Detroit police are mulling the prospects of dealing with a potential serial killer, after three of four women found dead in car trunks around the same area had placed ads for escort services on the same Web site.
Police Chief Ralph Godbee called the links disconcerting though he was unwilling to call the murders the work of a serial killer.
Three of the four women found dead had placed sex-related ads on backpage.com, a site that has drawn the ire of attorneys general around the country for advertising adult services.
The link between the three females and this website specifically dealt with prearranged adult dating services, Godbee said. We are not passing judgment on any individual who is utilizing this website, yet we felt it was imperative to alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the Internet, can be extremely dangerous.
The two latest victims, women ages 28 and 29, were in the trunks of flaming cars, found in garages on at about 1 a.m. Christmas morning. Their cause of death was yet to be determined.
They follow the discovery of Demesha Hunt, 24, and Renisha Landers, 23, discovered on Dec. 19 in the trunk of a car parked in a vacant home's driveway after being reported missing.
Police did not identify the two latest victims, and did not clarify which of the three used backpage.com. The Web site is reminiscent of an early Craigslist, featuring everything from apartment listings to an adult services section. Its blatant display of the sex ads earned it the ire of Michigan and Illinois' attorneys general, who wrote to the site demanding it explain how it was not promoting prostitution.
It is not the first time backpage.com earned negative press in the Detroit area. In early December, a woman was indicted for allegedly sending out a 16-year-old girl on sex dates and pocketing 40 percent of the revenue.