to raise money for child advocacy. He soon came under fire for mishandling foundation funds and allegedly stealing money from it for personal use.[40] At the same time, he made the unpopular move of suing the Citrus County Sheriff's Office for botching the investigation into Jessica's abduction. The public began to suspect that Lunsford was only interested in extracting money from his daughter's death.[41] Mark did raise valid points about the CCSO's negligent handling of the case, but ignored was the fact that the CCSO also covered for his possession of child pornography. For that reason, his attempt to sue the CCSO likely was for shortsighted personal gain, since a lawsuit would have forced an ugly reexamination of a case in which both sides were implicated.

As these scandals began to erupt around Lunsford, he received a generous offer from a philanthroper with a likely CIA background: Hank Asher. Asher offered Mark Lunsford a child advocacy job with a $100,000/year salary, on the condition that he close his foundation and drop his lawsuits.[42] The result was an end to the baggage dogging Mark's image, a large financial windfall on his part, and a controversial case that was finally no longer being litigated. Though Asher and Lunsford certainly had a legitimate reason to meet, having both been involved in the missing children community with John Walsh, Asher's job offer arguably looked more like hush-money to finalize the cover-up. The involvement of Asher certainly speaks to how well the missing children's movement has been infiltrated by US intelligence.

A veil of silence ultimately went up around the case. Two people who were deeply involved in the investigation soon quit their jobs. One of the lead detectives, Scott Grace, left the Citrus County Sheriff's Office to work at KBR in Iraq less than a year after Couey's arrest. According to Atchison, this may have been because he believed the Lunsford family was not properly scrutinized as suspects.[30] Medical examiner Dr. Steven Cogswell resigned in 2007 exactly one day after testifying at Couey's trial.[43] When Dahl tried to talk to people at the Sheriff's Office about Couey, he learned that no one was allowed to discuss the case at all. The other lead detective, Gary Atchison, then attempted to lure Dahl into an apparent trap. He called Dahl on a phone number that he had never given out, offering to meet him for dinner and share information. When Dahl arrived, the place began filling up with cops whom Atchison knew, and suspecting it was a setup, he got out immediately. Dahl began to realize that someone, likely with political influence, wanted to prevent the truth from coming out about Couey.[44]

Dahl learned about some of the alternative theories surrounding the Couey case, including the sex ring allegations of Kershaw, Hayworth, and Schmid. Despite the lack of concrete proof for many of the claims (such as Couey going to Valdosta), he did find that Couey had a mysterious connection to Georgia. When Couey was questioned by police about why he had gone to Georgia, he said he had met a man who would give him work, remaining vague about what it was and where he was going. Gene Secord, the husband of his niece and one of the people in the trailer with him, said something even more interesting in a deposition[45]:

A: [...] And that's -- he said he didn't have an ID or something like that and that's why Madie got him the bus ticket. Because he lives in Georgia or wherever. Or that's where he goes all the time
   So that's where he wanted to go back to because he said he can get work there and have a place to live.

[...]

Q: Do you know why he was going to Georgia or did you have an understanding why?

A: Because that's where he lives, I guess, you know. I mean, whenever he's not with Troy and Marie he's in Georgia. So he wanted to go back there because he said he could get work and have a place to live. And so that's why he wanted to go back. But he didn't have no money, so Madie got him a bus ticket.

In other words, Couey, who was a Florida resident, traveled to Georgia so frequently that one of his familial acquaintances thought he lived there. While not evidence on its own, it certainly does make the theory that Couey was involved with a Valdosta sex ring more compelling. His activities in Georgia have never been explained or addressed by anyone else. Another mysterious aspect of Couey's connection to Georgia is the fact that he fled to Savannah before heading further north, following the same path as an illegal immigrant sex trafficking ring in the southeast[46] (the same activity Coggins Farms was implicated in).

The myriad irregularities in the Jessica Lunsford case lend support to Couey being involved with a politically-connected sex ring in South Georgia. Such involvement would account for the sex offender info mix-up, how police botched the case, the cover-up of more people than just Couey being involved, Couey's sudden death after consenting to reveal everything to Dahl, and his unexplained connection to Georgia.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Dan Hayworth with Roger Schmid, "JESSICA LUNSFORD KILLER TIED TO GOP-CONNECTED CHILD SEX BUSINESS IN GEORGIA", 2005/03/23 (alternate copy)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 John Caylor, "A TRAIL OF UNEXPLAINED DEAD BODIES", 2005/06 - article on the Coggins immigrant smuggling
  3. Archives of the Insider Magazine homepage show when the story was posted: the 2005/04/11 copy doesn't have the story and the 2005/07/06 copy does, indicating that the Coggins story was posted somewhere in that window, which is after the Kershaw and Hayworth/Schmid stories in March 2005
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Ralph G. Kershaw, "Couey Linked to Georgia Child Sex Ring, Murder of Florida Investigator", 2005/03/22 (alternate copy)
  5. Florida PEER, "FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCIES FAIL TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF CONTAMINATION AT AGRICULTURAL SITE", 2005/10/19 - whitepaper on Coggins Farms
  6. WCTV, "VPD Officer Arrested on Child Molestation", 2011/05/06 - VPD officer Otto Pena arrested for child molestation in 2011
  7. WCTV, "Former Valdosta Police Officer Indicted For Sexual Exploitation Of Children", 2014/03/04 - former VPD officer Michael Linger arrested for child porn possession in 2014
  8. WCTV, "11 Nabbed in South Georgia Sex Sting", 2014/12/23 - 11 civilian and military personnel at Moody AFB arrested for soliciting sex with minors
  9. TODO: Find a source for the Knights Inn being located near a strip club (probably Clint Curtis book or BradBlog comments)
  10. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013)
  11. Ocala Star Banner, "FDLE warned Couey was missing", 2005/04/24
  12. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.82-83 (excerpts Lunsford lawyer response to "Bubba the Love Sponge")
  13. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.16-17 (cites deposition of Matt Dittrich)
  14. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.7 (cites Couey confession and statement by Matt Dittrich to FDLE investigator Ed Neal)
  15. Bill O’Reilly, "John Couey writes to the Factor", 2005/08/18
  16. St. Petersburg Times, "So near home, body found", 2005/03/20
  17. Citrus County Chronicle, "Lunsford: Polygraph Couey's housemates", 2005/06/10
  18. 2004 Florida Code, TITLE XLVI CRIMES, Chapter 837 PERJURY, 837.05 False reports to law enforcement authorities.
  19. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.17-18 (cites depositions of Dorothy Dixon and Gene Secord)
  20. 2005/03/17 interrogation of John Couey
  21. Gainesville Sun, "Couey’s confession in slaying thrown out", 2006/07/01
  22. 2005/03/18 interrogation of John Couey
  23. WTVY, "Amber Alert Jessica Lunsford", 2005/02/25
  24. 24.0 24.1 CNN, "'Person of interest' sought in Florida missing girl case", 2005/03/15
  25. "INITIAL BRIEF OF APPELLANT", 2009/01/28
  26. Citrus County Chronicle, "State attorney says computer records don't warrant charges", 2005/07/18
  27. Ocala Star Banner, "Child porn found on Lunsford computer", 2005/07/19
  28. Citrus County Chronicle, "Prosecutors target Couey's past", 2006/07/06
  29. Assistant state attorney to Brad King lies about child porn finding (source)
  30. 30.0 30.1 See below for the unfinished Atchison interview transcript
  31. Email correspondence with Citrus County Chronicle writer Dave Pieklik, October 2017 - "The information came directly from prosecutors assigned to the case; in this, it was Pete Magrino and Ric Ridgway of the Assistant State Attorney’s office in Brooksville. [...] The Public Information Officer at the time for the Sheriff’s Office also confirmed where the images had been found. [...] It was actually Pete Magrino that stated what was discovered, which I then verified with law enforcement. The alleged images were not part of the discovery for obvious reasons, so I had to go off of what officials stated on record."
  32. Old Wikipedia revision on 2006/07/11 makes the claims about "prior healed notches" and "clefts and scars"
  33. 33.0 33.1 2017/05/31 through 2017/08/03 email correspondences with Chris Dahl
  34. Homosassa FL area resident heard rumors that Couey had "friends"
  35. Bill O’Reilly, "'Factor' Exclusive: John Couey's Sister Tracked Down", 2005/04/27
  36. CNN, "Citrus County Sheriff Answers Press Questions on Jessica Lunsford Case; Frank Discussion of Ebbers Trial, Social Security, Terri Schiavo, March Madness", 2005/03/19
  37. 2007/12/20 allegations on Topix that Mark Lunsford knew Couey and a larger pedophile ring existed: "Lest we not forget the Lunsford tragedy- Mark (the father) viewing child porn on his computer and it being found by the cops. Has anyoen ever asked if Mark KNEW Couey? I would venture to say he knew this guy. How does a guy "break in" to a trailer without a little yippy dog going crazy? Somethig is missing. they got the retarded pervert and let the rest go. So much more is missing. How many other kids need to die? Citrus county is so messed up. At least Boss Hogg loved the kids. Apparently Citrus Sherrif doesn't."
  38. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.85-91 (excerpts various Internet posts by Shirley Lowery)
  39. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.87-89 (TODO: find sources on Lunsford ex-girlfriends)
  40. Tampa Bay Times, "Flawed management plagues Lunsford's foundation", 2008/03/29
  41. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.81-84 (TODO: assemble sources on Lunsford lawsuit)
  42. Tampa Bay Times, "Paid promotion deal raises questions about Mark Lunsford's finances", 2009/11/06
  43. Ocala Star Banner, "Medical examiner resigns", 2007/03/24
  44. Chris Dahl, The Girl in the Closet (2013), p.149-150 (personal recollection by Dahl)
  45. Gene Secord deposition
  46. CNN, "Southeast sex-trafficking case exposes horrors of the trade", 2014/02/19 - South Georgia immigrant sex trafficking ring

