FBI says Mexico slayings not work of serial killer

Copyright 1999 Nando Media
Copyright 1999 Reuters News Service

EL PASO, Texas (March 12, 1999 11:38 p.m. EST (http://www.nandotimes.com)

A team of FBI agents investigated the killings of about 100 Mexican women in the northern border town of Cuidad Juarez and concluded they were not the work of a serial killer, the FBI said Friday.

Four agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with Mexican authorities in Cuidad Juarez for five days before arriving at the preliminary conclusion that most of the killings since 1993 were single homicides, the FBI said.

The findings contradict the theories of Mexican law enforcement officials, who say about 25 of the slayings were committed by a serial killer or a group of serial killers.

Robert Ressler, considered one of the foremost experts on serial killers in the United States, went to Juarez about six months ago and concluded that as many as 70 of the slayings were committed by groups of serial killers.

The FBI rejected such claims.

"Upon reviewing these cases, the (FBI) team determined that the majority of the cases were single homicides...," the agency said in a statement. "It would be irresponsible to state that a serial killer is loose in Juarez."

Since 1993 about 100 women, mostly young and poor, have been found murdered in Cuidad Juarez. Many of them were raped, stabbed multiple times, strangled and mutilated. Hundreds of other women are missing in the industrial city, which is located just across the Rio Grande from El Paso.

Two weeks ago Sharif Halil Sharif, an Egyptian chemist living in Juarez, was convicted of one of the killings. Authorities say he is responsible for 13 of the slayings.

Mexican officials asked the United States for help in determining whether the Juarez killings were the work of a serial killer.

Al Cruz, an FBI spokesman in El Paso, said the agents will return to Juarez in April. They will finish reviewing the evidence in about two months and will release their final conclusions thereafter.

Copyright 1999 Nando Media