RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A paroled sex offender suspected of sexually assaulting, torturing and slaying two girls has been linked to both killings by microscopic evidence, authorities said.
Warren James Bland, 51, was captured Monday night in San Diego after being confronted at a taco stand and shot in the buttocks by a police detective. Bland was reported in good condition Tuesday night at the jail ward of the University of California's San Diego Medical Center.
Murder charges were filed against Bland last week in Riverside County in the death of Phoebe Ho, 7, who was abducted in December as she walked the four blocks from her South Pasadena to school. Her body was found eight days later in a field in Glen Avon, 40 miles away.
Bland also is the prime suspect in the slaying of Wendy Osborn, 14, of Placentia, whose strangled body was found Feb. 1 near Chino in San Bernardino County, about 30 miles from Glen Avon. Osborn had been missing since Jan. 20.
San Bernardino County Sheriff Floyd Tidwell said Tuesday 'similar microscopic evidence' was found in both cases, but he would not elaborate.
Investigators in the Ho slaying, however, said carpet fibers and paint chips found on her body matched those found in a van Bland drove.
Bland had been a fugitive since early January, when detectives questioned him about Ho's death but released him because they could not produce enough evidence to charge him. An arrest warrant was issued after the carpet fibers were found.
A task force made up of officers from four different agencies are trying to strengthen their case against Bland in the Osborn slaying.
'He is the only suspect we have at this time,' Tidwell said. 'Given the indicators, we think Bland is the one.'
Police said the two crimes had much in common: The girls were abducted while walking to school, no ransom was demanded, they were strangled, sexually assaulted and tortured with a plier-like tool and their bodies were dumped in remote areas.
Bland's court records paint a portrait of a troubled loser with a string of bad marriages, a weakness for alcohol and a near-30-year penchant for violence, particularly against women and girls.