External links

Identity of authors

Coggins Farms


Jim Harnage

Other nearby farms

Political connections

Valdosta elite pedophilia

John Couey

  • The Girl in the Closet by Chris Dahl (2013)
  • Various documents on John Couey case - includes law enforcement interviews
  • Trial depositions for the defense
  • Chris Dahl, "Not Everyone Thought Couey Did It", 2014/10/17 - raises the question of why Mark Lunsford enlisted in the Army for three years but was discharged after only two, a question he refused to answer in his deposition; goes into various conspiracy theories about Couey: that the Couey and Lunsford clans were in on it together, that Couey was a mind controlled puppet of a Satanic group, and the stories of Kershaw and Hayworth/Schmid
  • Email correspondences with Chris Dahl
    • 2017/05/06 through 2017/05/19
      • "The quick answer is yes I believe he was a part of something bigger and he took the fall. I'll try to give you a coherent answer. I have the full testimony which is in two parts. Day one he is adamant he doesn't know anything about her. Day two he miraculously cracks. What happened that night?"
      • "In terms of Jessicas abduction and death, other death row prisoners theorize it was the father paying off a drug debt or a sex ring. In the interrogation it is mentioned that the autopsy of Jessica revealed hymenal notches, healed vaginal scars from previous penetration. Father had porn on computer; dismissed by DA as trivial. No Megan's law notification; explained away later. Grandfather also had sex charges in the past; had blood stains on his underwear from that night. Dismissed as well."
      • "High level interference: I tried to contact every official involved with the case after couey died. No one was allowed to talk. Figured my book was dead in the water. Then I get a call on my home phone not cell, information I gave no one. It was one of the three who brought couey in. I thought it was weird but wanted the story. Long story short he convinced me to go to his juris diction, stating he was on call. How dumb was I? I get there and the bar is empty. I get there -- on a week night in the sticks -- and he makes a call. The place fills up and he knows everyone. They're all cops. One is the PR lady who is hushing everyone up. I was dumb but I'm not retarded, said I had to go to my car and never came back. He made attempts to lure me back in: Facebook, stuff like that. Ironically he's the guy I got the tapes from. The moral is that someone is concerned about this case. Very concerned. I tried contacting another lead detective but he left fir the private sector; the third was FBI so you know I didn't hear from him."
    • 2017/05/31 through 2017/08/03
      • "This guy who tormented Couey (poisoned?) had his sentence commuted from death to life after Couey died. Might have been his pay off. His nickname at Raifiord was Egypt. Don't know if talking to him would help."
      • "Grace was dirty in my opinion. He had a lot of baggage that got dropped out of courtesy, if you dig. DUI etc. I think he's in Texas now as a "consultant". Saw him on LinkedIn Never answered me. There was a third investigator as well."
      • "The Citrus County sheriff at the time (can't recall the name right now) was the one who stonewalled everything, I feel."
      • "Here's one thing that might be of interest. I've always wondered about the letter [from Couey to Bill O'Reilly],why it went away and why it went away. Mentioned below is Brad King the same guy who dismissed all the child pornographers allegations against the Lunsfords. You're stuck at the same point at which I was stuck, a solid link to Valdosta. In the questioning Couey claims not to drive. I don't know why that guest ion was even brought come to think of it unless it was some subtle accusation of his transporting humans."
      • "Good luck tracking the family down. I tracked their addresses down, close as I could tell. They're in witness protection I suppose. I tracked them down a couple times and never got viable responses. Then they ended up at another address. There was some evidence that, as well I can remember, gene secord was trying to fence some stuff in vegas. He might have caught a case out there. Maybe you could check that out. I sent a letter to a related address in that city. The response is scanned into the book. The person who responded claimed to be a nun but the handwriting, spelling and syntax led me to believe the IQ was similar to Couey and the clan. Again, it's in the book. Long story short, last I thought secord was in vegas. If they're still alive, they're stowed away pretty well. Off the top of my head, Christiana, Tennessee was the last address before Vegas."
      • "There has always been a feeling there was more to the case than the official story. I lived in the Tampa Bay region when the case occurred. The initial reports that were later recanted talked about a band of dedicated pedophiles fueled by drugs who would supply Couey with underage girls. Word was they were all going down. But something changed. The narrative changed. The lunsfords and the Couey clan except for John were exonerated. Thus the suspicion. No sexual predator tracking at the local level, no amber alert etc. I tried to find these news reports from the initial moments of media coverage to confirm my recollection and the "cleansing" continued. Most notably,aside from the Chilis incident, I contacted a very nice lady at the Citrus County Chronicle to get certain articles that would confirm my beliefs. She tried quite diligently to find them and then simply said they had "changed systems" and may have been lost along the way. I have the emails if you want them. It simply fits the cover up trend in my mind. I don't know why interest would be on the upswing in the case. Actually most people in the area have always had questions, and nobody wants to get near this thing. The cops, the family and the media are muted. Coueys dead after running his lip a little too much. Conclusion: there must be something to hide."
      • "My working theory, or what I think happened if I had to guess, was that this was not the first time the Jessica Lunsford situation happened. During the manhunt fir Jessica, a body of a young girl was found in a body of water near the trailer park. It wasn't Jessica, supposedly, but it fit the profile. There was a guy who was pulled over with young kids one of whom looked like Jessica, at least enough to have it looked into. He was let go. Meanwhile and mysteriously, Couey and his clan are sitting in this trailer not being investigated-- interviewed but not investigated. Weird. According to the official story Jessica would have been buried in her shallow grave this whole time. The investigators look on the surface that they had messed up to the point of shocking embarrassment. That's not enough to me. Why was the Lunsford clan exonerated? Why was there no amber alerts or oedophile tracking? Why was Couey allowed to roam freely along a sec trafficking route? Why was he found so quickly and suddenly?

