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Entries in Murders (36)

Sunday
Mar242013

Colorado Gov. Sympathizes With Parents of Gunman

Colorado Dept of Corrections(Monument, Colo.) -- The parents of Evan Ebel, who signed his name "Evil Evan" and is a suspect in two murders, had a "bad streak" that his parents "tried desperately to correct," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper is a friend of Ebel's father Jack Ebel, whose son is the prime suspect in the killing of a pizza delivery man and Colorado's prisons chief Tom Clements, a murder that brought Hickenlooper close to tears this week.

A shootout with Texas cops that killed Ebel Thursday came despite efforts by his parents that literally spanned the globe to curb an increasingly paranoid and violent son.

A blog maintained by Ebel's mother, Jody Mangue, documented a son troubled from youth who was sent to behavioral programs in Jamaica, Samoa, Mexico and Utah.

Even when he was prison, his parents tried to rescue him. Jack Ebel testified in March 2011 before a committee of the Colorado Legislature regarding a proposal that would require inmates to spend time outside of solitary confinement before leaving prison.

"What I've seen over six years is he has become increasingly ... he has a high level of paranoia and [is] extremely anxious. So when he gets out to visit me, and he gets out of his cell to talk to me, I mean he is so agitated that it will take an hour to an hour-and-half before we can actually talk," Jack Ebel told lawmakers.

The governor on Friday issued a statement that sympathized with his friend Jack Ebel whose son may have killed his other friend, Clements.

"Jack is one of the most kind and generous people I know. His son had a bad streak that I know he tried desperately to correct," Hickenlooper said.

"Although Jack loved his son, he never asked me to intervene on his behalf and I never asked for any special treatment for his son," the governor said.

Ebel dropped out of school, where he had been in a special education program for "severely impacted" students. Friends said he "lost it" when his sister, Marin Ebel, was killed in a car crash as a teenager in 2004. The death seemed to set off a string of criminal behaviors and jail stints for Ebel.

In an undated post on her blog when Ebel was still in prison, his mother hinted at the responsibility the parents felt for his criminal life.

"Some people may blame us for what has happened to Evan. I can only say that his dad and I had to make hard decisions when he was younger hoping to avoid where he is now," she wrote.

Jack Ebel released the following statement on Saturday:

"I am profoundly saddened by the recent events involving my son, Evan Ebel, and offer my most sincere condolences to all of those individuals and families who have suffered from his actions. I ask for privacy for me and my family during this time as we grieve for the loss of life that has occurred and for all of those affected."

A private funeral for Clements is taking place Sunday, followed by a public memorial on Monday at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs at 10 a.m.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec182012

"In Cold Blood" Killers Exhumed, Investigators Hope to Solve 53-Year-Old Cold Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(LANSING, Kan.) -- The bodies of the killers who were the basis of Truman Capote's true-crime book In Cold Blood were exhumed Tuesday in Kansas, as authorities hope to crack a 53-year-old cold case using DNA.

After committing the In Cold Blood murders of Herbert Clutter, his wife and two children on Nov. 15, 1959, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock hit the road, hiding out from law enforcement in Mexico and Florida, among other places, according to Capote's book and law enforcement accounts. They were ultimately captured in Las Vegas.

But it just so happens that Smith and Hickock were near Osprey, Fla., on Dec. 19, 1959, when the Walker family was murdered in their home.

The men were briefly investigated in 1960, but were ruled out as suspects after passing lie detector tests. Hickock and Smith were hanged on April 14, 1965 and buried at the Mount Muncie cemetery in Lansing, Kan.

Detective Kim McGath, who has been assigned to the Walker case for the past four years, said she decided to start from the beginning last year in investigating the case, and through her research developed a hunch that Smith and Hickock could be responsible.

"Some things started jumping out at me," she told ABC News.

By the time they reached Florida, the men were spotted throughout the state looking for odd jobs to make a quick buck, often at mechanics' shops and gas stations, according to Capote's book.

