Preliminary FBI finding:
Juarez slayings not the work of one

Associated Press - 3/13/99

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - There is no indication that the unsolved deaths of women in Juarez are the work of a lone killer, according to a team of FBI experts who this week reviewed 78 of the killings across the border.

``The team determined that the majority of cases were single homicides (and) ... it is too premature and irresponsible to state that a serial killer is loose in Juarez,'' said a statement issued Friday by the four FBI agents and Mexican authorities.

The agents, who specialize in psychological profiles, spent the week collecting information in Juarez, where a total of 174 women have been slain since 1993. That total includes victims of drug, gang and domestic violence, Mexican state prosecutors have said.

At least 54 of the cases are classified by police as ``sexual murders'' in which most victims were raped and then strangled or stabbed, their bodies dumped in the desert on the outskirts of town. At least a dozen of the victims worked in the booming assembly plants known as maquiladoras.

The FBI team's statement contradicted earlier findings by former FBI profiler Robert Ressler, who said he believes a serial killer was behind some of the deaths.

The FBI agents said they will return to their headquarters in Quantico, Va., to review 23 case files they believe merit more scrutiny, the El Paso Times reported in Saturday's edition.

The agents' identities and the exact nature of their day-to-day work in Juarez were kept confidential. Mexican authorities said the agents were acting as consultants and were not participating as field investigators.

Arturo Gonzales Rascon, Chihuahua's state attorney general, said his staff concurred with the FBI agents' initial impressions. He told the newspaper the agents will return in April to continue to review case files and ultimately provide a more comprehensive report of their findings.

Members of the El Paso Police Department and El Paso's FBI office met with Gonzales and his staff Friday concerning the FBI's work in Juarez. Gonzales said they agreed to continue working together to solve the murders.

``The task of bringing to justice those individuals who have committed crimes against women in Juarez will continue,'' they said in the joint statement.

AP-WS-03-13-99 0314EST

1999 San Antonio Express-News