A person known only by DNA has killed five prostitutes over two decades in Milwaukee, the city where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer once cruised gay bars for victims, police said Monday.
More than 20 DNA samples from other unsolved homicides of prostitutes are being re-sent to the state crime laboratory to check for possible links to the killer, police Chief Edward Flynn said at a news conference.
The first two victims linked by the killer's DNA died in October 1986, Flynn said. Another was killed in 1995, one in 1997 and the most recent in April 2007. He said all five were known prostitutes.
The killer's DNA was also found on the body of a 16-year-old female drug abuser slain in 1995. Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said police believe the man suspected in the five other slayings had sex with the 16-year-old and didn't kill her but knows who did.
Suspect not on the database
Flynn said the unknown killer has never been arrested for a felony, which is Wisconsin's basis for those who must submit to DNA testing.
"He does not appear in any DNA database" checked by investigators, the chief said.
Flynn also said DNA tests showed the Milwaukee cases were not linked to murders of prostitutes that are part of active investigations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mesa, Ariz.
‘Extraordinarily vulnerable population’
Anyone working as a prostitute is in an "extraordinarily vulnerable population," Flynn said.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said improved technology makes it more likely the killer can be found. "We're convinced we're going to be able to bring justice to these victims and their families," Chisholm said.
Dahmer admitted killing 17 men and boys between 1978 and his arrest in 1991 at his Milwaukee apartment where parts of some of his victims were found.
He was serving multiple life terms when a fellow prison inmate beat him to death in 1994.