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Serial killer Arthur Shawcross murdered 11 women from 1988 to 1990 in upstate New York, earning the nickname "The Genessee River Killer."
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She died of asphyxia, and her body had been dumped in a similar manner to Blackburn's corpse. Her body, however, was found far from the original murder scene, so again the possibility that a serial killer was at work was not recognized.
On October 21, 1989, the body of homeless woman Dorothy Keeler, aged 59, was discovered followed six days later by another prostitute, Patricia Ives, in the same area. Both had been asphyxiated and the press started to show an interest as the cases were linked. They nicknamed the offender "The Genessee River Killer."
In all the previous cases at least some attempt at concealment had been made, which police felt indicated previous criminal or military experience. They began to advise prostitutes working in the area to exercise caution, and sought as much information as possible about strangers operating in the area. They also began checking criminal records for offenders who might be living in the immediate area. Shawcross' sealed criminal record meant that he shielded him from police scrutiny.
As prostitutes continued to disappear, it became apparent that the killer must be someone familiar to the women who worked in the area. Police were able to piece together a description of a regular client called "Mitch" or "Mike." Women said this particular john was prone to violence.
Then the body of 26-year-old June Stott, who was neither a prostitute nor drug user, was found on Thanksgiving Day. She had been strangled, anally mutilated after death, had her labia removed, and was gutted from throat to crotch like a wild animal.
With the body count mounting, the police sought assistance from FBI profilers. They divided the 11 unsolved prostitute murders into sub-groups according to method and position. They developed a profile that described the killer as a white male in his 20s or 30s, who was strong, probably with a previous criminal record, familiar with the area, and comfortable enough with the victims that they would enter his vehicle without question.
The lack of sexual interference indicated it might be someone with sexual dysfunction. The post-mortem injury inflicted on June Stott, and not on any other victim, indicated that the killer was becoming more comfortable around corpses, probably returning to the crime scene again later to relive the attack.
The discovery of the body of Elizabeth Gibson, on November 27, brought a breakthrough: suspect "Mitch" had been seen with her shortly before her disappearance, but they seemed no closer to establishing his identity. Police tried various tactics, including canvassing all the local bars, to no avail.
When a pair of discarded jeans was discovered near the river on December 31, 1989, containing an ID card for a girl named Felicia Stephens, police began an aerial search of the surrounding area. On January 2, 1990, a helicopter spotted what appeared to be a naked female body lying on the ice surface of the river by a bridge in the forest.
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