Ten women have turned up dead or missing in recent years in Rocky Mount, N.C., but the rest of the country is unaware of the possibility that a serial killer is at work there. Why? Newsweek says the women were poor and black, and some had criminal histories including drug abuse and prostitution–the sorts of victims ignored by the media. Instead, experts say, the media focus on white, educated, middle-class victims like Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway and Laci Peterson.
“If it was someone of a different race, things would have been dealt with the first time around; it wouldn’t have taken the fifth or sixth person to be murdered,” says Andre Knight, a Rocky Mount councilman and president of the local NAACP chapter. “All these women knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood; this is the sign of a potential serial killer. When it didn’t get the kind of attention it needed, it made the African-American community frustrated.” Police have not officially linked all the murders and disappearances, but community members claim the similarities among the women, their lifestyles, and the location of their bodies make a connection all too obvious.