Authorities in Indiana and Ohio have launched investigations into suspected serial killings after a Scripps Howard News Service study of FBI computer files found many alarming clusters of unsolved homicides of women across the nation. Police in Nevada confirm for the first time that they are hunting a likely serial killer who has targeted up to seven women, mostly prostitutes, and has scattered their partial remains across three states. Many of the suspected serial killings detected in the study have never before been disclosed to the public.
Authorities in seven cities have confirmed that a statistical analysis of federal crime files conducted by Scripps has detected known – or strongly suspected – serial homicides in their communities. The study was based on computer records of 525,742 homicides committed from 1980 to 2008. The FBI provided most of the data. Scripps supplemented these using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain detailed records of 15,322 killings that local police did not disclose to the federal government’s entirely voluntary crime reporting system. The resulting database – which crime experts say is the most complete accounting of homicide victims ever assembled in the United States – was created to determine if serial killings could be identified among the nation’s 185,000 unsolved homicides. The Scripps study also prompted police in Youngstown, Ohio to begin a fresh review of decades-old files and evidence storage boxes related to several homicides. “In the early 1990s, we thought we had a serial murderer running around. Yes, we definitely thought we had one,” said Capt. Rod Foley of the city’s homicide squad.