It's possible the young family, who had been in the market to purchase a Chevrolet Bel Air, may have crossed paths with Smith and Hickock, who were driving a 1956 model and likely needed money, McGath said.

They were spotted several times in the Sarasota area the day of the murders, and after the Walker family was killed, one of the men was seen with a "scratched-up face," McGath said.

Physical evidence, long before the emergence of DNA testing, was also left behind, McGath said.

Christine Walker had been raped and semen was found in her underwear, she said, and there was a bloody cowboy hat found at the scene.

And two suspicious hairs, which were inconsistent with the Walker family, were found in the home.

"There was a dark hair found in the bathroom, where baby Debbie was found in the bathtub, and a long blond hair inside the dress of Christine Walker," McGath said.

According to Capote's book, Smith recalled reading about the murders in the Miami Herald.

"Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas," Smith told Hickock while the two were on the beach in Acapulco, in an exchange Capote recounted in his book. The men never confessed to the murders.

Mitochondrial DNA may prove otherwise if it can be extracted from the bones of the men.

"It's absolutely possible," McGath said. "It depends on all kind of circumstances. The soil conditions, the weather, what type of casket it is in. We will have no idea until we get out there."

Fifty-three years after the murders, closure remains just as important to residents of the Osprey.

"People really changed the way they lived. They locked everything, were afraid of their neighbors," she said. "There has just been such a great desire for this to be solved because it really affected so many people. It really is a lot more far reaching than a lot of people realize."

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

Alaska Serial Killer Committed Suicide with Hidden Razor and Bedding

Kevin Horan/Ston(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- Serial killer Israel Keyes committed suicide in his Alaska jail cell by embedding a disposable razor blade into a pencil and slitting his wrist and using bedding material to strangle himself, the FBI said Wednesday.

Keyes, 34, left behind "crumpled, blood-soaked paper" with writing on the pages.

Keyes' death came as he was slowly confessing to a string of methodically planned murders that spanned the country. He had admitted to eight murders at the time of his suicide, but had yet to tell investigators the identities of all his victims and left police wondering how many more victims there may have been.

The suicide occurred while Keyes was locked alone in a cell after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 1. His body was discovered the next morning at 5:57 a.m., the FBI said.

He used a weapon he had apparently constructed by embedding a blade from a disposable razor into a pencil. He slashed his left wrist with the razor, and then used a strip of bedding to strangle himself.

"There is no indication of any criminal involvement from other persons," according to the FBI in Anchorage. "Pages of crumpled, blood-soaked paper that appeared to have writing on them were recovered from the cell."

The papers have been handed over to the FBI for laboratory processing.

Keyes, 34, was in jail after his arrest for the death of teenage barista Samantha Koenig. While in jail, he told investigators how he traveled the country to kill and bury caches of weapons, money and tools for disposing of bodies to use in future crimes.

The suicide was Keyes' last act of violence committed by a merciless killer who told police that he "liked to do it."

Along with details of his suicide, investigators also released the grim details about Koenig's final hours and her killer's intricate plan to kill.

Koenig was abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled by Keyes, who went on a two-week cruise before returning to dismember and hide her body, according to the FBI.

"These details are being provided both to fully explain the courage and resolve Samantha displayed in the final hours of her life, as well as in the hopes that the release of additional details will help investigators of other murders committed by Israel Keyes," a statement released by federal prosecutors, the FBI and Alaskan police.

They also released video of Koenig's abduction and part of their interrogation of the confessed serial killer.

When Keyes was on the prowl for a victim, he selected the Common Grounds coffee stand in Anchorage, Alaska, where Koenig, 18, was working. Keyes picked the coffee stand for its location and late hours, authorities said. He had no previous connection to the teenager.

A ski mask-clad Keyes approached the coffee stand just before closing time on Feb. 1 and ordered a coffee. After Koenig handed him the coffee, he pulled a gun and demanded money. She complied and surveillance footage released by investigators shows Keyes climbing into the coffee stand and tying Koenig up with zip ties.