        The heart of the theory is that it was some kind of sex fir drugs or vice versa and things went wrong. Some guys get off sexually on death (there was another dead young girl on the property) and that's a possibility. A better possibility is Coueys simplicity. He had never had intercourse with any of the girls he'd molested and he did have a weird conscience. Couey knew she had to die to absolve him of guilt but couldn't do it directly so he killed her "indirectly" by suffocation

        Now there's a mess because a dead girl could open up a can of worms and a world drugs and underage sex would be exposed. They play it straight at first but the news was full of stuff about a bigger group involved, not just one pervert acting alone. They kill and scrub that narrative and switch it to couey taking the blame(see the switch in tone in interrogation between day one and day two). There's a carefully controlled spin and cleansing of what initially happened: Lunsford and Couey knew each other, Jessica was payment fir drugs that went too far (see above). Lunsford is absolved of guilt and deified as a martyr. The family who was stated as involved in early reports are tucked away; Secord even knew Couey used to work in Georgia. Couey was locked away and silent until I asked about his case, he responded and had to be officially silenced. The silence continues as we discussed. The cover up goes as high as the citrus county sherrriff who refused to issue an amber alert and even to Brad king who ignored child poem allegations fir the lunsfords. The FBI got involved just long enough to help sway Couey to take the heat during the investigation.

        There may well have been pressure from higher up but that pressure is usually compartmentalized from what I've noticed. The local newspaper switches systems and some information is lost -- "oops" right? Stuff like that.

        I got the drugs for sex idea from John Marquard on death row. I think loran Cole mentioned that idea as well. Couey they figured was borderline retarded and would have been easily manipulated to take the blame. Someone else had to be involved since the body could not have been there during the manhunt but almost magically appeared later while he was in Georgia. Was Jessica too much evidence? Did Couey even kill her? I've often wondered. Was she killed after the fact. Autopsy showed she was not a virgin. Was her time just up? There had to be others involved.

