Police: DNA links third death to 'Kensington Strangler'

PHILADELPHIA - December 21, 2010

By definition, with the confirmation of a third victim, police are dealing with a serial killer.

Authorities say DNA evidence proves that 27-year-old Casey Mahoney is the latest victim of the 'Strangler.'

Mahoney, of East Stroudsburg, was found dead in a wooded area near a set of train tracks on the 100 block of East Tusculum last Wednesday night. The area, police say, is known to be used by drug users.

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

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

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

Mayor Michael Nutter announced Tuesday morning that the reward for the arrest and conviction of the Kensington Strangler now totals $37,000.

The morning news conference took place at the scene where one of the victims, Nicole Piacentini, was found dead.

$25,000 of the reward is being provided by the city of Philadelphia and the remaining $5,000 is being supplied by the Citizens Crime Commission. Both of which will be paid out with the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible.

An additional reward of $5,000 for the DNA match and arrest of the Strangler is being provided by the Fraternal Order of Police plus another $2,000 provided by City Councilman Frank DiCicco.

To provide information on a suspect you are urged to call 911, or use the following phone numbers:

  • Homicide Unit: 215-686-3335 or 215-686-3336
  • Special Victims:215-685-3251
Anyone with information can also submit a tip on the Philadelphia Police website.

The suspect is described as a black man in his early 20s standing about 5'7" to 5'10" tall and 170 pounds, who walks with a distinctive gait, favoring his left foot. He has also been described as having long sideburns and listens to an iPod.

Police released a composite sketch of the killer. They also want to talk to the man captured on surveillance video, which was also distributed to the public.

During the morning news conference, Mayor Nutter said that while officials want everyone to keep their eyes open, vigilantism will not be tolerated.

"We are serious about getting this psycho off the streets of Philadelphia. We will not put up with, or tolerate, this type of insanity on our streets," Nutter said. "If you have information call 911 immediately. Do not try to take any action on your own. That's what law enforcement is about."

That warning came after a Philadelphia man, fearing vigilantes, had to call police for help after someone falsely posted his picture on fliers naming him as the suspect in the string of strangling deaths.

Philadelphia police say someone distributed fliers bearing the man's name, address and photo in the city's Kensington neighborhood, identifying him as the suspected Kensington Strangler.

The flier found its way to Facebook, where it was posted on a group called "Catch the Kensington Strangler before he catches someone you love."

Police say whoever distributed the fliers could face charges if caught.

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.