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Detroit police searching abandoned homes in investigation of possible serial killer

close up of two doors on a car  that say Detroit Police
Sean Davis
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit police have started searching abandoned homes as part of an investigation into a possible serial killer and rapist.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the killer appears to be targeting sex workers on the city’s east side. Three women’s bodies have been found in vacant homes there in the past several months.

Police are still awaiting official causes of death in two cases. But Craig says there are enough similarities to suspect a serial killer.

“We’re not going to let up. And we’re going to find this violent, predatory criminal,” Craig said.

On Friday, pairs of Detroit police officers began searching unsecured, abandoned homes on the east side to make sure there are no undiscovered victims.

“One of the things that’s troubling is it’s been days and in some case weeks before the bodies were discovered,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “So that raises the possibility that there could be another vacant house on the east side that may have a victim. We have no reason to believe that, but we need to check it out.”

After those homes are cleared, Duggan says city workers will work overtime to board them up. That work is expected to be completed by the end of July, and Duggan hopes that all of the city’s unsecured vacant properties will be boarded up by the end of September.

“We will start [from the three crime scenes] and work our way out, and work until we clear all the houses,” said Deputy Police Chief Todd Bettison.

Later on Friday, Craig announced that police are seeking a person of interest in the case.

The announcement came as Duggan and Craig sought to reassure the public that police are successfully solving cases amid a recent spate of murders. That includes a recent triple killing, also on Detroit’s east side, of three LGBTQ people.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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