He forced her outside and toward his white truck, which he had earlier prepared by removing the license plates and unmounting tool boxes off the bed of the truck.

"Samantha broke away from Keyes and tried to run away," investigators said. "Keyes chased her and tackled her to the ground. He put one arm around her and pointed a gun at her body with the other hand, telling her that she needed to cooperate, that the gun had a very quiet ammo and that she should not do anything to make him kill her."

Keyes "drove around town" telling Koenig that he was kidnapping her for ransom. She explained that her family did not have much money and tried to convince him to let her go. Police said he intended to kill her all along.

When Keyes realized that Koenig did not have her cell phone, he went back to the coffee stand to get it as it was an integral part of his plan. He used the phone to text Koenig's boyfriend and the owner of the coffee stand.

"The text messages made it appear that Samantha just had a bad day and was leaving town for the weekend," investigators said. "Keyes then took the battery out of Samantha's phone."

When he asked her for her debit card, she explained that it was in the truck she shared with her boyfriend at her house and gave him the pin number.

"Keyes put Samantha in the shed in front of his [Keyes'] house, bound her, and turned the radio up in the shed so no one would hear her if she screamed," the release said. "He also told her that he had a police scanner and would know if she attempted to alert the neighbors."

Keyes went to Koenig's house for the debit card and was confronted by Koenig's boyfriend, who was looking for her. The boyfriend went into the house to call for help and Keyes was gone with the debit card by the time he got back.

Keyes returned to the shed, sexually assaulted Koenig and strangled her, the statement said.

"Keyes left her in the shed and then went back inside his house, where he packed for a pre-planned cruise that he was taking from New Orleans," authorities said.

He left Feb. 2 and returned Feb. 17. Upon his return, he used a typewriter to prepare a ransom note and demanded that $30,000 be deposited into the account tied to the debit card.

He went back to the shed and took a Polaroid photo of her tied up. His arm was in the photo holding a newspaper from Feb. 13, the statement said.

He put the note in a park and texted its location to Koenig's boyfriend. Police recovered the note.

"In the days that followed, Keyes dismembered Samantha's body and drove out to Matanuska Lake, where he cut a hole in the ice and put her body in the lake," investigators said.

Koenig's father deposited donated reward money into the ransom account and Keyes was arrested after ATM withdrawals were made in Anchorage, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The FBI has also released an ominous list of 35 trips Keyes made around the U.S., Mexico and Canada over the last eight years.

Keyes, the owner of an Anchorage construction company, had been facing a March trial in Anchorage federal court -- and possibly the death penalty -- for the killing of Koenig.

While in jail he had been confessing to at least seven other killings in Washington, New York and Vermont. Police have confirmed that he was responsible for the deaths of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt.

Investigators are now piecing together a deadly puzzle that is uncovering a macabre lifestyle of Keyes traveling to kill simply because he "liked to do it," prosecutors said.

Police and the FBI spent hours talking to Keyes in the months after his arrest and he was cooperating, talking to investigators as recently as Thursday.

The FBI is asking for the public's assistance with any information about Keyes' travels in order to identify additional victims. They ask that anyone with information contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

Alaska Barista Murder Suspect Traveled to Kill Because He 'Liked to Do It'

Kevin Horan/Stone(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- A man charged in the death of a teenage barista in Alaska told police that he traveled the country with the sole purpose to kill strangers because he "liked to do it," prosecutors said Monday.

Vermont and federal prosecutors detailed the meticulous and cold-blooded murder of Bill and Lorraine Currier in Essex, Vt., last year and said the information came from Israel Keyes before he killed himself in an Alaska jail cell Sunday. Keyes provided details that only the perpetrator would know, police said.

Keyes, 34, the owner of an Anchorage construction company, was in jail charged with the February murder of Samantha Koenig, 18. While in jail he had been confessing to at least seven other killings in Washington, New York, and Vermont.