        Sex for drugs is at the heart of it."
      • "I'll try to answer your questions directly but I had a thought. If I were to have the power and could justify a subpoena, I'd love to put Mark Lunsford under oath, as well as the girlfriend he was with the night his daughter disappeared. I'd love to hear him try to tell the story the same exact way a dozen or so times. There's a solid chance he didn't leave the house. Who verified he was out of the house the whole time? Who can say he wasn't outside house facilitating the whole thing: letting Couey in, calming his daughter, walking her across the trailer park to coueys trailer and helping to lift her into coueys trailer That would answer many questions. The family thought he was "out" but was just outside. And he walks in just as the alarm for Jessica to get for school goes off. Too coincidental."
      • "As far as I can tell, the FBIs most prominent role in the case was as third interrogator with atchison and grace, though he is notably absent from the actual interrogation. He may have just been the "state presence" or he could have been the one who swayed Couey to take the rap? A mercurial figure at best."
      • "Couey must have had a clear, tangible reason to go to Georgia and a clearly defined path. He's not smart enough or brave enough to strike out and wing it. How could he be left to his own devices, right? To the best of my knowledge, he specifically mentions going to work on a farm but gets evasive ultimately. So he had a job on a farm that he was heading toward. That is in reference to the audio."
      • "Mark Lunsford had domestic beefs with Mechelle Willis and Teresa Davis in citrus county. Lawyers were heather Brooke quick and Howard Hawkins respectively. They're both domestic aggression beefs from what I remember. They'd probably talk."
      • "My intuition tells me Couey was there for some other type of job than working at a Salvation Army or whatever. He was not altruistic. Also people with his IQ are less apt to strike out several states away for some job. Couey beingvofvthat low IQ would have stayed in his comfort zone unless otherwise guided. In short, if Couey were the brains of this operation, it wasn't much of an operation. He had to have been guided and told. He would have needed routine and a clear path. Thus I think he'd made the trip he was on previously and that it was a well established route. Honestly, the guy probably couldn't read a map."
    • 2017/08/23 through 2017/08/29
    • 2017/08/29 through 2017/09/01
      • "I found the part of the interrogation where Jessica supposedly says that it seemed as if she were on her period when she had sex with Couey. That would have been impossible since she was nine at the time. That's also very precocious sexual knowledge for her age. I have not found the direct references to vaginal notches in the interrogation yet, however."
    • 2017/10/13 through 2017/11/01
      • "I searched my three main e-mail accounts and have no record of emails sent to atchison leading me to believe he called me. I never conversed via Facebook. The line he called me on was a land line I only kept for emergencies otherwise I gave out my cell. Without doubt, he called me. Without doubt, he told me to meet him while he was on call in his jurisdiction. He initiated the meeting and we met. I haven't had the landline for a few years but I can give you the old number if you want to try to access records. 727 771 0959. I know for a fact that the public relations person from the sheriffs deoartment was there. He introduced me to her personally. I wish I could recall the exact date I met him. I do know it was a Thursday at The Chilis on US 19 in Hokossassa. I will look for further corroboration of my story."
      • "Real quick before I head out: I never conversed on Facebook with. At least there's no remaining history. I will call bright house about call records. But here's the chink in the armor of his story: why was he the only one allowed to talk to me about the case? In his jurisdiction no less. Also he said he was going to retire in August of that year and that's when he could officially release his story to me. Did he retire? Answer is no. He was investigating cases at least three years after our meeting. So we don't know each other from Adam but which story has holes?"
      • "Individuals told me they had to confer with PR (Gail tierney off the top of my head?) and all but Atchison were denied. I'll call Monday about the call records."
      • "The chain of events was such: one patrol officer agreed and later had to recline due to PR. all ithers declined without hesitation due to PR Somehow atchison was the anointed one who was allowed to tell his story. I'll call about those call records tomorrow."
      • "Yes. It was Santiago who agreed and then declined. There were no calls. I'll try to find emails."
      • "Just Santiago. Actually there was only phone contact with Atchison. No others. I just looked and the interrogation CDs were sent from Tierneys office, if that means anything. Atchison and I spoke on the phone. In fact I was just about to call bright house again about phone records."
      • "The only other contact would have been becoming Facebook "friends". It was on a secondary Facebook page; not my main. He mentioned having me to his house but not after the Chilis meeting. That was during the initial phone call. He wanted to set one up but did not directly contact me after the chilis scenario. Bright house unfortunately said I can only go six billing cycles back. Unless you have other resources to get call records, they won't let me go back that far. Sorry."
      • "I feel Cogswell would talk if you can find him. When he left it seems he left with great animus. I can't think of any reason he would be legally bound to remain silent on the subject. He's the way to go."
      • "The only other option would be the prisoners. That Egypt fellow, whose sentence was miraculously reduced after couey's death, might be a lead but I haven't found his actual name. Richard shere on death row would know his name. I'm sure that guy could give you names of guards. Maybe you could get the names of death row guards or even the people who read the incoming and outgoing mail."
      • "I tried to track down the family. They're under deep cover. It didn't work for me. Mark lunsfords wife, with whom he had Jessica, was named Angela Bryant. At one point she claimed he was physically abusive and a drug user. It was not an amicable separation. Last I heard she was in Ohio. I'll look up his arrests in my Couey before Nader when I get home. He had a pattern of harassment toward women and subsequent boyfriends. I'll try to find their names. They might help out, no love lost there."
    • 2018/01/15 through 2018/03/13
      • "The final drafts of the Couey book were being finished mid-2010 so I must have met him in 2009. He said he was going to retire which was why he couldn't tell me the whole story until August of that year. There is a picture of his Facebook stating he retired or was still working with citrus county PD years later. He definitely bullshitted me on that one."
  • Life of Couey before the Jessica Lunsford murder
    • St. Petersburg Times, "So near home, body found", 2005/03/20 - mentions obstruction of justice charges for Dororthy Dixon, Matt Dittrich and Madie Secord, who all admitted to lying about Couey living in their trailer during a sex offender search; Gene Secord had a variety of criminal charges but was not involved in lying about Couey
    • St. Petersburg Times, "Couey's life path mostly a dead end", 2005/03/27 - after being released from his teen burglary sentence, he was re-arrested three days later for breaking into a home and clamping his hand over a girl's mouth; both Couey and his wife Karen Joan Goshe were constantly arrested for writing bad checks, DUIs, failing to appear in court, and violating probation; in 1987, a Lake City officer arrested Couey for hiding naked in the shrubs of a trailer park; after Couey and his wife split, she racked up prostitution and cocaine possession charges in Fort Lauderdale; following his 1993 prison release he worked as a dishwasher at Emily's Restaurant, made lewd comments about young girls who walked by, and wrote a love letter to a 14-year old employee; then he did masonry work at Crystal River Middle School
    • Tampa Tribune, "Every Way He Turned, Couey Always Landed In Trouble", 2007/02/12 - abusive childhood and lax treatment by the criminal justice system: as a child, Couey's stepfather got upset at him wetting the bed and repeatedly slammed a door on Couey's head; while a teenager, he was sentenced to probation for breaking into homes while drunk, and then prison for never reporting to his probation officer; following parole in July 1980, Couey became a fugitive in the span of a month, moving away without telling authorities; caught the next year after he broke into another house, Couey got a 10-year sentence but was released in 1984; in 1991 while living in Kissimmee FL, Couey exposed himself to a 5-year old girl across the street, and quickly admitted to his actions but asked for mental help instead of prison; he was sentenced in 1991 and released in 1993, then violated his conditional release and was sent back to prison in 1995 until 1997 (only 2 to 4 years for his crime); Couey was forced to join a sex offender program in September 1997, but for a while, he didn't even show up
    • Websleuths post makes further claims about Couey's history of molesting children: "Here's a for-instance: most of us have probably heard of John Couey, the creep in Florida who murdered Jessica Lunsford. What you may not know is that he had a HISTORY of molesting little girls. Upon his first arrest for molestation, he admitted that he had molested his ex-wife's daughter, and that the ex-wife KNEW about it, but refused to report the crime. All she demanded was that they get divorced and he hit the road. And it doesn't end there! Couey's sister, in whose home the Lunsford attack occurred, told the police that Couey had molested two of her daughters years earlier. Yet not only did she allow him to move in, she helped him try to escape when she heard he was wanted by the police."
    • When Couey wasn't living with his sister Dorothy Dixon and her husband Troy Dixon, was he in Georgia, as Gene Secord claimed?
    • Regina Armstrong disappearance - in 1985 from Orlando FL
      • Couey was considered a suspect in this case, but he denied it when questioned by Citrus County authorities interrogating him about Jessica Lunsford, and he was subsequently dismissed as a suspect. It has been noticed that he bears physical similarities to the sketch of the abductor. According to Chris Dahl, Couey had a "tattoo of a zodiac sign on his left forearm, the sign of Leo", which matches Regina's abductor having a tattoo on his left forearm.
      • Morbidology, "The Unsolved Murder Of Regina Mae Armstrong", 2018/05/05
        • "In addition to the missing person posters, a composite sketch of the abductor was generated. He was described as a white male of approximately six feet tall with a medium build and dark hair. He was estimated to be between 37 and 40-years-old and was wearing a plaid shirt, faded jeans, and a gold watch with Roman numerals. His upper lip had been split as if he had recently been in a fight and he was missing two teeth on one side of his mouth. On his left forearm, he had a tattoo. “He smelled oily, like he worked for a mechanic or on cars. He didn’t seem like a normal guy,” recalled Christina.3

