The Daughter’s Torso Sat on the Edge of the Bed While Her Decapitated Head Laid on a Shelf Looking Down at Her Torso

The psycho who inspired Scream

Christa Hoyt — image from thescarechamber

If a killer threatens to kill you if you scream, then go ahead and scream. Mature audiences only.

It was in the early morning hours.

The police received a call from the sheriff’s office to do a welfare check on their employee, Christa.

Christa was found sitting in a hunched position on the edge of her bed. She had stab marks everywhere.

Christa’s decapitated head was on the shelf on the side of the bed. It looked down on her body.

Christa Was Eighteen

Christa Hoyt — image from thescarechamber

Christa Hoyt was an eighteen-year-old Santa Fe College student in Gainesville, Florida.

Christa dreamt of working in forensics with the FBI. So she got a part-time job at the sheriff’s office. Christa was committed to her job. She never missed a day of work.

At one point, Christa went to work an hour after she got her wisdom tooth out. However, on 25 August 1990, Christa didn’t show up for work. And everyone at the sheriff’s office was worried about her.

They called the police department in the early hours of the next day to do a welfare check on Christa. The police knocked on Christa’s door, but no one answered.

They soon found Christa sitting on the edge of her bed. She was a little hunched over. She was naked. She had stab marks all over her body. Her head was positioned on a shelf in such a way it looked down on her torso.

There were marks on the door frame where the attacker had likely used a screwdriver to open the door. Duct tape residue was also found on Christa’s wrists.

It was later determined that Christa was sexually assaulted before she was murdered.

Christina and Sonja Were Murdered

Christina and Sonja — image from thescarechamber

A few hours later, two seventeen-year-old university freshmen, Sonja Larson, and Christina Powell, were found dead.

Christina was so excited after she was accepted into the University of Florida.

She decided to share an apartment with Sonja. The two met over the summer when they took some classes together.

Christina and Sonja settled into their apartment in Gainesville. Then Christina called her parents and promised to call again the next day. But she never did.

Christina’s parents made their way to her apartment.

There were handwritten notes taped all over the front door from Christina and Sonja’s friends. The friends had come over, but the roommates didn’t answer the door. Meanwhile, Christina and Sonja’s door was locked.

Christina’s parents asked the school authorities to open the door for them. The police were also called.

The Roommates Were Naked And Stabbed

A few minutes later, Christina was found lying on the floor in front of the couch. She was naked and stabbed all over. And she was positioned in a suggestive sexual position.

Sonja was also found lying in a suggestive sexual position next to her bed. She was naked and had been stabbed to death.

It was later discovered that Christina was raped before she was killed. Some residue found on Christina’s wrist indicated that her hands had been duct taped at some point.

A towel and some soap on the floor near Christina’s body had been used to clean Christina’s body and destroy evidence.

There were also marks on the door frame that showed that the killer used an instrument similar to a screwdriver to open the door.

Meanwhile, thousands of students flooded Gainesville for the start of the new school year at the University of Florida. The police made it public that there was a murderer on the loose.

They encouraged everyone to stay in groups and remain vigilant. And the Gainesville happenings became known nationwide.

People went into a state of panic. They bought bolts, padlocks, and weapons to equip themselves.

Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers patrolled the area on foot. However, all that didn’t stop the attacker from striking again.

The Police Received a Concerning Call

The police received a frantic phone call on 28 August.

Tracy Paules and her roommate, Manny Taboada, were found murdered in their apartment by a friend. Tracy and Manny were both twenty-three.

Tracy had taken a few years out of college. But she had decided to go back and try again in 1990. And she convinced her friend, Manny, who had also taken time off school to come back.

When the news about the serial killer spread like fire, Tracy assured one of her friends from another city that she had nothing to worry about.

Her roommate Manny was a former football player with a big strong stature. Manny had assured Tracy that he would protect her. Nonetheless, Tracy’s friend couldn’t get a hold of Tracy for a while.

She asked their mutual friend to check on Tracy. The mutual friend soon made a frantic call to the police.

The police found Tracy naked in her bedroom, placed on the side of her bed in a very suggestive lewd position. She had been stabbed and sexually assaulted. And there was duct tape residue on her wrists.

Manny was found in his bed, clothed, and stabbed to death.

Screwdriver marks were found on the apartment door.

Hundreds of the University of Florida students returned home in fear after Tracy and Manny’s murders.

The police made a few arrests, but the suspects were soon cleared.

The Investigators Found A Lead

Then investigators found out that similar unsolved murders had occurred in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the past year.

An eight-year-old boy, Sean Grissom, who had visited his grandfather to celebrate his birthday, was found stabbed to death. His grandfather, fifty-five-year-old Tom Grissom, and his twenty-four-year-old daughter Julie were also stabbed to death.

Julie was naked, placed in a suggestive sexual position, and she had been raped.

The Shreveport killer’s blood type was determined to be type B, the same as the Gainesville killer.

Then a tip came in about a man called Daniel Harold Rolling. Daniel was from Shreveport. He was thirty-seven.

He had told a woman about how he loved stabbing people.

It turned out that Daniel lived with his parents less than a half mile from the Grissom family home at the time they were murdered.

Daniel was also wanted for the attempted murder of his father. Then the police discovered that Daniel was already in police custody for a robbery crime.

The Aftermath

The authorities found a screwdriver, a gun, and an audio recorder at Daniel’s campsite in the woods.

Daniel sang about a mystery killer on the audio recorder, and he identified the killer as himself. Then Daniel’s blood type matched the blood type that was found in all of the victims’ homes.

Daniel was charged with the murders of the five Gainesville students.

He later pleaded guilty to all five counts of murders in Gainesville and also the three murders in Shreveport.

His motive was that he wanted to be a superstar like the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.

Daniel’s confession contained details that were known only to the police.

For instance, Daniel stated that he duct-taped his victims’ wrists so they wouldn’t fight back. Then he removed the duct tape after the murders.

Daniel told his victims that if they screamed, he would kill them, which he ended up doing anyways.

On 25 October 2006, Daniel was taken to the execution chamber at Florida State Prison to be executed by lethal injection.

He sang a religious hymn to comfort himself. Thirteen minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

Sources:, MrBallen, Thescarechamber