Now that he is dead, investigators are wondering how many more killings Keyes might be responsible for and why he committed the crimes.

"He provided some motivation, but I don't think it's really [possible] to pigeonhole why he did this," Tristram Coffin, U.S. Attorney in Vermont, said at a news conference Monday. "He described to investigators that this was a volitional act of his. He wasn't compelled by some uncontrollable force, but it was something that he could control and he liked to do it. Why someone likes to act like that, nobody knows."

Authorities described the murders of the Curriers in great detail, offering insight into how the twisted killer traveled to murder, his criteria for choosing random victims and his careful planning of the murders.

"When [Keyes] left Alaska, he left with the specific purpose of kidnapping and murdering someone," Chittenden County State Attorney T. J. Donovan said at the press conference. "He was specifically looking for a house that had an attached garage, no car in the driveway, no children, no dog."

The Curriers, unfortunately, fit all of Keyes' criteria. He spent three days in Vermont before striking. He even took out a three-day fishing license and fished before the slayings.

In June 2011, Keyes went to their house and cut a phone line from outside and made sure they did not have a security system that would alert police. He donned a head lamp and broke into their house with a gun and silencer that he had brought with him.

 

Keyes found the couple in bed and tied them up with zip ties. He took Lorraine Currier's purse and wallet as well as Bill Currier's gun. He left the man's wallet.

He put the couple in their own car and drove them to an abandoned farmhouse that he had previously scoped out. Keyes tied Bill Currier to a stool in the basement and went back to the car for Lorraine Currier.

"Keyes saw that Lorraine had broken free from the zip ties and observed that she was running towards Main Street," Donovan said. "He tackled her to regain control of her."

Keyes took Lorraine Currier to the second floor of the farmhouse and tied her up. He rushed to the basement when he heard commotion and found that Bill Currier's stool had broken and he was partially free.

"In an attempt to subdue Bill Currier, Keyes hit him with a shovel, but he continued to struggle and yell wanting to know where his wife was," Donovan said. When Keyes was unable to subdue Bill Currier, he shot him to death, the state attorney said.

"They fought to the end," a choked up Donovan said at the news conference.

Keyes then returned to Lorraine Currier and sexually assaulted her before strangling her. He put each of his victims in garbage bags, put them in the corner of the farmhouse and covered them in debris.

Keyes drove away with the intention of robbing a bank, but had some trouble with the Curriers' car, so he abandoned it and drove his rental car to Maine. Shortly after, he stopped at a national forest to burn the couple's property and then went back to Vermont to visit the crime scenes.

He disposed of the two guns and a silencer in a reservoir and began to make his way back to Alaska.

"By all accounts, [the Curriers] were friendly, peaceful, good people who encountered a force of pure evil acting at random," an investigator said at Monday's news conference. Authorities called the ongoing investigation a "huge case, national in scope."

Before his death, Keyes indicated that he also killed four people in Washington State and one person in New York, but did not give the victims' names, authorities said.

Keyes had been facing a March trial in Anchorage federal court -- and possibly the death penalty -- for the killing of Koenig.

Samantha Koenig was last seen Feb. 1 on surveillance video that showed her leaving the Common Grounds Espresso stand in Anchorage with an armed man. All of the coffee stand's cash was also missing.

After allegedly killing Koenig, Keyes used her phone to send text messages to conceal the abduction, according to prosecutors. He flew to Texas and returned Feb. 17 to Anchorage, where he sent another text message demanding ransom and directing it to the account connected to the stolen debit card, according to prosecutors.

Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, March 16 after he used Koenig's debit card. The FBI contends Keyes killed Koenig less than a day after she was kidnapped. Her body was recovered April 2 from an ice-covered lake north of Anchorage.

Police and the FBI spent hours talking to Keyes in the months after his arrest and he was cooperating, talking to investigators as recently as Thursday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Authorities wouldn't say how Keyes killed himself, only that he was alone in his cell. An autopsy will be conducted.

