A fingerprint has been found linking a medical student accused of killing a masseuse in Boston to a hotel near Providence where another woman claims she was attacked, a law enforcement official said Friday.
The official told The Associated Press that Philip Markoff's fingerprint was found on a wall of the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, where a stripper has said she was tied up and held at gunpoint by a man she met through the Craigslist classified ads Web site. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.
The official also said that Markoff sent text messages from the hotel but did not have information about what Markoff said or to whom he wrote.
Markoff, a Boston University medical student, is charged in the April 14 killing of Julissa Brisman, a 25-year-old masseuse he met through Craigslist. He is also charged in a robbery of another masseuse that police say he met through the online classifieds site.
He has not been charged in Rhode Island, but police and prosecutors here have been investigating links to the Boston cases.
Markoff has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer, John Salsberg, has said he is innocent of the charges.
Seeking other victims
A Las Vegas woman who worked as a stripper and was offering lap dances through Craigslist told police that she was bound with cord and held at gunpoint late on April 16 at the Warwick hotel. The assailant fled when the victim's husband returned to the room.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has asked Craigslist to immediately eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" section, hire staff to screen images and ads that violate the site's terms of service and fine users who violate those terms.
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said he does not plan to close the "erotic services" section of the Web site despite criticisms that it facilitates prostitution. He said the site already allows users to flag inappropriate material they believe should be removed.
"Sometimes a bad guy of some sort tries to pull a fast one on our site," he said in an interview airing Friday night on ABC News. "We don't want it there, it's wrong, and that's why we have the help of the general community and the law enforcement community getting rid of things like that."
Markoff, who was arrested during a traffic stop Monday as he drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, was placed on suicide watch at the Boston jail where he was being held after authorities reportedly found shoelace marks on his neck. His fiancee said earlier in the week that she supported him and didn't think he was capable of hurting anyone.
Markoff's parents, brother and sister-in-law visited him on Friday at the jail.
The parents, Susan Haynes and Richard Markoff, did not speak to reporters about their son, but his attorney said on their behalf that they love him very much and support him.
"They, of course, remain very concerned about him," said Salsberg, who would not discuss his client's condition.
Meanwhile, Brisman's mother, Carmen Guzman, said in a statement Friday that losing her daughter to such a violent death will "haunt me for the rest of my life." She said she was "relieved that the man who did this is in custody."
Suffolk County prosecutors in Massachusetts said they have placed an ad on Craigslist in an attempt to find other women who may have been victimized by Markoff.