Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Elaine Parent

Real Name: Elaine Antionette Parent
Aliases: Alice, Sylvia Hodgkinson
Wanted For: Murder, Fraud
Missing Since: March 1991


Details: Authorities are searching for the "Chameleon Killer" Elaine Antionette Parent, suspected in the murder of thirty-four-year-old bank clerk Beverly McGowan. In early July 1990, Beverly began advertising for a roommate to live with her in her Pompono Beach condo. She soon found a potential roommate, a British woman named Alice. Alice drove a nice car and appeared to be a successful career woman. The two also shared an interest in the New Age movement, particularly numerology.
Alice agreed to do a chart for Beverly, using numbers from her personal life. She soon asked for her passport number and birth certificate information. After the chart was completed, Alice told her that she would find true romance and accumulate great wealth. However, she also claimed that a man and a woman that were close to her would deceive and hurt her.
On July 17, a few days after Alice moved in, Beverly vanished from her Florida condo. On July 19, several of her friends and family received letters from her, claiming that she had sold her condo and was planning to start a new life. Her loved ones, however, were suspicious. Her brother and sister went to her condo. Her car was gone, the phone was disconnected, and she had not been seen at work in two days. Her nightgown was on the bed, which had not been made. It appeared that she had just left, planning to come back. Other than her car, the only things missing were her two cats, address book, birth certificate, and passport. They later learned that she had sent a telegram to her mortgage company, authorizing them to foreclose on her condo and dispose of her personal belongings.
On the same day that her family and friends received letters from her, Beverly's mutilated body was discovered. She had been dumped in a remote canal in Southern Florida, one-hundred miles from her home. Her throat had been slit. Her killer had removed a portion of her head and her hands. They also cut off a tattoo on her abdomen to delay identification. However, they missed a second tattoo of a flower on her ankle. Dental records positively identified her body. Police were confused by the letters that she had sent to her family and friends. They were written in her handwriting and there appeared to be no evidence that she was forced to write them. Police immediately set their suspicion on her new roommate, Alice, who was seen using Beverly's credit cards after the murder. She also apparently used Beverly's identity to escape to England, purchasing a ticket for British Airways Flight 292.
After the murder, a man posing as Beverly also used her credit card to reserve a rental car at London's Heathrow Airport. The man later picked up a car at Heathrow, using Beverly's name. When Beverly's car was found two days later, wig hairs were found inside. These hairs matched the wig that the man was seen wearing.
After re-checking the British Airways Flight 292 manifest, authorities discovered that "Alice" had used the name Sylvia Ann Hodgkinson to purchase her tickets. Through this name, authorities were able to identify "Alice" as a con artist named Elaine Antoinette Parent. Parent had previously been acquainted with Hodgkinson and had stolen her identity. In May 1991, she was arrested while holding identification for both Hodgkinson and another woman. However, she was released without charge. Forensic evidence in Beverly's car and handwriting on a tablet in her condo was also linked to Parent. However, with the help of her multiple aliases, she remains at large.
Extra Notes: The case was originally featured as a part of the November 13, 1991 episode. It was later updated to indicate the identity of Parent and her status as a wanted fugitive. The case was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted during the investigation documented on an episode of Swamp Murders after it was resolved.
Results: Captured. On April 6, 2002, Parent was located in Panama City, Florida after her case was aired on America's Most Wanted that night, and as the police allowed her to change clothes, she avoided capture and took her life with a .357 Magnum to the heart. Although this might be of great closure to Beverly's family, it left many secrets of her bizarre lifestyle and criminal career unanswered.