Alaskan officials were expected to release a timeline of Keyes' U.S. travels Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

DNA from "In Cold Blood" Killers Could Solve 1959 Florida Cold Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(OSPREY, Fla.) -- More than 50 years after the Walker family was murdered in the quiet, carefree town of Osprey, Fla., the focus of the cold case investigation has shifted to two notorious killers who were the basis of Truman Capote's true-crime book In Cold Blood.

Investigators from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office are hoping to travel to Kansas as soon as an order is approved by a judge to exhume the bodies of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. They hope mitochondrial DNA evidence collected from the bones of the killers, who were executed by hanging in 1965, will help close a cold case that rattled Sarasota County.

On Dec. 19, 1959, the Walker family, including parents Cliff and Christine and their toddler children Jimmie and Debbie, were shot to death in their Osprey home.

Detective Kim McGath, who has been assigned to the Walker case for the past four years, said she decided to start from the beginning last year in investigating the case, and through her research developed a hunch that Smith and Hickock could be responsible. The men were briefly investigated in 1960, but were ruled out as suspects after passing lie detector tests.

"Some things started jumping out at me," she told ABC News.

After committing the In Cold Blood murder of Herbert Clutter, his wife and two children on Nov. 15, 1959, Smith and Hickock hit the road, hiding out from law enforcement in Mexico and Florida, among other places, according to Capote's book and law enforcement accounts. They were ultimately captured in Las Vegas.

By the time they reached Florida, the men were spotted throughout the state looking for odd jobs to make a quick buck, often at mechanics' shops and gas stations, according to Capote's book.

It's possible the young family, who had been in the market to purchase a Chevrolet Bel Air, may have crossed paths with Smith and Hickock, who were driving a 1956 model and likely needed money, McGath said.

They were spotted several times in the Sarasota area the day of the murders, and after the Walker family was killed, one of the men was seen with a "scratched-up face," McGath said.

Physical evidence, long before the emergence of DNA testing, was also left behind, McGath said.

Christine Walker had been raped and semen was found in her underwear, she said, and there was a bloody cowboy hat.

And two suspicious hairs, which were inconsistent with the Walker family, were found in the home.

"There was a dark hair found in the bathroom, where baby Debbie was found in the bathtub, and a long blonde hair inside the dress of Christine Walker," McGath said.

Smith recalled reading about the murders in the Miami Herald.

"Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic. Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas," Smith told Hickock while the two were on the beach in Acapulco, in an exchange Capote recounted in his book. The men never confessed to the murders.

DNA may prove otherwise if it can be extracted from the bones of the men, who have been dead for 47 years.

"It's absolutely possible," McGath said. "It depends on all kinds of circumstances. The soil conditions, the weather, what type of casket it is in. We will have no idea until we get out there."

Fifty-three years after the murders, closure remains just as important to the residents of Osprey.

"People really changed the way they lived. They locked everything, were afraid of their neighbors," she said. "There has just been such a great desire for this to be solved because it really affected so many people. It really is a lot more far reaching than a lot of people realize."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec032012

Toddler's Death Points to Other Killings

Hemera/Thinkstock(MANASSAS, Va.) -- Police investigating a Virginia man in connection to the death of his 15-month-old son are also looking to see whether he played a role in the mysterious deaths of two other people: his mother and an ex-girlfriend.

Joaquin Rams, 40, became the focus of a Manassas Police Department investigation last month when his son, Prince McLeod Rams, died during a three-hour unsupervised visit.

Police have called it a "suspicious death" while they await the results of a medical examiner's report.

Rams has not been charged.

That case remains an "active and open investigation," police spokesman Lowell Nevill said, but it prompted cops to look into the 2008 suicide of Rams' mother and the 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend.

Rams has not been named a suspect in any of the three deaths, but Prince's mother believed the man was dangerous, requesting last year that a Maryland judge order his visits supervised. The judge denied the request.

McLeod, an intelligence analyst and former contestant on the CBS reality-TV show The Amazing Race, ended her engagement with Rams about two weeks after their son was born.

