Clark Perry Baldwin, 58, was charged with the early-1990s murders after a relative uploaded DNA to a genealogy site that was similar to the suspect’s profile and later linked to crime scene evidence. Baldwin was a truck driver from the late 80s through the mid-‘90s and was married at the time of the killings.
“After 29 years, you have to think he had certainly thought it was behind him and got away with it,” Brent Cooper, district attorney general of the 22nd Judicial District in Tennessee, told People.
“Investigators went through all the partial matches, and through the process of elimination they ended up with this guy, and started looking into his background,” he said. “He was the correct age range and a former truck driver.”
Investigators followed Baldwin and collected garbage he discarded and swabbed items for DNA.
“There were multiple items we got good DNA from that matched the profile at our murder scenes,” said Cooper.
Pamela McCall, 32, was his first known alleged victim. McCall, who was pregnant at the time of her death, was found strangled in March 1991 in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
“She was last seen at a nearby truck stop a few miles from where she was found,” said Cooper. “She was seen getting into a dark-colored tractor trailer."
A year later, in March 1992, the nude strangled body of a woman was found by a female truck driver near Interstate 80 in southwestern Wyoming. In April of that year, the partially mummified remains of a pregnant woman was discovered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation off of Interstate 90 in northern Wyoming. The identities of both women, believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, remain unknown.
“I think he preyed on young women that frequented truck stops,” said Cooper. “It appeared they would travel with him and then he would end up possibly raping them and then killing them.”
Baldwin had been previously charged in 1991 with raping a 21-year-old hitchhiker at gunpoint in Wheeler County, Texas. The Des Moines Register reports that the victim told police that Baldwin hit her on the head, bound her hands and mouth, and tried to strangle her to death. Baldwin allegedly admitted to the assault, but was released pending grand jury proceedings. According to court documents, the charges were dismissed after the state was unable to locate the victim.
His name also appeared during a 1992 homicide investigation in Iowa. Court documents say that his ex-wife told police at the time that Baldwin once bragged about “killing a girl out West by strangulation and throwing her out of his truck."
Cooper believes there could be more victims, and police are investigating whether Baldwin had a role in other unsolved killings from that era.
“We certainly think it is a possibility,” he said. “We are certainly going to try and see if we can uncover any that are related to him. He traveled all over the country. It is an occupation that would make it easier to hide your actions. If you are gone all the time from home you won’t raise any suspicion with your family.”
Baldwin, who was arrested at his home in Waterloo, Iowa, has been charged in Tennessee with two counts of first-degree murder in the killing of McCall and her fetus, the Associated Press reports. In Wyoming, he is charged in the deaths of the two unidentified women whose bodies were found in 1992.