Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul John Knowles: The Casanova Killer

Closing In

For nearly two tense days, as they awaited word about Knowles and the two male hostages, the police tried to close in on the fugitive.   Finally, on November 17, he came.  He was alone in a car, and he ran a police roadblock in Stockbridge, Georgia, but lost control of the car, slammed into a tree, jumped out, and tried to run.  Firing a gun to keep people back, he disappeared into the Henry County woods.  Inside the abandoned car, police found a gunbelt and hat that had belonged to Campbell.  There was no evidence that the men had been shot or stabbed, so the police hoped that they might still be found.  For four hours (Fawkes says two), the police used tracking dogs and helicopters to locate Knowles, under orders to take him alive for whatever information they could get from him about the missing men, and he was finally brought in by an armed civilian with a shotgun.  Knowles asked him for help, but Clark forced him toward a house, where that resident was asked to phone the police. 

Paul John Knowles in custody
Paul John Knowles in custody

Knowles provided no information about the fate of his hostages, and when he was taken to the police station to be detained, he spotted a crowd of journalists.  He apparently decided that he liked the attention, so he clammed up and would not say whether the police officer or the hapless driver he had taken into the woods were dead or alive.  He even played a little game, telling officers that one word would provide the right clue for determining their whereabouts, but then would not say the word.  One thing was for sure: If they were bound somewhere, without some assistance, they would soon die.   An intensive search was conducted to find them, and off-duty officers came in to assist.  The police arranged to have Fawkes talk to Knowles so she could try to coax information from him, but when she offered an interview exclusive to a local paper, investigators stopped that plan and looked for an alternative.  They were desperate to get to the hostages before nightfall.

However, the men weren't found that day, or the next three.  It was not until November 21 that some hunters came across them in a wooded thicket an hour from Macon.  It turned out that Knowles had taken them into the woods, handcuffed them to a tree, and shot them both in the head execution-style.  There had never been any hope for them.  Knowles then said that the "word" that would have helped to locate them was "Pabst," for the brewery nearby.

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