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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2004

DNA probe yields other possible serial killing suspects

April 22, 2004

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— Investigators have identified two additional serial killing suspects as part of the same probe that led authorities to charge a Kansas City man with killing 12 women, the head of the city's crime lab said Wednesday.

"They are ongoing investigations," said lab director Gary Howell, who defined the suspects' crimes as two or more sex-motivated homicides.

Howell declined to elaborate about the suspects or the victims, including how many people investigators believe the suspects may have killed. He said their crimes did not approach the level of Lorenzo Gilyard, 53, who was charged Saturday with killing 12 women, all but one a prostitute.

Both suspects are in police custody and are likely to be charged in the future with additional crimes, Howell said.

Police Detective Mike Luster said Wednesday night that investigators "had several hits and made some arrests" but was unable to provide further details.

John Liebnitz, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, said he wasn't familiar with the cases Howell described and couldn't comment.

Howell said the suspects were identified during the past year after a federal grant allowed the crime lab to test evidence from old cases using the latest DNA technology. Criminal investigators in the late 1980s and early 1990s used a DNA technology that was extremely accurate but slow, expensive and time-consuming.

The new technology is easier, less expensive and more reliable. It also allows investigators to extract DNA from much smaller and older samples.

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