Mystery Woman May Be Serial Killer Victim
A man police suspect is a serial killer is awaiting trial in Los Angeles for two murders and an attempted murder. Authorities are investigating whether there are more victims in a spree that may have lasted 15 years or more. They’re also seeking the public’s help in identifying a woman photographed with the alleged murderer — a woman they believe may be a victim of Michael Gargiulo.
Michael Gargiulo, 32, an air conditioning repairman from Santa Monica has been in custody since July for a separate knife attacks and could face murder charges as soon as next week, police said.
Santa Monica police Lt. Darrell Lowe said DNA collected from a crime scene last spring helped link Gargiulo to the stabbing deaths of women from Los Angeles, suburban Chicago and Monterey Park. Even though these murders didn’t seem connected at first, there was a pattern: women stabbed late at night, alone in their homes, with no apparent motive.
Allegedly, his first victim was Ashley Ellerin – she was found stabbed to death in her apartment. In 2005, just 40 miles away, another young woman, Maria Bruno, was killed in a similar manner – a stabbing so vicious it shocked police: “I’ve been a murder cop almost 18 years,” says Detective Mark Lillienfeld of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, “and it’s the most violent murder I ever saw, bar none.”
Last year, in Santa Monica, Calif., Kauffman continued, a woman was stabbed, but managed to fight back. DNA from blood at the scene led to the arrest of Gargiulo, and tied him to another murder, in Chicago, 15 years ago.
Gargiulo’s attorney, Anthony Salerno, said his client denies involvement in any of the attacks and “thinks the police are out to get him. There’s nothing physical that in any way substantially links him to any of these crimes, It’s simply a matter of the fact that he lived nearby and knew the victims. If there is any DNA evidence, that would be a surprise to me,”he said.
However, police believe there may be at least one additional victim, but they have no idea who the woman is – “Photos shown on the broadcast depict the woman posing with Gargiulo and, says Lillienfeld, come from the hard drive of a computer shared by Mr. Gargiulo and a former girl friend.”
“We believe the photograph(s) (were) taken in Southern California, probably in 2001 or 2002. … (They) look like they were taken in a park or some kind of outdoor setting. But … we have been unable, at this point in time, to identify who this woman is.” Police is afraid that she fits the pattern, since she appears physically very, very similar to those he is charged with murdering or attempting to murder.
Anyone who might have information about the woman’s identity is asked to call Los Angeles detectives at (323) 890-5500.
-article from CBS news rewritten and adapted by admin-