She mentioned the women's deaths at a custody hearing, but a judge dismissed the concerns, calling them, "smoke that's been blown that I can see through," according to court documents.

Police have not formally re-opened an investigation into the death of Rams' mother, Alma Collins, whose death was ruled a suicide in 2008. Rams, however, remains a suspect in the still-unsolved 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Shawn K. Mason.

Rams did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

'John Doe Duffle Bag' Arrested in Connection to Three New York Murders

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The man known as "John Doe Duffel Bag" was arrested today in connection with the slayings of three shopkeepers of Middle Eastern descent in Brooklyn.

Salvatore Perrone, 63, was arrested following a long night of questioning by detectives.

Officials tell ABC News that Perrone has been charged with three counts of murders. He has made admissions to police in connection with committing two of the murders, but stopped talking before any discussion of the third, law enforcement sources said.

He had been brought into custody Tuesday evening when, acting on tips, police picked him up at a pharmacy he was known to frequent.

 

A search warrant was executed while he was being questioned and his duffel bag was seized and searched.

Inside it was a cutdown .22 caliber rifle whose ballistics matched those of the bullets that killed the three murder victims, a bloody knife, .22 caliber bullets, two other knives and women's stockings, law enforcement officials said.

All three slain men were killed by .22 caliber slugs and one was stabbed as well as shot.The murders took place in July, August and last Friday.

Perrone, a Staten Island resident has a rap sheet that includes stalking a former girlfriend and kicking in her door, burglary and driving while intoxicated on Staten Island.

The suspect had connections with the clothing business and possibly once had a clothing store, officials said. He reportedly carried merchandise in his duffel bag, law enforcement sources said.

Clothing or cardboard was used to cover the bodies of the murder victims, police have said.

The man was captured on video last Friday at 6 p.m. within a block and a half of the latest crime scene, a women's boutique on Flatbush Avenue. The latest victim, 78-year-old Rahmatollah Vahidipour, was killed sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 7:11 p.m. on Friday.

The second video, from Aug. 2, appeared to show "John Doe Duffel Bag" near the Bensonhurst shop where Isaac Kadare, a Jewish man from Egypt, was murdered with the same .22 caliber gun that was used to kill Vahidipour, sources told ABC News.

On July 6, clothing store owner Mohamed Gebeli, an Egyptian Muslim, was killed inside Valentino Fashion in Bay Ridge. Gebeli was shot in the neck and was found with several pieces of clothing on top of him. Police said $383 in receipts was missing, but $1,500 was found inside a cabinet.

The trio of killings took place within a five-mile radius, each occurred at a small shop that lacked security cameras, and each victim was over 50, police said. It was not clear whether the victims were robbed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Gun Recovered from 'John Doe Duffel Bag' in Connection with NY Murders

NYPD(NEW YORK) -- A sawed-off rifle and bloody knife were recovered as detectives continued to question "John Doe Duffel Bag" in connection with the slayings of three Middle Eastern Brooklyn, N.Y., shopkeepers, a police official told ABC News.

The Staten Island, N.Y., man in his 60s was taken into custody Tuesday night following tips to police from Brooklyn residents who recognized him in video recorded near two of three shopkeeper slayings in Brooklyn.

He has not as yet been charged with any crime.

According to officials, a Ruger 10-22 rifle with a sawed-off stock and an improvised combination laser/light attached to its barrel was found Wednesday in a duffel bag belonging to the individual dubbed "John Doe Duffel Bag" by police.

An official said that the weapon uses .22 ammunition consistent with ballistics found at each of the three separate crime scenes where three proprietors were shot and killed at close range in July, August and this past Friday.

The bag also contained .22 caliber ammunition, two knives, "one of which appeared to have blood on it," along with black gloves and women's stockings, the official told ABC News.

The man taken into custody had connections with the clothing business -- and possibly once had a clothing store -- and reportedly carried merchandise in his duffel bag, law enforcement sources said.

