Published November 24, 2006
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A second victim has been identified in the probe of the deaths of four women who bodies were found in a drainage ditch near Atlantic City, N.J., FOX News has learned.
Tracy Ann Roberts, 23, was identified as the second of four female victims found by police, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz.
Blitz told The Press of Atlantic City that a new task force has been formed to help in the probe, including FBI agents, state police and local investigators. The group is tasked with identifying victims still unidentified, and will process evidence gathered already.
Blitz said the task force has also hired an odontologist to take dental impressions of the unidentified bodies.
Several members of the task force spent Thursday fielding phone calls and tracking various leads and tips, but Blitz said no arrests have been made so far.
"We are proceeding methodically," he said, noting that a core group of about a dozen investigators are assigned to the case.
Roberts last known address was a room on the beach block of Tennessee Avenue in New Jersey, according to Blitz. She died of asphyxia by unspecified means, according to Atlantic City Medical Examiner Dr. Hydrow Park, who performed autopsies on all four discovered bodies.
N.J. officials described Roberts as a 5-feet, 8-inch white female about 120-pounds, with a butterfly tatoo on the small of her back.
The fourth victim has been identified as Kim Raffo, 35, formerly of Brooklyn and Florida, who was living in Atlantic City.
Raffo's ex-husband, Hugh Auslander, left Florida to visit Raffo's father in New York, according to The Press of Atlantic City. Auslander said he plans to come to Atlantic County to talk to detectives.
According to the prosecutor, both Raffo and Roberts have records for prostitution arrests.
Gov. Jon Corzine, who was serving a Thanksgiving breakfast Thursday at an Atlantic City shelter where clients are on edge because of the slayings, said he has been following the case closely.
"We obviously have to solve the killings," he said.
The plight of the victims, he said, casts a light on bigger social problems and how desperation can put people in violent situations, and that needs to be addressed.
Egg Harbor Township Deputy Mayor Jake Glassey told The Press of Atlantic City that residents in his West Atlantic City neighborhood are on edge as rumors swirl over the case.
“To think of what it takes to do something that sick — and then to visit the same site again and again,” he said. “What kind of monster are they?”
Some criminal profilers and those investigating the New Jersey deaths have noted several similarities among the victims, including the direction their heads were turned, and their missing shoes and socks. Those similarities have led some to wonder whether or not authorities have a serial or ritual killer on their hands.
“We are not rendering any judgments until the evidence has been processed,” Blitz told the Press when asked about the possibilities of a serial killer.
If the New Jersey deaths turn out to be by the hands of a serial killer, the case would join a long line of similar, notorious killing sprees. Some of the cases — which have occurred from Alaska to Arizona and beyond — are unsolved, and many have been given gruesome nicknames like the Green River Killer and Hillside Strangler.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.