Twelve of the murdered women had convictions for prostitution.
All of these are highly suggestive of serial killings that may included as many as three separate offenders. The Plain Dealer's story can be seen here.
MAP's serial killer algorithm (see Data & Docs) indicated that Cleveland has the nation's largest suspicious cluster of unsolved homicides when looking at the most recent 10 years of national data. The finding was made when producers of "The Killing Season" documentary series asked for an analysis during only the most recent years.
The documentary concluded there had been too many unsolved killings in and around 93rd Street.
MAP began its analysis after the body of Alianna DeFreeze, 14, was found in an abandoned building near the 93rd Street corridor, the victim of extensive and brutal injuries. A few days later, convicted sex offender Christopher Whitaker, 44, was arrested on the basis of DNA evidence, according to police.
Newspaper reporter Rachel Dissell linked Medical Examiner records of homicides to local prostitution arrest records and discovered that 12 victims had convictions as sex workers. Among the findings of the joint analysis:
- Nine were in Cleveland and three were in East Cleveland.
- Seven women were found in vacant lots or abandoned homes.
- Nine were killed by strangulation, blunt-force trauma or stabbing.
Cleveland police are reviewing all unsolved female murders committed since 2004 and are considering possible links among the 12 known sex workers, officials told MAP.