Is Philadelphia killer posing victims?

Dec. 19, 2010 at 2:33 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Philadelphia police say the killer nicknamed the Kensington strangler may be posing his victims.

They have not confirmed that a third woman, Casey Mahoney, whose body was found this week in an overgrown lot in the Kensington neighborhood was killed by the same person who strangled Elaine Goldberg and Nicole Piacentini, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Those earlier killings have been linked by DNA.

But they say the victims have much in common, white and between the ages of 21 and 35. They were found in vacant lots in the same neighborhood and naked from the waist down.

Mahoney's and Piacentini's bodies were in the same position with plastic bags over their heads, while Goldberg's was not.

"Sometimes with people like this, they get more sophisticated as they go," a source told the Inquirer. "They try more things."

Mahoney, 27, was from East Stroudsburg, Pa., in the Poconos, not from Philadelphia as were Goldberg and Piacentini. Struggling with a drug abuse habit, she returned to the city not long before her death after an unsuccessful stint in rehab.

Police have released a description of a man who has assaulted women in the neighborhood but are unsure if those crimes are related to the killings.

City police met with Kensington residents Saturday to discuss the investigations, Philadelphia's WCAU-TV reported. Police released an enhanced surveillance video of the man police believe is the Kensington strangler, the TV station said.

Police also questioned more than a dozen men and collected DNA samples from them, WCAU-TV said.

Christine Piacentini, the mother of Nicole, was at the neighborhood meeting.

"How many girls is it going to take to be murdered?" she asked. "Somebody needs to do something."

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