          She also recollected that he smelt of alcohol. Shortly after the composite sketches flashed across television screens state-wide, a 7-year-old girl from Cocoa Beach told her father she had some important news to share. She was adamant that this was the same man who had attempted to abduct her from their home just days before Regina was abducted. As the young girl, Erin, had been sleeping, a man crept into her bedroom after pryig loose a screen and unlocking the bedroom. The man attempted to lift Erin out of the window. Her 9-year-old sister, Elisa, awoke and started screaming to alert their parents. When he heard the child screaming, the kidnapper dropped Erin on the grass outside and sprinted away. Police also started to investigate whether it was the same man who abducted a 9-year-old girl on her way home from school on the 7th of June and raped and abandoned her in St. Augustine."
        • "Many tips of reported sightings of Regina and her abductor were also logged. Towards the end of June a call came in from Jeff Smith, an assistant manager at Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken at 45 N. Orange Blossom Trail. He told police that a man who looked exactly like the composite sketch of the abductor had come into the restaurant with a can of ravioli and asked the cashier to open it. Smith glanced at the man and then glanced towards the poster of the composite that was hanging in the restaurant. “It was the exact same man,” he contended. As he called the police, the man swiftly made an exit and was followed by two teenage boys who had witnessed the entire event unfold. The suspicious patron got into a brown car and sped off."
        • "Shortly afterwards, police received a phone call from a maid who worked in a small hotel on U.S. Highway 192. She said two men had checked into the hotel with a small girl. She told police she believed that one of the men looked like the suspect in the abduction of Regina. When police checked the room, nobody was there. However, they found Regina’s missing person poster torn to pieces. While these sightings had given some hope, feelings around the police department were mixed. Some officers believed that the resemblance is more than coincidental while others said that publicity on the case was leading people to believe they’ve spotted Regina’s abductor when they hadn’t. The joy Bob and Donna had felt from the recent sightings was short-lived, however, when Regina wasn’t found."
        • "In September of 1987, a child’s skull and dress were discovered in a construction site in Oviedo. Despite the extensive coverage the abduction of Regina received, Oviedo police did not connect the finding with the abduction and wouldn’t do so for another year when a new police chief, Dennis Peterson, took over and noticed that the dress found matched the description of Regina’s dress. “I don’t see how the skull of a small child can be found and a dress can be put in a locker and no one say anything about it,” he said in disgust. In fact, Bob and Donna didn’t even find out about the discovery and possible connection to Regina until they saw it on television. City officials were horrified to discover that their own police lockers contained the human remains of one of the most highly publicized disappearances in Central Florida history. Former Oviedo Chief R. Wade Hancock had placed the skull and dress into an evidence locker and didn’t think to notify a statewide hotline for missing persons about the remains. He didn’t think to alert Orlando investigators. He didn’t think to try and figure out who the skull belonged to. Hancock had been fired last October after he botched two murder investigations, arrived two and a half hours late to a drug raid and falsified time sheets."
  • Early stories on Couey
    • CNN, "'Person of interest' sought in Florida missing girl case", 2005/03/15: "Police in Citrus County, Florida, are looking for a man they are calling a "person of interest" in the case of a missing 9-year-old Homosassa girl, the sheriff's department said Tuesday. Sheriff Jeff Dawsy told reporters at a news conference that the person is part of Jessica Lunsford's family, social, school or church circles and may have come into contact with her before she disappeared. [...] The man has a criminal history, Dawsy said. The sheriff added that he thinks he knows where the man is, but would not identify his location other than to say it is outside of Florida. [...] When asked if the man was among the 20 registered sex offenders in Citrus County, Dawsy replied, "Not in that general area."" - the suspect is not a sex offender in Citrus County (and Couey was, but the records may have been lost) and is in the Lunsford social circle (which Dawsy later denied Couey was), but is outside the state (like Couey was at that time)
    • Orlando Sentinel, "'PERSON OF INTEREST' SOUGHT IN VANISHING", 2005/03/16: "Detectives are looking for a man they consider a "person of interest" in the disappearance of 9-year-old Jessica Marie "Jessie" Lunsford, Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Tuesday. Dawsy said the man, who is from the Citrus County area, left the region less than two weeks ago. Investigators did not disclose his identity or where they think he is because they do not want him to flee. The man has not been questioned by investigators and is called a "person of interest" based on interviews of people who live in the area, Dawsy said. "We had several leads that led to him," Dawsy said at a news conference. The sheriff would not say how the man might know Jessie, other than that he fits in one of the four categories of family, social, school or church. "I think he knows we want to question him," Dawsy said."
    • CNN, "Suspect in 9-year-old's death booked into Florida jail", 2005/03/20
    • CNN, "Drifter says he held girl three days", 2005/06/24
  • Public suspicions about the case
  • Allegations of being a mule for Coggins
    • 2013/07/09 - Topix post: "he is a retard probably acquainted with some of the booshwhackers old pedophile cronies that step and fetch the victims when some of their sick arse friends orders one. that is what John Couey done for them at the Coggins Farms in Valdosta. Couey's sister was married to a nephew of General Richard Secord That's why his family was protected and he died suddenly of the Bush disease. This might even be the Secord guy they lived down around Citrus County somewhere. no matter what their chets on the streets."
    • 2013/08/12 - Topix post: "Couey was involved in the Coggins Farms, Valdosta, Ga. pedophile farms that was furnishing children for sex to the political criminals."
    • 2014/03/13 - Topix post: "maybe this old reprobate was involved with John Couey in the Coggins Farms pedophile ring. remember the fifth circus state attorney bradley eugene king refused to prosecute couey's sister and brother in law and all. bill o'rielly and the state rep at the time was all up in king's face until they found out couey's sister was married to some dude named secord that was kin to richard secord of iran-contra fame. then they made it all go away including john couey. anyone can check out these truths the documents are on line at the end of a google search."
    • 2014/04/23 - Ocala Post comment: "Funny, John Couey said the same thing Couey said he begged the system for help. If someone had listened to him Jessica Lunsford might still be alive today. Instead, she is dead, she has a law named for her which no one enforces. Revelations come to light that John Couey was involved in the Coggin's Farms pedophile operations in Valdosta, Ga. Couey started running his mouth on death row to some journalist named Chris Dahl - next thing we know Couey was dead of cancer. Even Mark Lunsford said he didn't know Couey had any cancer!"
    • 2015/07/22 - Right Side of the Lake comment: "Jessica’s Law was named after Jessica Lunsford the Citrus County girl who was murdered [Raped and buried alive] by John Couey a sex offender living in her neighborhood. The Sheriff at the time was Jeffrey Dawsey! O’Reilly’s crew traveled to Homosassa, Citrus County Florida and Florida’s Fifth Judicial Circuit to confront State Attorney Bradley Eugene King as to why he did not prosecute Couey’s sister and her husband and another couple living in the small trailer and present when local deputy sheriff’s knocked on the door looking for Jessica – the trailer so small they had to know John Couey had her in the closet! Later interested parties would find out – Couey’s sister was married to the nephew of Iran-Contra General Richard Secord. They would also find out that Couey was “a mule” at the Republican’s Coggins Farms pedophile organization near Valdosta, Georgia where FDOT Inspector General Raymond Lemme was found dead under suspicious circumstances while investigating voting fraud scams and the child trafficking by the dark siders. John Couey was tried and convicted and died of suspicious circumstances on death row."
