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20040620: Experts back up possibility of a serial killer FL Port Salerno Serial Killer News
When he kills, it's rarely with a gun. A firearm is too impersonal for a serial murderer, who enjoys physical contact with his prey. That's why his victims usually are beaten, stabbed or choked to death...The strangulations of Jackie Bradley, Carrie Caughey and Christal Wiggins in the Port Salerno area in recent weeks share some similarities to the work of serial killers, according to experts who are not involved in the case. The number of victims, their lifestyles, cause of death and the locations of the bodies indicate that the Martin County Sheriff's Office could be looking for an assailant who is waiting for the opportunity to strike again..."Just on a statistical basis, when you have this many bodies showing up in the same area, it's certainly suggestive of a serial killer," said retired FBI agent Joe Navarro, who for 13 years was the agency's senior criminal profiler in Tampa. .."It's a high probability.".. The decomposed corpses of the three women were found within a 10-week span, beginning March 31 when Bradley, 43, was discovered half-naked in Golden Gate, in a ditch between two ponds. A mile-and-a-half away in Port Salerno, near another retention pond, Caughey, 18, was found on June 3. Four days later and several hundred yards away, police discovered Wiggins, 29, after her mother filed a missing person report... The sheriff's office and Treasure Coast medical examiner will not talk about evidence, including clues of sexual assault, which is a key motive for most serial killers. But Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder has said he believes there is one killer and that the culprit is not selecting victims on a whim... "This is not the kind of case where people need to be boarding up windows against a random killer," Crowder said. "We think more than likely there is some connection between the potential suspect and the individuals who have been victimized.".. Serial murderers tend to be selective, experts say. They target a certain type of victim and prefer to work in familiar territory. "Green River Killer" Gary Ridgway, who pleaded guilty seven months ago, strangled prostitutes and runaways in the Pacific Northwest. Wayne Williams, who's been in a Georgia prison since 1981, attacked black youths in Atlanta. The cannibalistic necrophiliac from Milwaukee, Jeffrey Dahmer, liked young men and boys. He was murdered in prison 10 years ago... "Serial killers do look for victims. They're very familiar with their victim contact sites and the body recovery sites," said Robert Keppel, a Texas college professor, author and consultant who investigated the infamous Ted Bundy and counseled police on the Williams and Ridgway cases, among many others... "They go to places they know or become familiar with. Ted Bundy was familiar with college campuses and ski towns. That's what he liked.".. Bradley, Caughey and Wiggins shared a similar lifestyle on the fringes and in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Bradley was homeless and an alcoholic, who used several aliases even though she had no criminal record. Caughey, a runaway with a drug problem and a history of petty thefts, had been seen working the streets with Wiggins, a well-known neighborhood prostitute with a long criminal record... "Serial killers do have a preference for a particular type of woman," Navarro said. "Some of them feel they are cleansing the world by going after women in the sex trade. It's more personal than one would think.".. Keppel says the often-held belief that most serial killers are Caucasian is a dangerous assumption. In ethnically diverse Port Salerno, where whites, blacks and Hispanics live side by side, that supposition could be particularly misleading... "The two most frequently missed categories when trying to profile a serial killer are age and race," Keppel said... The sheriff's office, which is being assisted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said it is working overtime on the case, pursuing leads, looking at evidence and conducting interviews... "This is the grueling part of the investigation," said Sgt. Jenell Atlas, sheriff's office spokeswoman. "We're putting in long hours, and I mean past midnight, piecing together evidence. We're still getting a lot of calls from people with tips. Most of them turn out to be nothing, but it's up to us to make that decision. We still want people to call.".. The sheriff's office believes the killer knew his victims. Retired FBI profiler and hostage negotiator Clinton Van Zandt, who heads a Virginia consulting company, said that makes sense. People like Bradley, Caughey and Wiggins are usually street-savvy, with a honed intuition for trouble, he said... "They rely on those instincts to stay alive," said Van Zandt, who worked on the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "Prostitutes, especially, develop a sixth sense. Somehow the killer had to overcome those instincts... "He probably knows the local area and has a history of other crimes. Maybe his work took him into proximity of those ponds. This guy didn't just fall off the turnip truck," he said... "If you've got three victims, this person will kill again. This is somebody the police have to find."
 

20040608: Trio of slayings fuels serial-killer concerns in Port Salerno FL Port Salerno Serial Killer News
Jacqueline BRADLEY, 43, a homeless woman, was strangled and dumped in a canal. Her body was found on March 31..Carrie Ann CAUGHEY, 18, a teen runaway, was strangled and dumped on the bank of a lake, found Thursday..Christal Dawn WIGGINS, 29, was strangled, too, authorities announced Tuesday, a day after finding her body in the woods off Cove Road..WIGGINS, who would have turned 30 Tuesday, was a prostitute with a criminal record that included battery, burglary and drug possession charges, police and court records show. She was in the St. Lucie County Jail two weeks ago on drug charges and driving offenses..BRADLEY and CAUGHEY also led troubled lives, said Martin County Sheriff's Sgt. Jenell Atlas...BRADLEY, 43, left her family in Indiana and became an alcoholic living in the woods of Martin County. CAUGHEY, 18, used her parents' home in Hobe Sound as a base but would disappear for days. She had a history of petty theft arrests and had been committed to a drug treatment clinic in Palm Beach County...The official announcement of how WIGGINS died fueled fears of a serial killer throughout surrounding Port Salerno neighborhoods, leaving residents abuzz and wondering when the spree would end...Residents here want to know why the women were killed -- and who did it...The killings brought back memories and the fear from the 1997 killings of two women in the same area. One was beaten and one was bludgeoned. Sheriff's detectives then described the incidents as the work of a serial killer...No one has been charged in those cases. Authorities said this week they don't think they are connected to the recent killings.
 


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