Police used mobile phone data to link a convicted serial killer already doing 160 years behind bars for the murder of three young girls to the death of a missing 15-year-old New Jersey teenager.
Using mobile phone data and location records, convicted serial killer Khalil A. Wheeler was tied to a fourth killing of a 15-year-old girl he met online and strangled in a vacant apartment behind a funeral home in 2016.
According to investigators, Wheeler strangled Mawa Doumbia in October 2016 after arranging to meet the Newark teen and taking her to “the second-floor of a decrepit carriage house” behind a funeral home in Orange, according to an affidavit filed by detectives in support of the new murder charge.
Doumbia had been reported missing by her father and sister, who last saw her alive on Oct. 7, 2016, when she left the family’s apartment in Newark, police said. She remained missing until a worker at the funeral home discovered the remains on Apr. 9, 2019.
The ground floor of the carriage house had been used for storage, and the second-floor apartment “had not been used or accessed with permission for years,” authorities said. The decomposed remains were identified as Doumbia six months later, in November 2019.
By then, Wheeler-Weaver was on trial for three counts of murder and an attempted murder charge. He was convicted on Dec. 19, 2019, after a nearly two-month trial in the killings of Sarah Butler, 20, Robin West, 19, and Joanne Brown, 33.
Their bodies were found in abandoned homes in Orange and Essex County’s 400-acre Eagle Rock Reservation park between August 2016 and November 2016. He was also convicted of raping, binding, and strangling another woman, who escaped and testified at his trial.
The killing of Doumbia falls in the middle of that violent span of attacks, authorities said. She was strangled, as were the three other women Wheeler has been convicted of killing, authorities said.
The latest murder charge was filed last week.
Google location records for Wheeler revealed that his mobile device traveled to the area of Doumbia’s home and “then proceeded directly to the area (where her) remains were later recovered,” authorities said.
Wheeler has continued to maintain his innocence in the killing spree. When he was sentenced in October to 160 years in prison, he contended he was set up and framed by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
“My heart goes out to the families,” Weaver said at the sentencing. “However, I was not the person who committed these crimes.”
The one woman who survived his attacks, however, said at the same hearing that she was 100% certain he was the man who nearly killed her.
Prosecutors said last year they were still investigating potential other victims.