    • 2016/02/24 - Topix Post: "Child Killer John ("Johnny") Couey connected to Rep Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss; Florida’s Tom Feeney and Jeb Bush- Then, you have the free as a bird unregistered sex offender John Couey in Citrus County, Couey was a mule for the Coggins Farms (pedophile operation) in Valdosta, Ga. His jobs included securing social security numbers for thousands of alien children being warehoused there and finding other children to be trafficked by these perverts. SA Brad King refused to prosecute John Couey’s sister Maddie Secord, her husband and another couple living in the tiny trailer with Couey for anything. Why? When the Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputies come to the door in search of Jessica Lunsford she was still alive and in the tiny closet! They could have saved her life, but they didn’t! Why didn’t Brad King prosecute them” Because Maddie’s husband was the nephew of Iran-Contra General Richard Secord, that’ why!"
    • 2016/03/13 - Topix Post: "Gary Borders little groomed groomer Tyler Anthony Jackson was never arrested by Borders. He was protected by these perverts just like John Couey was protected by the same perverts. Then when he got caught with Jessica Lunsford and people found out he was a mule for the GOP'ers that run the Coggins Farms pedophile facilities in Lake Park, Ga. they had to make him go away. What will happen when Border little victim Tyler commits the ultimate act? Who in hell will be responsible for the death of that child?"
    • 2016/06/19 - Topix Post: "Dennis Baxley takes the Frank Constantino Award from Bridges of America and can not figure out why the criminals don't prosecute the rapists, don't register them and put them away under the Jimmy Ryce law. Guess he's also too stupid to realize they don't use Jessica's Law either - because John Couey was a mule for this gang that run the Coggins Farms GOPer pedophile farms in Valdosta - got caught with Jessica while awaiting someone to pick her up and deliver her to Valdosta. Of course sine one of his house partners was Gene Secord nephew of infamous Iran-Contra General Richard Secord - the Nazi puppet persecutor could not persecute his own gang members."
    • 2016/09/02 - Topix Post: "Clint Curtis and FDOT IG Investigator Ray Lemme shared information and Lemme was working on the Bush connections to the vote RIGGING as well as the John Couey connections to the GOP Bush Gang's Coggins Farms pedophile operations. Couey was a mule for Coggins and Jessica Lunsford was supposed to be picked up before the cops come to his tailer looking for her and things went really bad. that's why Couey was short lived on death row.. Lemme was lured to Valdosta, Ga near the Coggins Farms location and decided to commit suicide while he was there . Much info available about Lemme on the internet. His wife was employed at Holland and Knight and they shut her up QUICK."
  • Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, in and for Citrus County, Florida, case no. 2005-298-CF: John Evander Couey v. State of Florida
  • Supreme Court of Florida, case no. SC07-1636: John Evander Couey v. State of Florida
  • Initial search efforts
    • Tampa Bay Times, "Searchers tighten hunt for 9-year-old girl", 2005/03/01: "After hundreds of people have spent five fruitless days hunting for clues to explain the disappearance of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford from her home last week, Citrus County's sheriff said Monday that he is narrowing the search. Jeff Dawsy said that starting today, expert search teams will scour an area covering a three-quarter mile radius around the girl's home on Sonata Avenue. The search teams are organized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and are trained in what the Dawsy described as "clue detection." The new group of about 20 searchers will use dogs and also be be paired with Citrus deputies. [...] A group of friends of the family has helped put together a Web site: www.jessicamarielunsford.com." - by this point, Jessica's body would have been buried near the Dixon trailer if the official story about Couey is accurate, and thus it should have been found in this search, but it was not
  • Early suspicion of the Lunsford family
    • WTVY, "Amber Alert Jessica Lunsford", 2005/02/25: "She lives with her father and grandparents and police say there was no sign of forced entry into their home." - if there was no sign of forced entry, the L-shape cut in the screen door was irrelevant
    • "Search Continues For Missing 9-Year-Old", 2005/02/26: "Police say there appears to be no evidence of forced entry into the residence, according to a sheriff's office spokeswoman."
    • Gainesville Sun, "Officials suspend the search for missing Homosassa girl", 2005/03/01: "But late Monday afternoon, Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy told reporters he has suspended the full-scale search, and he expressed frustration it uncovered little evidence. He said nothing suspicious was found on the family’s computer and Lunsford and his father, Archie Lunsford, had passed FBI tests that measure changes in voice stress levels as a way of verifying whether a person is telling the truth. Mark Lunsford, Dawsy added, also passed an FBI polygraph test."
    • Tampa Bay Times, "Rumors fly as Citrus County girl stays missing", 2005/03/05: "Citrus Sheriff Jeff Dawsy on Friday dispelled rampant rumors about the Jessica Lunsford case, saying authorities had not found the 9-year-old girl or arrested anyone in connection with her disappearance. But Dawsy did confirm one rumor: Jessica's paternal grandfather has a criminal record. Then, hours later, his agency said Jessica's father also had a record. [...] Jessica's father was arrested on charges of assault on a woman in November 1999 and May 2000 in Gaston County, N.C. Both charges eventually were dismissed. Jessica's grandfather, Archie Lunsford, has three arrests dating back 50 years in Indiana and Florida."
    • South Florida Sun Sentinel, "Girl's grandfather admits charges from 1950s", 2005/03/05
    • Orlando Sentinel, "OLD CHARGES ARISE IN SEARCH", 2005/03/05
    • Tampa Bay Times, "Old cases dog family that wants to refocus", 2005/03/08 (pages 1, 3): "During a news conference Friday, Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Archie Lunsford, 72, had three arrests in his past. * Indianapolis in 1954 on a prekidnapping charge. The sheriff said it was unclear what that charge describes. * Indianapolis in 1958 on charges of assault and battery. * Titusville in 1959 on a charge of attempted rape. The woman didn't show up for court, the sheriff said. [...] Investigators knew about Lunsford's record almost immediately after they began investigating Jessica's disappearance. But Dawsy said the grandfather didn't disclose the charges until they confronted him. When he did come forward, Dawsy said, Lunsford tried to diminish the charges. On Monday, Lunsford said that wasn't true. He said he told detectives everything about his past on Feb. 24, the first day Jessica was missing [...]"
    • Tampa Bay Times, "Father proceeds in search for girl", 2005/03/11: "Lunsford has gone over multiple scenarios in his mind since her disappearance. He's asked himself the same questions, again and again. The front door was locked, but was it closed all the way? Why didn't the dog bark if an intruder was inside? Why aren't there any signs of a forced entry? [...] The thing he misses most about his daughter are the small, intimate things. "I don't get my hugs and kisses," he said. "Can you imagine not getting that from your kid?""
    • CNN, "'Person of interest' sought in Florida missing girl case", 2005/03/15: "Police also announced that a polygraph test given to the girl's grandmother, Ruth Lunsford, 73, on March 4 included two responses that "raised red flags" for investigators. Dawsy said that her answers could have been affected by stress and that the FBI interviewed her again on Monday. "We have totally not been able to rectify any of those answers she gave on why we got this type of response," he said. Polygraphs given to the girl's father, Mark Lunsford, and her grandfather, Archie Lunsford, 72, by the FBI raised no immediate concerns to investigators. [...] There was no sign of forced entry at the home, and the girl's room was extremely clean, the sheriff said at the time. However, he said the front door of the home was unlocked. The sheriff said the only thing missing from the girl's room was a doll, which he would not describe."
