The murder of Cynthia McLuen by James Lamar Rhodes is spotlighted on Homicide Hunter: Joe Kenda on Investigation Discovery.
McLuen worked as a cosmetologist at Walgreens, which was located in the Uintah Gardens Shopping Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Shortly before her shift ended on the night of December 8, 1982, she went outside to warm up her car and to scrape the ice from the windshield.
When an officer drove through the parking lot, he noticed her vehicle had its engine running and the lights were on, but there was no sign of the 22-year-old.
Later that same day, her clothes were found behind the Holiday Inn at Eighth and Cimeron streets.
Six weeks later, on Jan. 18, 1982, a jogger found her frozen and nude body in a wooded area at Fairview Cemetery on 1000 S 26th Street.
She had been raped, struck on the head, and stabbed 25 times.
Rhodes became a suspect in the case three years later, in 1985, when detectives learned that a man, who previously lived in Colorado Springs, was committing crimes similar to McLuen’s murder in Florida.
When investigators flew to Florida to question Rhodes, he confessed to the murder. He stated that he would often pick up his wife from work at the Woolco store in the Uintah Gardens Shopping Center—the same shopping center where McLuen worked.
While McLuen was in the parking lot, he abducted her before raping and stabbing her to death.
To avoid the death penalty, Rhodes pled guilty to first-degree murder in February 1986.
He told the judge that he wanted to plead guilty because he didn’t want to put the victim’s family through any more pain.
The following month, a judge sentenced Rhodes to life in prison. He was already incarcerated at the Florida state penitentiary in Bradford County, Florida, serving a 420-year sentence for attempted first-degree murder and sexual battery.
Homicide Hunter: Joe Kenda — Cynthia, airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.