HOUSTON — Law enforcement officials from across the South said Friday that they were launching an investigation to determine whether a single killer was responsible for the deaths of at least seven women in the last eight months.
The decision was announced after a meeting in Oklahoma City of more than 40 officers from 17 law enforcement agencies. After detecting similarities in a number of the slayings, investigators from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee met to compare notes and determine whether a serial killer could be stalking women in the region.
The meeting was closed to the public, and few details were revealed.
Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said that authorities on Friday eliminated from their case list five deaths that appeared to be the result of drug overdoses.
But the slayings of seven other women in 2003 and 2004 are suspected of being connected, Brown said.
Most of the seven were prostitutes who worked at truck stops along major highways, officials said. And most had been strangled, their bodies found under overpasses or bridges, either under highways or near them.