    • Associated Press, "Person of Interest Sought in Lunsford Case", 2005/03/16: "A statement issued earlier Tuesday by the sheriff said that "red flags" were raised in an FBI polygraph test given March 4 to the girl's grandmother, Ruth Lunsford, regarding two of her responses. But investigators were unable to determine what, if anything, she might know about Jessica's disappearance, the sheriff said. "I'm not sure it wasn't stress-induced," Dawsy said. "We have totally not been able to rectify one of the answers she gave or why we got this type of response." He declined to elaborate. [...] A 14-member task force is investigating the case, which includes the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hernando County and Citrus County sheriff's office."
    • National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts, "The End of the Polygraph: Computer Voice Stress Analyzer Emerges as Superior Deception Detection Tool", 2014/03/04: "One of the more than 2,000 agencies that have made the switch to the CVSA is the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, Florida. In the very first days of the Jessica Lunsford abduction and murder case, Jessica's father became a suspect. According to retired Citrus County Sheriff's Lt. David Wyllie, then the head of the Special Victims Unit, he requested Jessica's father take a CVSA examination shortly after her disappearance. Jessica's father agreed, and the CVSA cleared him as a suspect. However, investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), a polygraph hold-out organization, decided to conduct a polygraph of the father. The FDLE polygraph results directly contradicted the CVSA results and showed Jessica's father to be "Deceptive" regarding the same issues for which the CVSA examination had cleared him. FBI investigators on the Jessica Lunsford Task Force then requested the father be tested AGAIN by an FBI polygraph examiner. Jessica's father agreed and took an FBI administered polygraph, which was determined to be "Inconclusive" – meaning the polygraph examination was of no investigative value. Based on the conflicting results between the CVSA and the polygraph examinations, Jessica's father was considered 'a person of interest' until the killer, John Couey, was caught and confessed to Jessica's abduction and brutal murder. In the end, the CVSA results were correct and both the FDLE and FBI polygraph tests were wrong."
  • Child porn on Lunsford computer
  • Old Wikipedia revision on 2006/07/11 makes the claims about "prior healed notches" and "clefts and scars": "John Couey related that Jessica did not appear a virgin the first time they had sexual intercourse, stating she did not cry or yell out, and in fact smiled and said it felt like she was having her period.[7] The coroner's report stated that Jessica's vagina showed prior healed notches, clefts and scars in her hymenal remains in a 6, and 12 oclock position that were present before John Couey's rape, though he stated in his court deposition that it could be of natural occurance as well as molestation..[8]"
  • Jessica Lunsford autopsy report (2005/03/19) - no indication of pre-Couey sexual assaults
  • Lunsford family inconsistencies in their depositions
  • Circumstances of Couey's interrogation, including the denial of his right to an attorney
  • Obstruction of justice by Couey's family members
    • Citrus County Chronicle, "Lunsford: Polygraph Couey's housemates", 2005/06/10: "Lunsford, the father of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who investigators say was kidnapped and murdered by Couey, was expressing frustration Thursday that no new charges were filed against Dorothy Dixon, Madie Secord and Matt Dittrich. The three were initially charged with obstruction of justice following Couey's arrest, when investigators say they weren't told he had been living in their house. According to records, Couey, a registered sex offender who was listed with the state's sex offender registry as living at a West Grover Cleveland Boulevard address, was actually living in a mobile home with the others. Investigators say he had not notified authorities of his move, and when they went to the mobile home shortly after Jessica disappeared, they say the three lied. Their charges were eventually dropped by the State Attorney's Office, which said there are no existing laws to press charges in the case, and that there was nothing to suggest the three knew anything about Jessica's disappearance."
  • Bill O'Reilly coverage of the case
    • "'Factor' Exclusive: John Couey's Sister Tracked Down", 2005/04/27 - people in the area were making jokes at a bar about Jessica Lunsford
    • "Botched Investigation?", 2005/06/27
    • "John Couey writes to the Factor", 2005/08/18: "Florida has released documents relating to the murder of 9-year old Jessica Lunsford, and among the papers is a letter confessed killer John Couey apparently wrote to me but never sent. Here is an excerpt: 'Dear Bill O'Reilly ... there were more than three people in the house at the time. I know one of them knows more than what he is saying.' From the git-go, I knew that the three people living with Couey in the trailer knew a lot more than they told authorities. Before Jessica was buried alive by Couey, she spent a considerable amount of time in his room being sexually abused by him. Anyone in the trailer should have heard something. The fact that prosecutor Brad King hasn't charged Couey's housemates is one of the worst examples of incompetence I have ever seen. Now Couey himself is on record as saying there is more to the murder than the authorities want to tell us." and also gets the opinion of Mark Lunsford attorney Herb Cohen
  • Sex offender information on Couey
  • Ocala Star Banner, "First twist in the Couey case", 2007/02/11: "There is no physical evidence or DNA that shows Couey was in the Lunsford home, and there were no signs of forced entry."
  • Ocala Star Banner, "Medical examiner resigns", 2007/03/24 - Medical examiner who testified in Couey case resigned a day after testifying
  • Ocala Star Banner, "Retardation hearing will examine Couey’s mental state", 2007/07/16: "As a young adult, Couey abused alcohol, tried PCP, LSD, marijuana and other drugs, Berland said at trial. He added that the drugs may have contributed to him being “stupid” and not being able to handle stress."
  • Court TV discussion forum about the case
  • Lawsuit by Mark Lunsford against the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and FDLE
  • Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation controversy
  • Articles on Couey's death
  • Background of Chris Dahl
    • Twisted Minds, "Meet The Devil – Loran Cole’s Story From Death Row", 2012/03/05: "I like my topics bloody and bold, so i turned to Death Row. There was an infamous kidnapper-murderer who lived just a bit north of me named John Couey. I wrote to him on Death Row with no intention of getting a response — but he write back. There’s a weird energy to a letter that’s been in the bowels of a prison, especially Death Row. After three letters, he swore to tell me all about his case and how messed it had been by the police. This set off all kinds of bells and whistles with the authorities, so he died of “natural causes” a few weeks later. Fishy? I decided to randomly write to other inmates on Death Row to find out what actually happened to Couey — no one would say a word out of fear of retribution.But I happened to connect with the Mayor of Death Row and he hooked me up with the guys I wrote about. So, one thing kind of led to another. Each letter I received was shocking and gruesome, but ultimately fascinating. The books grew out of that fascination."
    • Book Club Radio Program Podcast, "Chris Dahl, author of "Deathrow Stories"", 2012/07/19
    • Chris Dahl, "Walking Down Death Row", 2012/09/08: "I wrote to my first Death Row inmate because I was looking for an interesting story. I chose to contact John Couey because of the infamy of his crime and how he was publicly reviled as a “devil.” His image—a small, shrunken looking fellow who looked older than his forty-or-so years—was splashed across the local and national newspapers after his arrest. In those photographs, Couey seemed to be far from the brutal looking Death Row type I had always imagined inhabited those 6-by-9 cells. He was, however, a fascinating subject for a book: deep, twisted, complex, and conflicted. So, I sent off a short letter.

