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DNA links 5 women's slayings in Milwaukee

By James A. Carlson
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — DNA has linked one unknown person to the killings of five prostitutes over two decades in Milwaukee, the city where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer once cruised gay bars for victims, police say.

As a result, more than 20 DNA samples from other unsolved homicides of prostitutes are being sent to the state crime laboratory to see if they might have been linked to the same killer, police Chief Edward Flynn said at a news conference Monday.

Flynn said the unknown killer has never been arrested for a felony, which is Wisconsin's basis for those who must submit to DNA testing.

"He does not appear in any DNA database" checked by investigators, the chief said.

The first two victims linked by the killer's DNA died in October 1986, Flynn said. Another was killed in 1995, one in 1997 and the most recent in April 2007. He said all five were known prostitutes.

The killer's DNA was also found on the body of a 16-year-old female drug abuser slain in 1995. However, Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said police believe the man suspected in the five other slayings had sex with the 16-year-old but and didn't kill her.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said improved technology makes it more likely the killer can be found. "We're convinced we're going to be able to bring justice to these victims and their families," Chisholm said.

Dahmer admitted killing 17 men and boys between 1978 and his arrest in 1991 at his Milwaukee apartment, where parts of some of his victims were found. He was serving multiple life terms when a fellow prison inmate beat him to death in 1994.

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