Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a press conference Friday that 40 neighborhood police officers would be deployed to the east side of the city over the next two to three weeks to check the approximately 1,000 abandoned homes which have yet to be boarded up for victims of a possible serial killer on the loose.
The city has been on high alert after a third body was recovered Wednesday morning from an abandoned home in a similar fashion to two other recent deaths.
Police Chief James Craig confirmed that police are on the hunt for a possible “serial killer and rapist.”
The first body was discovered on March 19 on the east side of Detroit in a “vacant dwelling.” The victim, later identified as Nancy Harrison, 52, was found “partially clad.”
Investigators initially believed she died of a drug overdose but on May 20, the medical examiner’s autopsy report revealed that cause of death was “blunt force trauma.”
Several days later on May 24 a second woman, Trevesene Ellis, 53, was found dead not far from the first victim. She too was found “partially clad” in an abandoned home.
“The body was decomposed to a different degree as was in the first one but there were certain aspects of this crime that were very similar to the first so it was a pause for concern,” Craig said.
“We believe based on what we’ve seen in the first and this one that there’s a probable connection.”
Craig said that Wednesday’s discovery makes it very likely that there “is a suspect who is targeting sex workers.”
The cause of death in the last two has yet to be ruled by the medical examiner’s office.
Authorities said it may be likely that more victims could be found. Mayor Duggan said that once the homes are checked and certified that they are empty, eight teams will go in to board the vacant buildings up.