Monday, April 06, 2009
Los Angeles Times: "The growing database includes more than 500 female victims, most of whom were killed and their bodies dumped at truck stops, motels and other spots along popular trucking routes crisscrossing the U.S.
By Scott Glover
April 5, 2009
The FBI suspects that serial killers working as long-haul truckers are responsible for the slayings of hundreds of prostitutes, hitchhikers and stranded motorists whose bodies have been dumped near highways over the last three decades.
Federal authorities first made the connection about five years ago while helping police link a trucker to a string of unsolved killings along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma and several other states. After that, the FBI launched the Highway Serial Killings Initiative to track suspicious slayings and suspect truckers.
A computer database maintained by the FBI has grown to include information on more than 500 female crime victims, most of whom were killed and their bodies discarded at truck stops, motels and other locations along popular trucking routes crisscrossing the U.S.
The database also has information on scores of truckers who've been charged with killings or rapes committed near highways or who are suspects in such crimes, officials said. Authorities said they do not have statistics on whether driving trucks ranks high on the list of occupations of known serial killers.
But the pattern in roadside body dumps and other evidence has prompted many investigators to speculate that the mobility, lack of supervision and access to potential victims that come with the job make it a good cover for someone inclined to kill.
"You've got a mobile crime scene," one investigator said. "You can pick a girl up on the East Coast, kill her two states away and then dump her three states after that."
Although some local police agencies have been briefed on the program, the FBI had not publicized its existence outside law enforcement until earlier this year, when officials agreed to show The Times the inner workings of the operation and share details of some of their cases."