VERO BEACH — On the eve of his death penalty trial for the 1983 abduction, rape and murder of a Vero Beach High School senior, David Alan Gore told authorities what they had long suspected: Lynn Elliott, 17, wasn’t his first killing.
She was his sixth, Gore, then 29, confessed to prosecutors in November 1983.
Gore, 58, admitted killing six women in Indian River County between 1981 and 1983. Most were sexually assaulted, some were tortured and others were dismembered and buried in hidden graves in citrus groves west of Vero Beach.
Through police investigations, interviews with Gore and his cousin and co-defendant Fred Waterfield, 59, authorities uncovered evidence the one-time Indian River County sheriff’s auxiliary deputy targeted at least a dozen women for kidnap and rape beginning in 1976, often with Waterfield’s participation.
In his initial sworn statements, Gore fingered Waterfield as the killer, but after a jailhouse religious “awakening,” Gore renounced his lies, changed his confession and in October 1984 took responsibility for the six murders.
Waterfield, he said, was his accomplice.
The first site Gore led authorities in December 1983 was a citrus grove west of Vero Beach where he’d worked. Searchers unearthed the bodies of a Taiwanese woman and her teenage daughter, found inside two metal drums. The headless skeleton and skull of an Orlando runaway were buried nearby. The Orlando girl’s companion, also killed by Gore, was never found.
At another remote area Gore identified, near a canal 10 miles west of Vero Beach, police discovered more remains of the Taiwanese women and the partial remains of a missing California woman.
The grisly discoveries resulted in Gore pleading guilty to murdering Orlando teenagers Barbara Ann Byer and Angelica LaVallee, both 14; California resident Judy Kay Daley, 35, and Hsiang Huang Ling, 48, and her daughter, Ying Hua Ling, 17, both of Vero Beach. Five consecutive life prison terms were tacked on to Gore’s death sentence as part of a negotiated punishment.
Waterfield, 59, was convicted separately of two counts of kidnapping and the first-degree murders of Byer and LaVallee. He was sentenced to four life prison terms, added to the 15-year term imposed for being found guilty of manslaughter in Elliott’s death.
Lynn Elliott, a 17-year-old senior at Vero Beach High School was hitchhiking with her friend Regan Martin, 14, on July 26, 1983 when David Alan Gore and his cousin Fred Waterfield picked them up and took the girls to the home of Gore’s vacationing parents. The two abducted the girls at gunpoint and Gore repeatedly raped both Elliott and Martin after Waterfield left the home.
Elliott was shot to death by Gore as she fell after running down a driveway with her hands tied. The incident was witnessed by a neighbor boy who alerted police.
Elliott’s nude body was found in the trunk of a car. After a 90-minute standoff with police, Gore surrendered and Martin was rescued from an attic, naked, handcuffed, with her legs tied with electrical cord.
Gore was convicted of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, and three counts of sexual battery. He was sentenced to death in March 1984.
Waterfield was convicted of manslaughter for his role in Elliott’s death and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
David Alan Gore confessed to authorities in 1984 that he and his cousin Fred Waterfield picked up Orlando runaways Barbara Ann Byer, and Angelica LaVallee, both 14, when they found the girls hitchhiking May 20, 1983 along Interstate 95 in Brevard County.
Soon after the girls got into a van Waterfield was driving, Gore pulled out a gun and tied up both teenagers. Gore said Waterfield made him drive so he could have access to the abducted girls while they headed south toward Vero Beach. Gore later killed both girls by shooting them in the head, he told police.
In December 1983, days before going on trial for killing Lynn Elliott, 17, Gore led authorities to a citrus grove west of Vero Beach where searchers found a partial skeleton and skull belonging to Byer.
LaVallee’s body, which Gore said he disposed of in a canal off I-95 west of Vero Beach, was never recovered.
Taiwanese natives Hsiang Huang Ling, 48, and her daughter Ying Hua Ling, 17, an award-winning math student at Vero Beach High School, vanished from their rural Vero Beach home Feb. 19, 1981. Hsiang Huang Ling’s husband, Pu Ling, was an inspector at a fruit packing plant who had immigrated his family, including a son, from Taiwan to Florida.
The day David Alan Gore lured Ying Ling into his truck when she stepped off a school bus hear her home, he was armed with a weapon and his auxiliary sheriff’s badge, he confessed in an October 1984 sworn statement. He took the girl home where he pulled a gun, abducted Ying Ling and her mother and forced both women into his truck. He raped both women in an orange grove, Gore said.
He gunned down Hsiang Huang Ling, Gore said, before he summoned his cousin, Fred Waterfield, who raped Ying Ling, then ordered her death, telling Gore to “get rid of her.”
On Dec. 7, 1983, Gore led police to a citrus grove where searchers unearthed two 30-gallon white metal pesticide drums containing the remains of both women. Additional remains were located the following year in a different citrus grove.
