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'I played dead to survive after being shot by the I-70 serial killer'

News'I played dead to survive after being shot by the I-70 serial killer'

Vicki Webb

Vicki Webb is only victim of the I-70 killer to have survived (Image: ID)

A woman who survived being shot by an infamous serial killer in the United States has revealed how she played dead to stay alive.

Vicki Webb has opened up about her horrific ordeal in 1994 for ID’s true-crime docuseries People Magazine Investigates’. The episode explores the case of the I-70 killer – a monstrous murderer who has never been caught.

The unknown shooter is dubbed the I-70 killer because several of his victims – who were usually young, petite, brunette women – worked in stores located a few miles off of Interstate 70. He unleashed murderous mayhem from Indianapolis to Kansas and is known to have killed six store clerks in the Midwest in the spring of 1992.

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The I-70 killer

Police artist’s impresssions of the I-70 killer (Image: St. Charles Police Department)

But he is also suspected of shooting three more store clerks in Texas during 1993 and 1994, as well as the  2001 murder of a store clerk in Indiana. Vicki Webb is the only victim to have survived an encounter with 1-70 serial killer.

But she still has a bullet lodged in her spinal column from the incident. She describes the killer as a short Caucasian man, who was gaunt and “slender”, with “very tanned” skin that  was “ruddy” and “leathery.” 

His killing spree began on April 8, 1992, when Robin Fuldauer – a 26-year-old employee of a Payless ShoeSource in Indianapolis, Indiana – was found shot dead, execution-style, by a bullet to the back of her head. He struck again, with double murder, just three days later.

Vicki Webb

Vicki Webb stll has a bullet lodged between her C-2 and C-3 vertebrae (Image: ID)

Patricia Smith, 23, and Patricia Magers, 32, were found shot to death in the back room of La Bride d’Elegance bridal shop in Wichita, Kansas.  The next killing came later that month – but this victim was male.

Police believe the I-70 killer had mistaken Michael McCown, 40, for a woman because he wore his long hair in a ponytail.  He was shot from behind inside Sylvia’s Ceramic Supply in Terre Haute, Indiana.

On May 3, Nancy Kitzmiller, 24, was found slain at a Boot Village shoe store in St Charles County, Missouri. Then, just four days later, Sarah Blessing, 37, was gunned down in the Store of Many Colors in Raytown, Missouri. 

Indianapolis homicide detective Mike Crooke, now retired, said the I70 Killer left identical bullet casings behind at every crime scene. And, while money was taken from the stores, Crooke believes the act of murder itself was the primary motive.

Which makes Vicki Webb’s survival even more miraculous.  Like many of the other victims, she had been shot from behind, in the back of the neck.  

 “It all felt like slow motion,” she recalls. “But the first thing that crossed my mind was, ‘Please God, don’t take me. I have a 13-year-old’.”

As she lay on the floor, she watched the shooter jump over her and begin rummaging through the cash register. He then turned his attention back to Vicki, who – inspired by old films she had seen – decided to play dead.

“If he didn’t think I was dead, I would be dead,” said Vicki. “And it was very easy to play dead because I could barely breathe. I was completely paralyzed from the neck down.”

However, Vicki’s ordeal didn’t end there. The sick killer had other, twisted, ideas. 

The demented gunman dragged Vicki behind the counter and pulled down her pants. He then pressed his gun against her forehead and pulled the trigger.

Fortunately for Vicki, it only clicked, rather than fired – which seemed to amuse the deranged killer.

Remembering his laughter, Vicki said: “It was vicious, maniacal, evil. Just pure evil.”

Then, Vicki recalls hearing noises which spooked the killer, and he fled the scene, leaving her for dead. She lay there, unable to move or scream, for ten minutes – until she was finally discovered when two customers walked inside the shop. 

She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors urged her to have surgery. However, as there was a possibility it would leave her needing a respirator for the rest of her life, she refused.

 “I simply knew I was going to be OK,” said Vicki.  “I didn’t have a vision. There was no crossover. I just knew.

“I was conscious the whole time. I was sure I wasn’t going to die. This was not my day to be taken.”

A long and gruelling recovery followed – she had to learn how to walk again.  And, to this day, she carries a macabre memento of her horrific encounter.

“I still have the bullet nicely encased between C-2 and C-3 [vertebrae],” said Vicki. And she still hopes that the monster who put that bullet there will one day be caught.

“I’m extremely hopeful that somebody knows something,” said Vicki. “And I am hopeful someone with any information will come forward.

“This person has stayed under the radar… He either works in the sun or is in the sun a lot because he was very leathered. We need to find him and hold him accountable. And if he’s deceased, we need that information out as well.”

“We need to help the other families get answers. He needs to get caught.”

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