Watts termed prime suspect in 1981 slaying of Flint woman
By STEPHEN CAIN
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Confessed mass murderer Coral Eugene Watts may have added a Flint area woman to his growing list of victims only days before fleeing Michigan to Texas last year.
She is SaRae McDaniels, 18, of Davison, who received multiple non-fatal stab wounds and then was forcibly drowned in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, March 1,1981.
Watts, an Inkster and Detroit resident who frequently traveled 200 to 300 miles a night, had been the target of intense surveillance led by the Ann Arbor Police between Nov. 29, 1980, and Jan. 29, 1981. He left for the Houston area on March 10, nine days after the McDaniels killing.
FLINT POLICE Homicide Lt. William Kontyko said two early morning joggers in Burroughs Park found the attractive teenager’s body floating in Gilkey Creek near the 1-69 Freeway on the outskirts of Flint.
“Watts is our prime suspect,” said Kontyko, who compared details of the McDaniel killing with Ann Arbor’s three “Sunday Morning Slasher” murders in 1980 and the 11 Houston-Galveston area women Watts has confessed to slaying.
This brings to six the number of Michigan killings outside of Detroit in which the 28-year-old bus mechanic is considered either the prime suspect or the only suspect.
And in Detroit, Deputy Chief Gerald Hale has directed the homicide detectives to review the unsolved killings of more than 100 young women which were committed between 1973 and mid-1981.
Detroit investigators, however, estimated that they will end up with 15 to 20 murders which fit Watts’ general M.O. (method of operation) and cannot be eliminated by other trace evidence, such as blood type or the presence of semen.
IN OTHER developments:
• A Flint woman who moved to Houston a year and a half ago, 22-year-old Jerline Minor, may have been another of Watts’ Texas victims, although her death was not included among the 11 to which he has confessed. Minor was stabbed and strangled in the early morning hours of March 17,1982, less than a week before Watts was arrested.
• Toledo Police homicide detectives are reviewing four Toledo and Lucas County murders as “possibles,” focusing on the stabbing and strangulation killing of 18-year-old Connie Sue Thompson. The Toledo woman was last seen on Sunday, Jan. 4,1981. Her body was discovered Jan. 17.
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Flint Police Department
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Coral Eugene Watts
Connie Sue Thompson