Teen Girl Becomes 5th Victim of Suspected South Carolina Serial Killer
Saturday, July 04, 2009
A sketch of the serial killer police in rural South Carolina believe murdered four people; the suspect still is on the loose.
Authorities say a teen girl shot in father’s store is the fifth victim of suspected South Carolina serial killer.
Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler says Abby Tyler, 15, died as a result to gunshot injuries. Her death comes two days after a shooting at her family’s small furniture and appliance store in Gaffney, S.C. on Thursday.
The teen’s father, Stephen Tyler, 45, was also shot and killed Thursday at Tyler Home Center.
Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said Stephen Tyler’s shooting death and those of three others since last Saturday — a peach farmer, an elderly woman and her daughter — are connected.
“We’re concerned,” Blanton told reporters Friday. “We’re dealing with a man that’s killed four people.”
The suspect is described as 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, with blue eyes. Blanton classified him as a serial killer.
Police released a sketch Friday of the serial killer on the loose who they believe murdered the people in six days in rural South Carolina.
Investigators don’t know exactly who he is or whether he is familiar with the area.
Earlier reports that the killer was driving a dark blue van haven’t panned out, according to Blanton.
He said it isn’t clear whether the victims and the suspect knew each other.
“There’s no evidence there is a hit list,” Blanton said. “There’s no evidence he knows the victims. There’s no evidence the victims are connected (to each other).”
The murders all happened within 10 miles of each other in Cherokee, a county of 54,000 people about 50 miles south on Interstate 85 from Charlotte, N.C.
“This person is gonna be somebody that not a lot of people pay attention to or give a second look to,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright, whose department has joined the investigation, told FOX News on Friday. “Obviously, he’s either really good or really lucky.”
Thursday’s killing happened one day and about 7 miles from where family members found the bodies of 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, bound and shot in Linder’s home.
Blanton would not say if Tyler and his daughter were also bound.
The killing spree began last Saturday about 10 miles from Tyler’s shop. Peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, was found shot in his living room. Investigators said he appeared to have been robbed, but they haven’t determined if anything was taken in the latest killings.
The sheriff said evidence makes it obvious that Cash’s killing is linked to the deaths of the women, but he refused to give details.
He said the killer appears to have first spoken with Cash’s wife about buying hay in a ruse to commit the crime. She left and then came home a few hours later to find her husband’s body.
“We think she may have been his intended victim,” the sheriff said. He theorized Thursday that the killer could be targeting women.
Cherokee County saw just six homicides in all of 2008, which was double the number reported in 2007.
At least 30 investigators from across the region are working on the case, and Blanton canceled all vacation and regular days off for his officers. He wants anyone living in the area to be vigilant and call in any tips, large or small. He also asked any door-to-door salesmen to stop working until the case is solved.
“We know we are dealing with a dangerous person,” Blanton said. “And we know through the investigation that he is unpredictable.”
Residents are on edge, according to the sheriff.
“There is fear in our community,” Blanton said.