Detroit serial killer investigation: What we know about the search for victims

By Shawn Ley - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - The man police suspect is connected to the Detroit serial killer case is in custody and investigators are looking for additional victims in Metro Detroit and other states.

The investigation began March 19, when the body of 52-year-old Nancy Harrison was found in a vacant home on Conventry Street on Detroit's east side.

“Initially, we believed she died as a result of a drug overdose. May 20th the medical examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma,” Detroit police Cheif James Craig said.

On May 24, the body of 53-year-old Travesene Ellis was discovered on Detroit's east side.

“There were similar aspects to this crime similar so there was a cause for concern," Craig.

Sources confirmed to Local 4 that both of their bodies were "posed" by the killer in a kneeling position.

The body of 55-year-old Tammy Jones was found in another abandoned home June 5. That day, Craig announced that the police department was investigating a possible serial killer in Detroit.

Police named Deangelo Martin, 34, as a person of interest in the case. He was located at a bus stop at 7 Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue. Sources confirmed to Local 4 that police are linking a possible fourth victim to Martin.

In February of 2018, security camera footage surfaced of a man dragging a woman's lifeless body out of a vacant home on the city's west side. The victim was Annetta Nelson, 58. Police arrested a man but prosecutors cleared him.

Police now believe the man in the video is Deangelo Martin. Sources have told Local 4 that the common denominator linking Martin to Nelson's murder is DNA.

Police got Martin's DNA from an attack on a 26-year-old woman. Her family said she was stabbed and sexually assaulted May 7. Martin has been charged with attempted murder and sexual assault in connection with the alleged attack.

A missing woman named Deborah Reynolds was found with Martin last summer. Martin was living in a vacant home on Annin Street near Woodward Avenue. Last December, human remains were found in that home. DNA tests are being done to see if the remains belong to Reynolds.

Not far away, the body of Yvonne Cobern was found in a vacant home wrapped in a carpet. A DNA test is being conducted in that case, as well.

Police are checking with police agencies out of state to see if they have unsolved murders that match what police call Martin's signatures.

Investigators are also using an FBI database to compare those signatures with murders of other women in other states.


Victims

  • Nancy Harrison - Body discovered March 19 on Coventry Street -- she is considered the first victim.
  • Travesene Ellis - Body discovered May 24 on Linnhurst Street -- she is considered the second victim.
  • Tamara M. Jones, who was found in a vacant house on Mack Avenue on June 5.
  • Anyone with information should contact police at 313-596-2260.

Investigation continues

  • Deborah Reynolds was last seen with Martin in August. Human remains were discovered  Dec. 22, 2018, inside an abandoned home, and police are awaiting DNA tests to confirm if the remains belong to Reynolds. Read more here.
  • Police are investigating to determine if the death of Annetta Nelson is connected to the serial killings. The 58-year-old mother of two was found dead on Detroit's west side. Read more here.
  • Police are investigating the death of Yvonne Cobern, who was found at a vacant home on Brentwood Street wrapped in carpet.

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