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The number of victims of a possible serial killer stalking a Phoenix neighborhood climbed to six on Thursday when a woman who was critically injured three weeks ago succumbed to her injuries.
Stefanie Ellis, 33, initially survived the June 12 shooting that claimed the life of her 12-year-old daughter, Maleah Russell, and her friend, Angela Linner, 31.
"We are in a state of shock right now," said Maleah's great-aunt, Carolyn Burris. "We were already mourning Maleah and then to get this phone call about Stefanie was just devastating."
The triple shooting was the fourth in a series of ambushes that police say are linked. All the victims were shot dead near their homes and cars in the evenings in a two-mile-square section of the Maryvale neighborhood.
The other victims are:
- Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, killed April 1 while visiting his pregnant fiancee's family
- Horacio Pena, 32, fatally shot June 3 after returning home from his job at a group home
- Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, murdered outside his home on June 10
Phoenix police have appealed for the public's help in identifying the killer, but few tips have come in.
"For not one person to have more information is mind-blowing," Pena's twin sister Nancy told NBC News. "This person is still out there. We need to get them off the street."