Clothing was used to cover the bodies of the murder victims, police have said.

Detectives are still talking to the individual who was captured on video Friday at 6:00 p.m. within a block and a half of the latest crime scene -- a women's boutique on Flatbush Avenue.  The latest victim, Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 78, was killed sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 7:11 p.m. on Friday.

The second video, from Aug. 2, appeared to show "John Doe Duffel Bag" near the Bensonhurst shop where Isaac Kadare was murdered with the same .22 caliber gun that was used to kill Vahidipour, sources told ABC News.

On July 6, clothing store owner Mohamed Gebeli, an Egyptian Muslim, was killed inside Valentino Fashion in Bay Ridge.  Gebeli was shot in the neck and was found with several pieces of clothing on top of him.  Police said $383 in receipts was missing, but $1,500 was found inside a cabinet.

The trio of killings took place within a five-mile radius, each occurred at a small shop that lacked security cameras, and each victim was over 50, police said.  It was not clear whether the victims were robbed.

Rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crimes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov012012

Illinois Woman Charged with Killing Son, 5-year-old Girl Denied Bail

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Illinois woman charged with the murder of her 7-year-old son, who she stabbed over 100 times, and a 5-year-old girl in her care was denied bail by a Chicago-area court on Thursday.

Elzbieta Plackowska, of Naperville, Ill., will be held without bond in DuPage County, ABC News' Chicago affiliate WLS-TV reported.  The 40-year-old woman was charged with two counts of first-degree murder Wednesday evening.

Plackowska, who was babysitting the 5-year-old girl, was arrested after the children were found by police slashed and stabbed on Tuesday at 10:15 p.m.

The children were identified as her son, Justin Plackowski, and Olivia Dworakowski.

Plackowska was covered in blood when she was taken into custody, according to WLS-TV.  Investigators from the Naperville Police Department and the DuPage County States Attorney's Office questioned her before charges were filed.

Police found two dead dogs in the home that also were stabbed, WLS-TV reported.  Investigators said there was no reason to believe that any additional suspects were at large.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Plackowska has given authorities various explanations for what happened, including hearing demonic voices that led her to kill the children.

The girl attended kindergarten at Brookdale Elementary School and the boy was a student at Scott Elementary School.

"This is an extremely difficult time, but this is an extremely strong community and I'm confident in this community and our school district that we will pull together and move through this tragic event," said Naperville School district Superintendent Dan Bridges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Denver Police Puzzled by Murders, Arson at Local Bar

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Denver police are puzzled by the late-night murder of four women and a man inside a bar that was then set on fire.

Fero's Bar & Grill erupted into flames early Wednesday morning shortly before closing time following a quiet night of drinking and poker, according to bar patrons. As firefighters battled the flames, they pulled five individuals from the fire, all of whom were dead and showed signs of traumatic homicide, police said Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities are asking bar patrons or witnesses to come forward with any information about how the homicides may have occurred. The police are currently canvassing the neighborhood seeking surveillance video, and are processing some tips, according to police chief Robert White.

"We'd like to think it's an isolated incident but we can't say that with any certainty," White said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "It's very alarming, that 's why it's important we investigate it to the fullest."

Police believe all of the individuals were killed by some sort of trauma before the fire began, and did not die in the fire, they said.

"More than likely [this was] an attempt to conceal the homicide with an arson," Denver police commander Ron Saunier said.

Denver Fire Lt. Phil Champagne said there was extensive fire damage in the bar, and speculated that the fire would have been difficult to survive if the victims had not already died, according to ABC News affiliate KMGH.

The names of the individuals have not been released by the coroner's office.

Champagne said the fire department received a call around 1:50 a.m. about a fire at the bar. The bar typically closes at 2 a.m., according to police.

Bar patron Tim Johnson told KMGH that the bar was quiet Tuesday night, as he and other regulars played poker. He left the bar around 10:45 p.m., he said, though other players remained after he left.

The incident is being investigated as an arson-homicide, police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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