What we know: Detroit police investigating potential serial killer, rapist targeting sex workers

By Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer, Koco McAboy - Reporter

DETROIT - Authorities are investigating a potential serial killer and rapist, believed to be targeting sex workers on Detroit's east side.

According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, there are three killings they believe to have been committed by one man. All three women were sex workers in their early 50s who, they believe, were lured to vacant dwellings on the east side of the city. 

Authorities are investigating a potential serial killer and rapist, believed to be targeting sex workers on Detroit's east side. (WDIV)

Craig is asking sex workers and residents who live near vacant dwellings and may have seen something to come forward with information. He said apprehending the killer is DPD's "highest priority."

He said the investigation has nothing to do with apprehending and charging sex workers and "this is about apprehending a very violent suspect and getting him off the street."

"We're not here to arrest you," Craig said. "We're going to make sure you're safe."

Craig said because the buildings are vacant, it can take days before bodies are found. By the time the bodies are found, they are partially decomposed and difficult to identify. 

“We are going to find him because there is a sex worker or someone who lives around a vacant dwelling who may have seen something," Craig said. "That will be very helpful to us.”

Watch the report from Local 4 News at 5 below:

A woman's naked body was found by a sex worker Wednesday morning in a vacant home in the 3000 block of Mack Avenue, south of the intersection of Mt. Elliott Street and Gratiot Avenue.

ORIGINAL STORY: Body found in vacant house on Mack in Detroit

This woman is the third victim police have connected. 

Authorities are investigating a potential serial killer and rapist, believed to be targeting sex workers on Detroit's east side. (WDIV)

The first victim was found in a home in the 2000 block Coventry Street. She was discovered on March 19. It was believed she initially died from a drug overdose, but further investigation revealed she was killed from blunt force trauma.

The second victim was found in the 13000 block of Linnhurst Street. She was found on May 24.
It is unknown if there are more victims. 

"We are not trying to create fear," Craig said. "But it’s cause for concern for members of our community who are sex workers."

Craig dispelled rumors that other killings have been connected and said there's a pattern that makes police believe it's one man responsible, and that no pattern is seen with deaths on the city's west side.

"We are a transparent police agency. We talk about what we can talk about," Craig said.

Community activists are working with the police to help find out if anyone in the sex worker community knows anything.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detroit police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-Speak-Up.

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