SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Police using an infrared scanner discovered the seventh apparent murder victim of Morris Solomon, a handyman already charged with killing six women and hiding their bodies in the houses and yards where he lived or worked.
The latest discovery came Wednesday when an infrared scanner on a helicopter detected a 'hot spot' in the yard of a house where Solomon lived during the last half of 1986. The sex of the latest victim was not disclosed.
Police Sgt. Robert Burns said two other 'hot spots' were detected in the same yard and the scanner also pinpointed possible grave sites at three other addresses. A trench-digging machine, used to unearth the lastest victim, broke down during the afternoon and the investigation was to resume today after it is repaired.
Investigators fear as many as five more bodies may be found and linked to Solomon, a Vietnam veteran and former mental patient whose victims frequently were described as prostitutes.
The infrared device has been used to probe the ground around where Solomon lived or worked repairing and renovating houses in Sacramento's largely black Oak Park district about three miles southeast of the state Capitol.
Used in pre-dawn hours, the scanner can detect heat given off by decomposing human and animal remains.
The seventh body was the second unearthed at that location. The first, discovered last month, was that of Marie Apadoca, 19.
Six of the seven bodies located so far have been determined to be those of women. Four have been identified. Most of the victims were black women with records of police arrests for prostitution.
Solomon was arrested last week and arraigned Monday in Municipal Court on six counts of murder with special circumstances, making him eligible for a possible death sentence if convicted.
His arraignment has been continued to May 19, and a public defender has been assigned to represent him.
Solomon has a police record dating to 1969 when he was discharged from the Army after rising to the rank of sergeant in Vietnam, court records show.
In 1969, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and the attempted robbery of a woman he picked up on a street in Oakland. In 1971, after pleading guilty in Oakland to attempted rape, he was declared a mentally disordered sex offender and spent two years in Atascadero State Hospital.
In 1977, he was acquitted of a charge of killing a prostitute in San Jose. A charge of assaulting another prostitute was dropped after the alleged victim refused to testify.