FIVE victims who were brutally shot and killed in a series of violent attacks have been identified as police officers desperately search for a suspected serial killer.
California investigators have found uncanny similarities in the heartbreaking deaths after it was revealed each victim was a Hispanic male, between the ages of 21 and 54.
The San Joaquin County Medical Examiner’s Office released the names of the most recent victims believed to be linked to the same killer — Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, Salvador William Dubedy Jr., 43, Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, and Juan Cruz, 52.
The incidents, which took place from July 8 to September 27, appear to be linked as each shooting occurred in the dark when the victims were alone, said Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden.
Although little is known about the potential suspect or suspects, police released a haunting image of a dark figure walking the street who they believe may be linked to the crimes.
The serial killings come as a total of 43 murders took place in Stockton, California this year, a 33 percent increase from the previous year.
Police told ABC News that all of the victims were ambushed, none were robbed, and none of the killings were drug or gang related.
The suspect remains at large, but a criminologist said the locations of the killings could lead to a speedy arrest.
“The reason I think he’s getting caught is because he’s sort of ‘geographically stable,'” David Wilson, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, told Newsweek.
“In other words, he doesn’t move very far. He does not cross state borders. It does not travel great distances to kill its victims.
“He focuses his victims on the town of Stockton. And if you’re geographically stable that way, rather than being geographically transient, the chances of you getting caught are a lot higher.”
Wilson, who is not actively working on the case, believes investigators should take a close look at the first murder since the killer may have left additional clues.
“Because if this is the first in this series of murders, the killer is usually inexperienced and will therefore make mistakes,” said the professor.
“And these mistakes often allow law enforcement to gather forensic clues that will prove useful in identifying a perpetrator.”
Police assembled a team of detectives, task force officers, camera room operators and crime analysts to solve the crime.
Although all of the victims were identified as Hispanic males, investigators said they do not suspect the killings to be hate crimes.
“At this time, we do not know if there is one suspect or multiple suspects committing these murders,” Stockton Police said.
Police Chief Stanley McFadden said he believes the pattern is significant enough to warn the public at a recent news conference.
According to Newsweek, McFadden elaborated further on the chilling overlap between the cases, saying, “We see some similarity where they’re really areas of darkness.
“It’s really areas where the person is alone, maybe doesn’t even know it’s coming, and that’s kind of the way [we’re] Look at some of the latest.
“People are on their own, they don’t have the situational awareness that we would like.”
None of the victims were robbed, and all of the crimes occurred when the victims were alone in areas where there were no surveillance cameras.
“HAVE NOT EXCLUDED ANYTHING”
But he also noted that they “haven’t ruled anything out”.
He also warned the public against traveling alone in the dark and traveling through remote locations.
“I know it makes a lot of people nervous when they hear that out there,” McFadden said.
“And I’m just here to say that we have no evidence of that.
“We’re seeing some patterns and similarities in some of our more recent murders, which we’re looking at more closely.
“We don’t know if it’s one person or if it’s five or six people. We just don’t have that information right now,” McFadden said.
The city of Stockton has announced a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and $10,000 from Stockton Crime Stoppers, totaling $85,000.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6357022/stockton-serial-killer-victims-identified/ Heartbreaking update on the Stockton ‘serial killer’ as 5 victims identified and police issue warning of suspect’s eerie pattern