Cold Case Quest: Bonita Parker

Bonita Parker





Bonita Parker led a life in which she probably met some interesting people. Unfortunately, one of those people murdered her in August 1991. According to the police, 21 year old Parker was a prostitute in the Short North area of Columbus. Being a prostitute is not the most important thing about Parker – although the lifestyle is dangerous. The most important fact to remember is that Parker was a human being – a mother and also someone’s daughter.

The facts of the case are that Parker was found near Mill Street in Pataskala, which is about 17 miles east of Columbus. I doubt if she went to Pataskala of her own accord. She had a single stab wound in her chest that caused her death. The newspapers later reported that Parker did not have blood on her body or clothes. The police suspect that the killer cleaned her and redressed her before dumping her body in Pataskala.

There were several suspects in the case. Gustave Sapharas was arrested in March 2017. His DNA was found under Parker’s fingernails. He was acquitted of the murder in 2018. The prosecution was not allowed to bring up his past criminal record, which included rape and assault. Sapharas was also involved in a stabbing incident with a different prostitute.

An ex-boyfriend was also a suspect but was not thoroughly investigated. Apparently, he and Parker had some sort of physical altercation, which left the ex-boyfriend hogtied.

There was also a retired police officer who was ruled out as a suspect but I’m not sure what evidence cleared him of murder. Two unknown male DNA profiles were found on Parker but so far they have not been identified. I’m not sure if the ex-boyfriend’s or the police officer’s DNA were tested.

Parker and her family have not gotten justice in this case. Why wasn’t the ex-boyfriend investigated? How did they clear the ex-police officer? Why didn’t the jury convict Sapharas? There seem to be too many loose ends that could probably solve the mystery of who killed Bonita Parker.

Columbus Dispatch

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2 comments

  1. This seems to go beyond the usual “she’s just a prostitute–who cares” point of view into something else.
    Seems like lots of faulty, half-assed investigations and covering up going on. Very sad.

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