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Daycare suspect eyed in earlier slaying

A scene from "The Dark Knight" is pictured in this undated publicity photo released to UPI. (UPI Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./HO)
A scene from "The Dark Knight" is pictured in this undated publicity photo released to UPI. (UPI Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./HO) | License Photo

DENDERMONDE, Belgium, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The 20-year-old Belgian man arrested in last week's triple slaying in a daycare nursery is also suspected in an earlier killing, officials said Monday.

Kim De Gelder, charged with dressing as The Joker character from the Batman movie "The Dark Knight" and killing two babies and a childcare worker last week, is also being eyed in the Jan. 16 knife slaying of a 73-year-old woman, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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"There were very concrete elements linking the two incidents," state prosecutor Christian Du Four told the British newspaper, describing the earlier slaying as an "abominable crime" in which a woman was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Beveren, near Dendermonde, the scene of the daycare killings.

Citing unnamed police sources, the Telegraph reported De Gelder allegedly painted his face white, applied black eyeliner and either dyed his hair or was wearing a wig -- replicating the make-up Heath Ledger wore in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight" -- when he allegedly staged the daycare attack.

The sources said the attack may have been inspired by the one-year anniversary of Ledger's accidental drug overdose death in New York. The newspaper said De Gelder quoted a line from "The Dark Knight" as he was arrested but has since refused to talk to police interrogators. He is reportedly being fed intravenously after staging a hunger strike.

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Police said they believe he intended to stage more attacks.

Neighbors described the suspect as a quiet loner raised by strict parents. He was described by coworkers as a "film freak."

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