Mother of Kensington assault victim speaks

December 21, 2010 4:45:16 AM PST
A woman whose body was found in a vacant lot had been strangled and sexually assaulted and may be the third victim of a serial strangler, police said Thursday.

Police Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn announced the results of an autopsy on the 27-year-old woman at a news conference Thursday. It appears the killing may be connected to the person responsible for two earlier murders in the city's Kensington section, Blackburn said.

"Based on similarities, it appears that it may be the work of the individual responsible for the first two murders," Blackburn said.

The woman, whose name wasn't released, was found dead in a wooded area near a set of train tracks on the 100 block of East Tusculum on Wednesday night. The area, police say, is known to be used by drug users.

According to police, she was nude from the waist down, was strangled and appeared to have been sexually assaulted, as were the other two victims.

The body was found blocks from where the two earlier victims, Elaine Goldberg, 21, and Nicole Piacentini, 35, were discovered last month. DNA evidence has determined that those two killings are linked.

At least three other women have reported being attacked by a man who choked, sexually assaulted or hit them, police said.

One of the victims is a 32-year-old woman who was walking to her sister's home when a man ambushed her on East Sergeant Street, forced her into an alley and began to punch and choke her.

The mother of that victim spoke exclusively to Action News. She asked that she not to be identified. The mother reacted to what appears to be the latest attack by the strangler.

"I feel sorry for her relatives; my heart goes out to them. I know the mother's pain and I'm sorry," the mother said.

The mother of the 32-year-old described how her daughter fought back the attacker.

"She punched him, kicked him, everything. Even though he hit her in the head with a cinder block, she still fought him back," her mother said. "She told me, 'Mom, I know if I didn't fight him back, that was it. I was never gonna fight nobody again.'"

She says her daughter survived, but now is unable to sleep very well.

"Right now, she's in hiding and that's how we want it to stay. She's like a nervous wreck; she's not sleeping too good anyway, she's afraid to go to sleep," the mother said.

Police have been scouring the neighborhood for a suspect or suspects, and last week they released surveillance video of a man they think may be connected to the attacks.

Authorites are now waiting for DNA evidence which could conclusively link the strangler to this latest killing.

While police are not yet identifying the latest victim, they say she is known to authorities, although they would not elaborate.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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