      Ironically, Couey responded by telling me how rude I was for writing to him and not introducing myself properly. How did he know who I was? How did he know if I was connected with some police department?

      [...]

      Couey died of supposedly natural causes (which is another story for another time) before I could get his whole story. But I did end up with new pen-pals, thanks to the connection I made with a guy I call the Mayor of Death Row, Richard Shere.

      Shere led me to meet Robert “Saint” Bailey, a guy who was down on his luck and who had no support from the outside. Shere assured me Bailey had a story to tell. After a life of felony robberies, drug dealing, and “gang-banging” for the Simon City Royals gang, Bailey ended up in Panama City Beach, Florida, on Easter Sunday. He claimed he had “given up on life itself” and did not care about “doing good.” So when the police officer who had pulled him over approached his car, Bailey told his passenger he was going to “pop this cop.” And he did, killing the officer. So, “Saint” was sent to Death Row."
    • Morgan Bailey, "Author interview with true crime writer Chris Dahl", 2013/02/15
    • Shah Fazli, "Chris Dahl", 2013/05/13: "first of all there is the guy here in florida on death row who claims to have killed the nephew of senator john edwards and to have raped his niece. but then there's the story of john couey who abducted an raped jessica lunsford, which led to national child protection laws and whatnot. i had to drop that investigation because supposedly "died of natural causes" on death row after swearing he would tell me everything about his case. that was fishy, but then no one was allowed to talk to me about the case. no cops, detectives -- no one. one guy contacts me and convinces me to meet him in his jurisdiction one night at a restaurant, supposedly to tell me the real story. turns out i walked right into a hive of police. the whole lace was full of police. they wanted to know what i knew about the case, because it was a really botched, controversial case, so they were checking me out. i haven't gotten back to that project for obvious reasons, even though there's some pretty wild stuff in it.." and "it was pretty intense. i drove 92 miles home shaking my head and saying, "nah, that couldn't have been a sting. no way." the guy friended me on facebook that week."
  • Death row letter from Robert "Saint" Bailey to Chris Dahl, 2010/08/28
  • Interview with Gary Atchison on 2017/10/13 (TODO: Finish transcription)
  • St. Petersburg Times, "Bush: No probe of King required", 2000/08/03 - drug scandal involving Brad King's office
  • Contact info for Mark Lunsford: mrklnsfrd AT yahoo.com
  • Contact info for Steven Charles Cogswell - phone might be (352) 324-3655, and according to The Daily Times, Cogswell was deputy chief medical examiner for the Hamilton County Forensic Center (in Tennessee) as far back as 2016
  • Contact info for Gene Allan Secord - phone numbers include (727) 945-4578 and (352) 228-7614 and (727) 485-5595
  • Was the SAC of the FBI office responsible for investigating the Couey case Matt Pellegrino, an agent also involved in the Finders investigation? According to a group called "Concerned Americans" looking into Ray Lemme's death, criminal misconduct by Matt Pellegrino may have been involved in the cover-up of Lemme's murder and the circumstances behind it.
  • Other assorted theories and speculation
    • CHOLLA in a 2005/03/20 Free Republic post argues that Couey was the fall guy for a Satanic murder: "I dont believe that COUEY killed JESSICA.. i have researched the reports about his past.. he was an EXPOSER.. and fondled a child.. never harmed any child.. except for exposing himself.. it is illogical that he would kill her.. also, that the dogs that did an intensive search previously around her house and neighborhood found NOTHING.. then all of a sudden her body turns up 150 yards away.. I GUARANTEE DOGS ARE NOT THAT DUMB ABOUT SMELLS>> 150 yards away.. so we have a probable SATANIC KILLING with several more people involved in her abduction.. also FREEINTERNET PRESS has more on this.. [...] Dear Curly.. and group.. there is absolutely NO WAY THOSE HIGHLY TRAINED DOGS MISSED SMELLING HER BODY ONLY 150 yards from her house.. she was abducted by the SATANIC ILLUMINAZI and JOhn was probably one of their soldiers ready to take the TEMPORARY FALL.. I DOUBT HE WILL BE IN PRISON LONG.. AS THEY USUALLY LET THESE PEDOPHILES OUT TO COVER THE STORIES.."
    • Konspiracy Brotha News, "John Couey Scape Goat For International Pedophile Ring", 2005/04/02: "John Couey is not guilty of killing Jessica Lunsford. He was set up by a world wide pedophile organization. They brainwashed him and set him up to take the fall for the death of the 9-year-old child. Couey was mind-controlled and programmed to go into meltdown when Sheriff Dawsey uttered the phrase "there are some red flags," a typical trigger phrase for brainwashed subjects.The only reason he knew where to find the body was because he was programmed to know where little Jessica would be. These pedophile organizations target small towns where people still leave their doors open. Couey just didn't have the wherewithal to go in that trailer and pick that young girl up and take her out.They said Couey confessed but where are the results of the lie detector test? He was just a convenient perp as a so-called child molester which he wasn't.Just another set up from your local authorities! John Couey is innocent."
    • Konspiracy Brotha News, "John Couey Update: He didn't Kill Jessica Lunsford!", 2005/10/03 - asserts that Couey was a fall guy for a Satanic group that murdered Jessica and planted the body: "Today.. it seems most likely that 9 year old JESSICA LUNSFORD was also abducted and killed for the BLACK OPERATIONS OF A GROUP OF SATANISTS AND PEDOPHILES SO EVIL IT IS DIFFICULT FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON TO EVEN IMAGINE THEY EXIST and yet they DO EXIST! JOHN COUEY is to be the cover for the group that actually killed Jessica.. he may have been part of the group that abducted her, but he was not the ULTIMATE PERPETRATOR of the CRIME of MURDER... this is a small paragraph about his former criminal behavior.. one example that he was .. not a murderer of children.. but he was a pedophile and excellent cover for those who did MURDER JESSICA.."
    • "Kiya" on her Illuminati Pedophile Ring blog claims that Jessica Lunsford was killed by a Satanic cult with Couey as a mind-controlled patsy
    • p.163 of Prosecution for TREASON: Epidemics, Weather War, Mind Control, and the Surrender of Sovereignty by Mary Maxwell includes "John Couey (death of Jessica) Died in jail awaiting appeal, age 54" on its list of programmed killers or patsies (see Programmed to Kill by Dave McGowan and the Serial killers page for many more such examples), saying that "Note: to read the transcripts of these cases is to see that the authorities ‘knew.’"
    • Comment by RKae on a 2010 discussion about Mark Lunsford also labels Jessica's death a Satanic murder: "Jessica Lunsford (according to my wacky theory) was not killed by “a sex offender.” She was murdered in a Satanic ritual involving many people. Burying alive (which is how she was killed) is a regular part of a ritual intended to crack the child victim’s psyche to create dissociative identity disorder, thus allowing control over the child. Yes, John Couey was involved, but he was merely the fall-guy for the others in the cult who got off scott free. Mark my words: the truth WILL come out on this someday. [...] See my comment below. If he’s [Mark Lunsford] as dirt-baggy as you say, he might be involved. Parents often are. Satanism is a multi-generational affair."
    • In a 2014 comment on the Youtube video "in memory of all murdered children" (uploaded 2007/08/08), Ulysses North commented "John Couey was innocent"
    • 2015/05/17 comment by RKae on an aangirfan post reiterates their theory: "Buried alive is a common method used on children to crack their minds and create alters. Billy Milligan (a famous multiple personality case) revealed that he used to be buried alive with only a pipe to breathe through. I've long suspected that the death of Jessica Lunsford was a case of a "family" (cult) putting their child through the initiation rite (mind-breaking exercise) of live burial, but it went haywire and she died, so they blamed it on John Couey, the mentally deficient scapegoat."
  • humanrights-monitor.org is a very strange website that has the text "John Couey, the murderer of Jessica Lunsford was involved with Coggins Farms" among a bunch of unrelated and nonsensical pieces of information
  • List of Florida state attorney's office information for 2005-2006 (mentions Brad King and his office, Nelson Zalva, and others)

Sex offender stats

Investigative leads

  • John Couey case
    • Did Egypt have his death sentence commuted after Couey's death? If so, when and by whom? For that matter, what is Egypt's real identity?
    • What was the result of Couey's FBI polygraph that was administered just before his second interrogation? In that interrogation, he said he didn't want to know the polygraph results and then confessed to abducting and murdering Jessica.
    • Why was Mark Lunsford discharged early from the Army, and why was he so evasive on the issue?
    • What was the nature of Archie Lunsford's rape charge from the 1960s, the information of which was sketchy?
    • Did Jessica suffer prior abuse from before Couey raped her, or is that a lie promoted by Couey as well as David Stodghill?
    • Why did Citrus County authorities fail to find Jessica's body until after Couey confessed, despite having already searched the area? Was the body planted to incriminate Couey, or (as Mark Lunsford maintained in a lawsuit) did police improperly call off the search dogs when they were about to locate Jessica?
    • Can Couey be connected to sex trafficking in Georgia? According to Gene Secord, whenever Couey wasn't living with his relatives in Florida he was in Georgia, and this should be possible to verify.