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'Ipswich Ripper' Prostitute Murder Investigators Eye Atlantic City Cases for Possible Link

Police investigating the brutal "Ipswich Ripper" murders of five prostitutes in England will examine possible links between those killings and the murders of four prostitutes in Atlantic City, N.J., last month, FOXNews.com has learned.

Ipswich Police spokeswoman Shelly Spratt said contact with authorities in Atlantic City "is an avenue we will go down." She said investigators already have discussed making that contact, but because more bodies turned up on Tuesday they had not opened discussion yet.

"We can use all the help we can get," Spratt said.

Janet Niedosik, a spokesperson for Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffery S. Blitz, who is heading the Atlantic City investigation, declined to comment late Wednesday.

"We don't comment on onging investigations and that includes what other law enforcement agencies we are talkimg to," Niedosik said. "The investigation is continuing and there haven't been any arrests yet."

In a case reminiscent of the infamous 19th century "Jack the Ripper" slayings, Ipswich police and Scotland Yard investigators continued Wednesday to search the marshlands and fields outside Ipswich for clues — and possibly more victims.

The bodies of five women, all known prostitutes, have turned up in the past 11 days in Ipswich. The latest discoveries came Tuesday, when the bodies of two women were found at the side of a busy road on the outskirts of town.

In Atlantic City, police continue their investigation into the seemingly ritualistic murders of four prostitutes whose bodies were found in a watery ditch behind a seedy motel outside the gambling mecca.

The bodies were found within a few hundred feet of each other, all face down in several inches of water, heads turned east — toward Atlantic City — wearing clothes, but no shoes or socks.

At least one of the victims died of strangulation; another, officials said, died by asphyxia "by unspecified means."

Based on the decomposition of their bodies, authorities believe the women died on different days, from two days to up to a month before their bodies were discovered.

The known similarities of the Ipswich and Atlantic City cases are:

— The victims all are known prostitutes.

— They range in age from 19-42, with most being in their 20s.

— Autopsies have determined that three of the nine victims died of strangulation or asphyxiation. Official cause of death is pending on two of the Atlantic City victims, and four of the Ipswich women.

Atlantic City police identified the victims as Molly Jean Dilts, 20; Kim Raffo, 35; Tracy Ann Roberts, 23; and Barbara V. Breidor, 42.

Scotland Yard detectives were expected Wednesday to identify the two women whose bodies were found Tuesday, but Det. Chief Superintendent Steward Gull said "it is a natural assumption" to believe the bodies are those of Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, both known prostitutes who were reported missing.

So far, Ipswich investigators have been able to determine the official cause of death in only one of their five cases. Anneli Alderton, a 24-year-old whose body was discovered in a wooded area last Sunday, had been asphyxiated, and likely strangled, Gull said.

Police are uncertain how 25-year-old Gemma Adams and 19-year-old Tania Nicol were killed. Their bodies were both found in water, which has hampered the forensic investigation, Gull said. A similar problem is delaying final cause-of-death findings in two of the four Atlantic City killings.

Clennell's father said he didn't know his daughter had worked as prostitute, and he was "going through hell."

"I never knew that she lived the life that she did," Brian Clennell told the BBC. "Somebody out there must know, somebody that's doing this. He's sick, he's got to be caught. It could be somebody's father, it could be somebody's uncle, it could be anybody."

Suffolk police said the other three victims, well known in Ipswich's red-light district, were found naked and a few miles apart: one in a stream, another in a pond and a third in the woods near a country road.

The two bodies discovered Tuesday were lying near a busy road outside Levington, a village about five miles south of Ipswich.

Ipswich, a small blue-collar city to the northeast of London, has about 40 prostitutes working the street, Hannah Besley, a community safety officer who chairs the city's Prostitution Steering Group, told the Associated Press. The women are well known to her group and police.

When the first women vanished, most of the prostitutes — including Clennell, who disappeared after the first two bodies were discovered — kept working, but that's no longer the case.

"It's now gotten to such a critical stage that they are terrified, and last night it was very quiet — reassuringly so," Besley said.

Atlantic City prostitutes have echoed the same fears.

"It's dangerous, but all you're focused on is that next dollar," said a prostitute known on the streets as Spazz who last month told the Associated Press that she was looking for a gun or a knife to protect herself. "It kind of clouds your judgment. You're not focused on the situation you're getting into. That's the scariest part about it."

Atlantic City authorities do not believe the four bodies found Nov. 20 just off the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township are related to the attacks on three prostitutes earlier this year in Atlantic City. In each of those earlier attacks, the prostitutes' throats were slashed; one survived.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz said the Atlantic City cases were sufficiently different from the Egg Harbor deaths to make authorities believe they were carried out by different attackers.

The U.S.'s most notorious prostitute killings were committed in the Pacific Northwest by a single attacker who came to be known as the Green River Killer. In pleading guilty in 2003 to the murders of 48 prostitutes, Gary Leon Ridgway told a judge he targeted streetwalkers "because I thought I could kill as many as I wanted to without getting caught."

"They were easy to pick up, without being noticed," he said in court. "I knew they would not be reported missing right away, and might never be reported missing."

The Associate Press contributed to this report