Detroit police warn of possible serial killer targeting sex workers after deaths of three women
The killer, who is presumably a man, appears to be picking sex workers who are in their 50s as his targets. Police wanted to make the sex worker community aware of this very dangerous suspect.
The authorities in Detroit said on Wednesday, June 5, that three apparent murders of women may possibly be linked and have warned investigators that they may be dealing with a serial killer in the area. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in a statement: "We’re not trying to create alarm. But we want to get this information out." The killer, who is presumably a man, appears to be picking sex workers in their 50s as his target.
Rumors have been rife on social media since mid-May when word started spreading about a serial killer in downtown Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reported. At the time, the authorities rejected these rumors saying that "there is false information circulating" and that "this is not true".
The authorities, instead, said that a suspect has been identified in the incidents that involved the death of the women. On Wednesday, Craig further iterated the department's denial by saying that the deaths were different and that they have "no connection to that". He also said that it does not seem to be connected to recent homicides that are under investigation but, at the same time, he did not rule out the possibility that older unsolved cases may be connected to the same killer.
Craig has said that the department decided to warn the public of a possible serial killer on Wednesday after a woman's body was found naked in a vacant home close to Mount Elliot. The authorities believe that the latest death may be connected to the two other women. He said: "We want to get this out. We have an active homicide investigation going on for all three."
According to Craig, the killer appears to be luring women into vacant buildings, raping, and then ultimately killing them. The police chief warned women of the danger and urged them to be vigilant and avoid going into homes with anyone. He said: "It appears that there is a trend and a pattern." Craig then added that the authorities "wanted to make the sex worker community aware of this very dangerous suspect".
Night Angels, which is a Sterling Heights nonprofit group that looks to end human trafficking, said that the deaths are frightening women who are forced to work in unsafe conditions in the sex trade. Mel Baggett of Night Angels said: "There are a lot of homicides that don’t make it into the newspaper" adding that violence "happens all the time". Baggett said that it is easy for people to not think about the deaths too much because the prostitutes are not thought of as victims in such cases.
One of the victims was found on Wednesday and the others were found on May 19 and May 24. The latest victim was found naked but no identifying details were released. The authorities said that it also appeared that she may have been dead for a couple of days.
In the first woman's death, which was initially believed to be from a drug overdose, the medical examiner found that the victim died of blunt-force trauma. The chief said that no determination on the cause of death has been made on the other two victims. Craig said: "We do believe there may be a connection. When we looked at all three incidents, there are some similarities, which I won’t go into detail."
He did say, however, that the killer typically commits these crimes in a similar fashion and that he hopes there are no other victims. All three of the women, according to the authorities, appear to be engaged in the sex trade and this proves to be a challenge for the police when it comes to getting witnesses to come forward with information.
The other two victims were 52 and 53-years-old. One of them was white and the other was black which is an indication that the killer does not appear to be targeting women by race. Craig said: "We want you to talk to us. Any information – however small – may help us identify this violent predator."
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