PHOENIX – A serial killer who is haunting the Phoenix area often speaks with his victims before attacking, sometimes asking for a ride or money, according to police reports.
But victims of the so-called Baseline Killer — who has been linked to deaths, sexual assaults and robberies beginning last summer — gave varying accounts of his appearance and demeanor.
Some victims said he appeared smart, other victims said the opposite was true. One woman said the man smelled of old beer. One said he appeared handsome at first. And another told police he was wearing a mask, pushing a shopping cart and appeared to be a "crazy transient" asking for money.
The reports, released by police Wednesday, offered the first glimpse into how the killer operates.
The "Baseline Killer" has been forensically linked to eight killings and several robberies. Police also believe he is responsible for 11 sexual assaults of women and young girls.
The reports show the sexual assaults have ranged from fondling to rape. In many cases, victims had conversations with the man before they were attacked. He appears to always have a gun, and often threatens to shoot and kill victims.
The varying descriptions of the attacker and his mannerism show that he is "apparently clever with disguises," said Sgt. Andy Hill said.
"He doesn't want people to know what he is really like," Hill said.
A 21-year-old victim who was sexually assaulted last November told police she first saw the man as she was tossing a bag of clothes into a donation bin in central Phoenix.
"I thought he was just asking for a ride," the woman told police. "He started saying that he needed me to take him down the corner, and I was just like in shock."
He said he had just a robbed a place. The man was wearing a fisherman's hat, a wig and big round plastic glasses without lenses.
"He was telling me just to drive (the) speed limit so not to cause attention," the woman said. He told her to calm down, that he'd kill her if she tried anything stupid. Then he told her to stop and turn off her car.
"Put your seat down," he told her. "You don't make the seat go down, I'll shoot you."
He told her to take off her clothes. He said it was so he'd have more time to get away.
But then he started touching her. She asked him to stop. He didn't.
When it was over, he took money from her wallet and left.
The last time the Baseline Killer struck was June 29, when he killed 37-year-old Carmen Miranda after abducting her from a car wash. Since February, only one victim has survived an attack by the suspect, and police credit her with "heroic actions."
She had just walked out of a check-cashing business when she saw a man in a mask pushing a shopping cart. She was opening her car door when he ran up to her, pointed a gun and told her to give him a ride, police reports say.
Once in the car, he told the woman to drive. Soon after, he had her pull over in a secluded area and ordered her to make the seat lie flat. He told her to take off her clothes, saying, "I am going away for a long time, and you are the last woman I am going to be able to touch."
The woman refused to perform oral sex, even after the man threatened to kill her. "Would you rather die?" he asked.
"Yes, kill me," she said. "You're not going to violate me."
She took the keys and ran away.
Police say they have had hundreds of leads to follow, and the reports indicate that several suspects were questioned about various attacks.
The Baseline Killer is one of two serial predator cases in the Phoenix area. In another, dubbed the "Serial Shooter" investigation, police arrested Dale S. Hausner, 33, and Samuel John Dieteman, 30. Police believe the men took turns shooting random victims late at night and early in the morning.
Seven killings and 17 nonfatal shootings have been linked to the Serial Shooter case. Hausner and Dieteman are scheduled to be arraigned on 46 felony counts Monday.