Murdered By a Serial Killer: The Answer No Family Wants to Hear

Serial Killer Khalil Wheeler-Weaver Now Charged with Raping and Strangling Another Young Victim

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.
3 min readApr 2, 2022


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I wrote about this serial killer before. Actually, I mainly wrote about the bad-ass way the family of one of his victims, Sarah Butler, brought their loved one’s killer to justice. The perpetrator was the boring part of the story.

Here’s a quick synopsis of what we knew about this perp’s history back then. In 2016, Wheeler-Weaver’s kidnapped, raped, and strangled three women over an eighty-eight-day period. [A fourth victim escaped and later testified against him]. His modus operandi was to meet his victims through various internet dating apps and charm them into meeting him for sex. He typically offered to pay for it.

Then, when they met, he would kidnap, rape, and strangle them. He went on trial for these murders in 2021, and, on October 7, was sentenced to one hundred and sixty years in prison.

No one could appreciate the significance of that date until now. Five years to the day — on October 7, 2016 — fifteen-year-old Mawa Doumbia left her Newark, New Jersey house wearing green jeans, a black jacket, and black Nike sneakers. Her father and sister last saw her. Because she left on her own, she was classified as an endangered runaway.

But she wasn’t. No one knew what happened to Mawa until she was found dead.

On April 9, 2019, the skeletal remains of a young black female were found in an abandoned carriage house behind a funeral home in Orange, New Jersey, less than five miles from Newark. No one knew who she was. A rope or string was lying around the neckbone, suggesting strangulation as a likely cause of death. The medical examiner ruled the manner of death a homicide.

In November 2021, medical examiners identified the remains as belonging to Mawa Doumbia. Just as Sarah Butler’s family used the internet to lure Wheeler-Weaver into a trap, according to a statement by law enforcement, it was digital evidence that linked him to another victim:

“Wheeler-Weaver met the young girl online and solicited her to meet him in person for sex. It is alleged that he traveled to the area of her…



Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.