20 Years Later, River Valley Serial Killer Makes Headlines Again

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It’s been more than 20-years since a River Valley serial killer murdered two women and raped a 16-year-old girl.

Charles Ray Vines was convicted on two capital murder charges, in Sebastian and Crawford county. Vines’ crimes are now the focus of a national TV show.

Jay Rider, Former Captain, Fort Smith Police Department said, “From the aspect of what was done with the victims, it was probably one of the most horrific homicides I ever worked.”

It’s the type of case Rider said he’ll never forget.

“It was a really horrific crime scene. There was blood in every place. In the living room, the attacker had kicked the door in. The door frame shattered all over the room,” Rider explained. “Clearly she had a violent confrontation. You could see defense marks all over her hands and arms. Stab wounds to the head, and torso.” 

Vines murdered and raped two elderly women, Juanita Wofford in 1993, and Ruth Henderson in 1995. Several years later, in 2000, Vines attempted to murder a 16-year-old girl.
 
“You could almost take the crime scene photos, and over lap them and see the similarities.”
 
Rider then started working with the Crawford County Sheriff’s office. “The fact that there we had two murders in a small area like this it was really frustrating. We followed up on every lead that we could,” said Rider.
 
After the 1995 murder, the case went cold.
 
“It wasn’t until about 5 years later after the Henderson murder, that the young lady was attacked in her home,” said Rider.
 
The third known attack led to Vines’ arrest.
 
“The step dad found him on top of the young girl, and tried beating him to death,” said Rider. “A deputy arrived before he could finish the job. The step father was trying to extract justice right there.” 
 
The DNA from the first two cases, a perfect match with the DNA evidence found in the final crime scene. 
 
“To me personally, it was just a real relief. I was feeling good about preserving and staying with the case that long,” said Rider.
 
A year after the arrest, Vines agreed to sit down with Rider. For 5 days, and 8 hours at a time. KNWA asked what it was like speaking with a serial killer in depth and his immediate response,  “I don’t know if you would want to put it on the local news.” 
 
“It was very trying sitting there discussing things people shouldn’t have to discuss,” said Rider.
 
More than two decades later, Rider said he understands the intrigue in Vines’ case. 
 
“You just don’t run into that level of violence everyday. And in fact that was probably a once in a lifetime, once in a career type investigation,” explained Rider.
 
The documentary on Vines is the first episode in a series of shows about serial killers. It airs Wednesday night on the ID channel at 9 p.m. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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