Judy Kay Daley was a 35-year-old former Fort Pierce resident visiting from California when she vanished July 15, 1981 from Round Island Park in Indian River County.
In October 1984, David Alan Gore confessed to stalking, kidnapping and murdering Daley while he was an auxiliary deputy with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. He disabled her car, he told police, so he could pretend to come to her aid at an isolated beach parking lot. After luring her into his truck, Gore brandished a gun and handcuffed Daley before taking her to an old trailer at the citrus groves where he worked as a foreman.
Gore admitted raping Daley before he strangled her to death.
On June 3, 1984, body parts stashed in a garbage bag unearthed in a citrus grove near Vero Beach found on a tip from Gore were identified as Daley’s remains.
Her abduction and murder happened two weeks before Gore’s July 1981 arrest for armed trespass after he was caught in the backseat of a woman’s car armed with a gun, handcuffs and police scanner.
When David Alan Gore feigned a traffic stop to pull over Palm Bay resident Dana Sturgis, he approached her car dressed as an auxiliary deputy with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, asking about a make-believe neighborhood burglary.
The sex predator’s intent was her abduction and rape, something the 18-year-old narrowly avoided, Gore later confessed in a 1984 sworn statement.
After Gore tricked her into following him to a desolate road, they were spotted by fishermen, which forced Gore to abandon his kidnapping plot. The startled teenager reported the strange incident to her parents and sheriff’s officials. Confronted with his improper and suspicious behavior, Gore resigned as an auxiliary deputy July 17 1981, amid an internal affairs investigation.
On July 31, 1981, less than two weeks after David Alan Gore cut the tires of Lynn Autrey’s car as part of an attempted kidnapping plan, he was arrested in the backseat of a car belonging to Marilyn Holland Owens. He was later convicted of armed trespassing. Packing a .357 handgun, a police scanner and a glass jar of vodka, Gore targeted Owens, then 23, upon seeing her in the parking lot of the former Doctor’s Clinic in Vero Beach, he confessed in October 1984.
Gore was sentenced to five years in prison. He was incarcerated from July 1981 until March 15, 1983 when he was released on parole.
“It dawned on me that I could probably kidnap her and I was going to call Freddie (Waterfield) on that one,” Gore told authorities in 1984. “But when I got in the back seat … that’s when the deputy arrested me after I had done sat up in the back seat.”
After Diane Sullivan Smalley on June 22, 1976 drove out of a gas station on State Road 60 at Yeehaw Junction, two of the tires on her Datson 240Z were shot out by David Alan Gore and Fred Waterfield, according to court records.
The Miami secretary, then 27, was traveling to Lake Wales when she heard “pops” and realized her tires were flat. She pulled off the road when the cousins drove alongside offering to help. As Smalley got out of her car, Waterfield shoved a gun in her ribs and forced her into the back seat of their 1967 Chevrolet. Smalley testified in 1985 that when she saw a car’s headlights coming toward them, she decided to escape.
“I thought to myself if they are going to kill me,” she said in court, “then they are going to kill me as I am trying to get away.”
A couple stopped their car and put her in the back seat. Smalley reported the incident to police, but it wasn’t until 1983 when she learned of their arrests for murdering Lynn Elliott that she realized Gore and Waterfield were her would-be abductors.
David Alan Gore told authorities in October 1984 that when he spied Lynn Autrey in June 1981 at the Sebastian Inlet beach, he was armed with a handgun and had targeted her for kidnap, rape and possibly murder.
But the plan changed, he stated, when he recognized Autrey after he’d cut her car tire then pretended to come to her aid by changing it for her.
She had recognized him too, he said, as an auxiliary deputy she’d seen on patrol with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Still, Gore said he fabricated a story about her boss, a police official in Fellsmere, needed to see her at a nearby Stuckey’s restaurant so she would follow him.
The two met at the restaurant, he said, near Interstate 95 and County Road 512. Gore said they talked for about an hour when he decided not to rape or kill her.
“It’s probably harder to do to somebody you know,” Gore stated, when asked why he left Autrey unharmed.
Angela Hommell Austin, 56, a resident of Colorado, believes she might be the last women raped by David Alan Gore and Fred Waterfield who wasn’t murdered.
According to Hommell and court records, she was sexually assaulted by the men July 21, 1976 when the German native, then age 20, reached out to Waterfield to help repair two flat tires she discovered on her car outside her mobile home. Waterfield was friends with her ex-husband, she said.
In an interview last month, Hommell said what she thought was a friendly ride to work turned into an armed encounter with Waterfield and Gore, who took turns raping her inside Waterfield’s Lincoln Continental parked at a remote citrus grove.
In a sworn deposition, Gore admitted he and Waterfield raped Hommell at gunpoint. They agreed to release her, he said, after she promised not to tell anyone. But that night at a hospital, she reported the incident and both men were briefly jailed and questioned by police. The cousins insisted the sex was consensual and they were never charged in her case.