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A Killer Inspired by a Crime Novel? Inside the Hunt for Jackie Galloway’s Murderer

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The story of Jackie Galloway — who suddenly disappeared in 1991 from her apartment in Sarasota, Florida — is equally a mystery and tragedy: While police quickly discovered her body, bound and bloody, it took them much longer to locate her killer and his motive.

The investigation, which is the focus of the next episode of People Magazine Investigates airing Monday, Nov. 21, on Investigation Discovery, featured a shifting cast of possible suspects; evidence of horrific violence; a speculative link to the Gainesville Ripper serial killer, who murdered college students not far away; and a curious connection to the Patricia Cornwell thriller Postmortem about a killer called “Mr. Nobody.”

And at the center of it all was Galloway, a social butterfly who fell victim to what one close friend calls “pure evil.”

People Magazine Investigates traces the inside journey of investigators as they worked to uncover the truth of Galloway’s final, terrible moments — and the person who was responsible.

Jackie Galloway
Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

As the episode reveals, authorities eventually honed in on John Waterman, Galloway’s next-door neighbor. Under questioning, they discovered how Waterman had seemingly become obsessed with her, and a search of his home uncovered more evidence that linked him not just to Galloway’s death, but the sexual assault of a second woman in the area.

Both crimes bore an eerie resemblance to parts of Postmortem, which Waterman owned and admitted to having partially read.

As Cornwell wrote in one passage in the book, “He had no reason except to cause her excruciating pain and give her a taste of what was to come.”

WATCH: Stranger Than Fiction: 3 Things To Know About The Murder Of Jackie Galloway

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Waterman would plead no contest to both Galloway’s murder and the sexual assault. Decades later, he is still in custody. But some mysteries in the case remain — and will be put under a spotlight by PMI.

“He didn’t know her,” one of Galloway’s friends says of Waterman. “He didn’t know how wonderful she was.”

People Magazine Investigates airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.