Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chicago detectives review 51 murders as possible serial killings

Detectives for the Chicago Police Department in consultation with the FBI have begun a review of more than 50 unsolved strangulations of women -- many with histories of prostitution and illegal drug use -- looking for evidence of serial murder. Superintendent Eddie Johnson ordered the probe in hopes that recovered DNA can help identify their killer or killers.

"We are looking at them now to see if we can go back and do some additional testing to ... bring to the forefront who these (offending) individuals are," Johnson said.

Chicago-based members of the Illinois State Senate are also reviewing the homicides. The lawmakers conducted a hearing called by Sen. Patricia Van Pelt to probe whether police investigations have been hampered by a backlog of DNA evidence from more than 5,000 crimes, including 658 homicides, awaiting testing by overburdened Illinois State Crime Labs.

For two years, the Murder Accountability Project has warned that too many strangulation and asphyxiation murders of women have gone unsolved, a pattern suggestive of serial murder. "It's highly unlikely these 50 women were murdered by 50 separate men," said MAP Chairman Thomas Hargrove.

Reporter Pam Zekman of CBS affiliated station WBBM-TV has also reviewed the murders and issued four reports outlining the killings and the Chicago community's growing response to them. Chicago detectives, once dismissive of MAP's concerns, recently agreed that "any reasonable person" would conclude the strangulation and asphyxiation deaths may be linked to a common killer or killers.

To see a map showing the victim's names, body-recovery locations and details of these crimes, click here. To download a copy of MAP's seven-page analysis of the Chicago strangulations given to the Chicago City Council and Police Superintendent Johnson, click here.