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Saturday
Oct222011

Steven Hobbs Charged With Serial Murders, Rapes in Texas

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock(PASADENA, Texas) -- Steven Hobbs, a married Texas father of two charged with killing and assaulting prostitutes for the past decade, may be linked to several other unsolved murders in the area, investigators say.

"We're now going back to 15 years from today to check cold cases," Harris County sheriff's spokesman Alan Bernstein told ABCNews.com. "We're even talking to neighboring counties, which are much more rural, about their cases."

Hobbs, a 40-year-old, 6-foot-4 former security guard, has now been in jail for about two weeks, accused of murdering two women in Harris County and assaulting four others. But he might never have been apprehended if a Pasadena, Texas, motorcycle cop hadn't stopped to set up a routine traffic radar site.

On Sept. 22 the officer pulled over into a brushy area off Red Bluff Road to clock the speed of passing motorists. That's where he discovered what Bernstein described as "the key to everything" -- the badly decomposed body of Wanda Trombley, 57, who had been missing since July.

Detectives believe the murderer likely dumped Trombley's body in Pasadena because she had worked several miles away in northeast Houston. They began questioning prostitutes in that area.

One of them, a 43-year-old woman whose identity will remain anonymous, told investigators that in June a large white man with "reddish-blond hair and thick eyeglasses" had picked her up to go to a motel for sex, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

But instead of driving to the motel, she said, he brought her to a desolate location on Wallisville Road in Houston, sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, handcuffed her arms and feet and beat her with what appeared to be a mop handle. At some point, she added, he put on a security uniform and spoke to someone on the phone who sounded like an employer.

When detectives showed the 43-year-old victim several mens' photos, she identified Hobbs' picture, saying she was "absolutely certain" that he was the man who had assaulted her.

Hobbs was charged with kidnapping and sexual assault, and also charged with the aggravated assault of 28-year-old prostitute Danielle Perfitt, which also occurred in June.

Meanwhile, detectives at the Harris County Sheriff's Department had been trying to solve other prostitute homicides in the county, and thought Trombley's case sounded similar.

"The swabs from Steven Hobbs matched DNA evidence at the scene of two murders that took place outside Pasadena but inside Harris County," said Bernstein.

This week, the Harris County District Attorney's office charged Hobbs with strangling prostitute and mother of five Patricia Pyatt, 38, in 2002, and sexually assaulting a woman, whose identity is being protected, that same year. The assault took place near the San Jacinto River, along the Beaumont Highway, not very far from where Pyatt's body was found.

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