Serial Killer Working Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi ?
For as much as a decade a serial killer may be responsible for the deaths of many prostitutes, including several from Oklahoma, and now meetings of numerous law enforcement agencies are ongoing to compare notes and determine if there is a link between the various cases from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi
For as much as a decade a serial killer may be responsible for the deaths of many prostitutes, including several from Oklahoma, and now meetings of numerous law enforcement agencies are ongoing to compare notes and determine if there is a link between the various cases from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
The possibility that a serial killer may be working Oklahoma and the other states strengthened last week after a Tulsa woman was reported missing and later found murdered in Texas.
Although sketchy, reports indicate that the murdered women were picked up at truck stops and killed. A similarity among the cases appears to be the disposal of the victims' bodies.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations announced Tuesday that a closed door meeting was held to address the murders. OSBI Spokeswoman Jessica Brown, in a news release, said that the meeting was closed to the public because several of the meeting attendees work undercover and media attention would threaten to expose their true identities as law enforcement.
Brown said that representatives from the ViCAP program were on hand. ViCAP, the Violent Crimes Apprehension Program, is a computer data bank that stores information on missing persons and unsolved homicides that facilitates law enforcement to search for similar cases or patterns of missing persons.
The ViCAP computer has been a modern day system that has helped law enforcement in tracking down several serial killers. The system was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the 1980s and has continued to collect and store information about serial killers, missing persons and unsolved homicides ever since.
Speculation about the potential that a serial killer is killing Oklahoma women centers around truck stops. The similarities that exist have some observers believing that a truck driver may be responsible for the murders.
So far, law enforcement is including the deaths of ten women. Some of the victims were strangled and often their bodies were dumped near bridges. One victim was raped and another died from a violent blow to the head. All of the women are believed to be prostitutes that frequent truck stops.
"Oklahoma City seems to be the hotspot," said Jay Hill of the Lafayette County Sheriff's Department in Mississippi when speaking to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
Friday's meeting marked the second time investigators will meet to discuss the cases.
Eight of the women victims were found nude with no identification. Six were discovered in Oklahoma and two were found in Texas including an Oklahoma teenager. One Oklahoma victim, Casey Jo Pipestem, 19, of Oklahoma City, was last seen at a truck stop in Oklahoma City and was later found dead in Grapevine, Texas in a creek bed and investigators believe she was thrown off of a bridge.
Jennifer Hyman, 24 of Oklahoma City was also last seen at a truck stop and was later found dead in Mississippi by a railroad worker. Hyman had been strangled to death
Last edited by Starless; 02-03-2011 at 11:10 AM.
CBS/AP) Law enforcement officials from five southern states will meet Friday to discuss the possibility that a serial killer may be targeting truck-stop prostitutes in the region.
The seven victims included six prostitutes. One victim has not been identified. Four were from the Oklahoma City area. The prostitutes were found nude or only partially clothed.
At least four victims were last seen at a truck stop, and at least three were strangled. The bodies were found near highways and creeks in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.
Tennessee investigators will also participate in the meeting at Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Oklahoma City. They are trying to determine whether the 2001 deaths of two female prostitutes may be connected to the other killings.
The killer may be a long-haul truck driver, Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation officials told The Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis.
More than 40 representatives of 17 law enforcement agencies will be involved in the private meeting. It will be a chance for investigators to share notes and ideas and to help determine whether the killings are linked.
The transient nature of the victims makes it particularly difficult to solve the crimes.
"These victims didn't stay in one place long," said OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown. "People don't necessarily recognize them.
"A lot of these victims did not have tight relationships with their families. A lot of times, families help us solve crimes."
Brown said detectives haven't excluded the possibility that a trucker may be involved in the crimes.
"We're kind of running out of leads now," said investigator Todd Hignight of the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Department in Central Oklahoma.
Hignight has been looking into the death of Patsy Laverne Leonard, a prostitute found nude and strangled Jan. 1 in northeast Pottawatomie County, Okla.
The six other victims are Casey Jo Pipestem, Sandra Beard, Jennifer Hyman, Margaret Gardner, Sandra Richardson and an unidentified woman found in the Texas Panhandle.
Five other Lawton, Okla.-area killings were initially grouped in with the other seven, but those cases have now been determined to be different enough to be treated as a separate group, Brown said.
Another woman was found dead in south Oklahoma City on Wednesday, and police were looking into whether her death might be related. She has not been identified.
Prostitution often goes hand-in-hand with truck stops.
Employees at Oklahoma City-based Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores, which has 150 truck stops and stores throughout the nation, are on the lookout for prostitution, but it is difficult to eradicate the crime, said Jenny Love Meyer, spokeswoman for the company.
