Mother of strangulation victim wants justice

JUNIATA - December 5, 2010

"She was life, she was full of life," Karen Emery said to Action News, speaking about her 23-year-old daughter Allison Edwards.

Allison, a young mother of a 5-year-old, was struggling with a longtime addiction to heroin, but recently found sobriety and a new job.

"She was bathing dogs and cutting their nails, thus the puppy that we received. She was going to go to grooming school in January," Karen said.

But six months into a good stretch, Emery says her daughter relapsed and found herself in the Juniata section of Philadelphia to get clean. But her quest to turn things around would never come to fruition.

Edwards was found murdered Friday night in the living room of a second floor apartment on the 3800 block of Glendale Street.

The medical examiner says she was strangled.

"When I thought it was an overdose it was bad, but then when I got a call the next morning, when they were doing the autopsy, that there were drugs in her system, but not enough to kill her, she was manually strangled to death, that was like how much worse can this nightmare go?" Emery said.

Police say Edwards did not live at the apartment where she was found.

Edwards was found partially clothed. Her fate was similar that of two other women who were killed in Kensington last month.

On November 3rd the body of 21-year-old nursing student Elaine Goldberg was found strangled and partially clothed in a lot on the 2800 block of Ruth Street. 10 days later the body of 35-year-old Nicole Piacentini was discovered behind an abandoned building on the 1900 block of East Cumberland - also partially clothed and strangled.

Police say DNA connects those two attacks to the same man.

Two women have come forward to tell police they were also attacked and choked in that same area, and one was able to provide a description of her attacker. A composite sketch of that man was released, but the question remains if he was the one responsible for the two DNA-connected deaths and for the strangulation death of Allison Edwards.

Whether or not it's the same man involved in all three crimes, all this mother can hope for is justice.

"I'm gonna miss her a whole bunch. I just so hope that the person that did this to her will be caught; I, in my heart, know she could've gotten sober again, I really do," Karen said.

One difference in the cases, however, is Allison Edwards was found inside an apartment, whereas the bodies of both Elaine Goldberg and Nicole Piacentini were discovered outdoors. The task force will be looking at all of the elements to figure out if there is a serial strangler out there.

In the meantime, residents in Juniata are clearly concerned.

"It makes me scared, I mean I'm scared," said Nida Shale of Juniata Park. "I live right here and I'm scared. What is going on?"

For more information on Allison Edwards' funeral arrangements and donations, click here.

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