ABC News: Search for possible serial killer in Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - February 10, 2014

Two people have been murdered inside their homes in recent months with no sign of forced entry. The shootings bear similarities to a decade-old unsolved murder.

The most recent shooting came Thursday when Ruthanne Lodato, 59, was shot and killed after a knock at her door around 11:30 a.m. A caregiver was also shot, but survived.

Investigators believe an older man with a white beard was the gunman, pulling out a gun and firing repeatedly when the door opened. Police have released a sketch of the suspect. The man is described as balding with some gray hair, a beard and wearing a tan jacket.

Resident Daniel Bender told ABC News that the shooting has had a profound impact on the region.

"It touches us all whether you knew her directly or not," he said. "It ripples out. You can't help but be affected by it."

Ellen Epstein, who owns a dog-walking company, said the neighborhood is usually quiet and calm.

"Everybody's conjecturing a million things," she told ABC News. "It's really hard to believe that in a neighborhood like this, nobody saw the perpetrator. That's what's really strange."

Some of the neighborhood fear involves the shooting's similarity to previous crimes. In November, Ron Kirby, a transportation official, was gunned down in his home.

Nancy Dunning, a real estate agent, was also shot and killed inside her home in 2003.

All of the shootings happened within two miles of each other, during the late morning or early afternoon with no forced entry.

While police are looking for connections between the crimes, Alexandria Mayor William Euille wants the investigation to unfold before making any judgment.

"Residents have a right to be concerned, but I don't want to characterize it that there is a serial killer floating around this city," Euille said.

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