"Unfortunately, whenever you're going to have trucks parked, you're going to have it," she said.
Oklahoma City police Master Sgt. Charles Phillips said prostitutes can be vulnerable.
"These women are working in an environment where they are putting themselves somewhat in harm's way," he said. "The issue, sadly, is that as long as there is a demand ... I don't think there's anything we can do."
Arkansas State Police Special Agent Dale Arnold is investigating the death of Margaret Gardner. He has worked several cases of prostitute deaths before, and he keeps running into the same problem.
"If an individual does not want to change his lifestyle, what are you and I going to do?" he asked. "There's no way to combat that unless they're put away forever."
The Alliance Against Prostitution in Oklahoma County is trying to raise money to build a safe house where prostitutes can come for counseling, drug rehabilitation, job training and life skills classes.
No such program exists in Oklahoma, said Sue Ducharme, a founding member of the alliance.
"We don't expect to save every woman, but we need a safe haven — a place for them to go if they choose to change," Ducharme said.
The Oklahoma Trucking Association tries to police the ranks of truckers, even sending trucking companies copies of traffic tickets received by truckers, but executive director Dan Case said he doesn't have enough information about these cases to do anything at this time.
Sgt. Todd Dearing of the Grapevine, Texas, Police Department also lacks information about Pipestem. He hasn't secured any warrants and doesn't have any suspects.
"This is the tip of the iceberg," he said. "It's really right at the beginning of the investigation."
Six states track possible serial killer
From Ed Lavandera
Friday, February 27, 2004 Posted: 11:51 PM EST (0451 GMT)
Investigators from several states gather in Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation headquarters, Friday.
Unsolved slayings of women across six states show the hallmarks of a serial killer. CNN's Ed Lavandera reports on the investigation. (February 27)
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (CNN) -- A string of unsolved slayings across six states has prompted dozens of state investigators to consider whether a serial killer is responsible for the deaths of at least seven women.
Investigators from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi will meet Friday at Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation headquarters to compare notes on at least seven murder cases -- possibly as many as 10.
The murders date back over the past two years. The victims range in age from 19 to 47.
The female victims had a striking number of similarities:
• Most had a history of prostitution or were known prostitutes.
• Most were last seen at truck stops along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma.
• Most of the victims' bodies were found naked, with no other belongings in the area.
• Most of the victims' bodies were found dumped along highways.
• Some were sexually assaulted.
"We have entertained the idea we may be talking about a serial killer," said Jessica Brown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. "But we have nothing at this point in time that directly links these homicides to one person.
"We believe there's enough information about the different homicides that we are considering the possibility that they could be connected," she said.
The FBI has helped law enforcement agencies with case interviews and also has provided profiles of potential suspects, an FBI official said.
The most recent case involves Casey Jo Pipestem, a 19-year-old Native American woman from the Seminole tribe, who was last seen at a truck stop in Oklahoma City.
Her body was found January 31 in Grapevine, northwest of Dallas, Texas, dumped off an interstate bridge and into a creek. Her family said she was sexually assaulted. They worry that people will not care about these murder cases because the women tended to be prostitutes and on the fringe of society.
"I think if people looked at their background they would realize they were human beings, people with families," said Ted Underwood, Pipestem's uncle.
"If this individual has killed Casey and possibly nine others and is still out there, there's something wrong with this individual," he said. "He's an evil person, a sinister person who has no feeling for human life and will do it again. I just hope that law enforcement are putting in enough effort, manpower and resources to find this individual because he's going to bring a lot of grief to a lot of people and he's not going to stop until they catch him."
One of the more bizarre cases involves the body of a woman found last October in Gray County, Texas, in the Panhandle just east of Amarillo.
Authorities have been unable to identify the victim. She is believed to be in her late 30s, but no one has reported her missing.
Early on the morning of October 16, 2003, the woman was seen on a surveillance camera video at a Flying J truck stop in Sayer, Oklahoma, about 85 miles east of Gray County on I-40.
According to Gray County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Kelly Rushing, "The last thing she said to anyone is 'I've got a ride and I've got to go.'"
Two truck stop employees she was talking to said they do not know who she left with and there was no surveillance video of the area to provide clues.
About six hours later, the woman's naked body was found dumped along a barren, remote stretch of I-40.
One of the country's most prolific serial killers, Gary Ridgway, confessed to targeting prostitutes "because I thought I could kill as many as I wanted without getting caught."
Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer, eluded authorities for years before he was sentenced to life in prison in December 2003 for killing 48 women.
Last edited by Starless; 02-03-2011 at 11:11 AM.
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