Police Arrest Suspect In Serial Killings Of Detroit Sex Workers

Photo: Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images.
Detroit police chief James Craig

Authorities have arrested Deangelo Kenneth Martin, 34, as a person of interest in the murders of three women in Detroit. Martin, who police said is homeless, was detained on Friday evening. He was also charged on Monday with one count of assault with intent to murder and four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a separate case.


Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the women's bodies have all been found in vacant houses on the city's east side since March and the murders were believed to be the work of a serial killer. Two of the victims were identified as Nancy Harrison, 52, and Travesene Ellis, 53. The third woman's identity has not been made public yet, although authorities said she is a 55-year-old woman. Authorities said the women were sex workers, although Harrison's family denies this. All of them were found unclothed.

Police have not said why Martin was identified as a suspect or discussed in detail the "signatures" in the murders that hinted at a serial killer, citing an open investigation. "We're still moving forward with that investigation," Craig said at a press conference. "We believe this suspect is tied into all the crimes; we’ll have more information soon."

Martin was charged Monday in connection with the assault of a 26-year-old woman in early May. (Sexual assault survivors are not identified publicly in order to protect their identities.) Authorities said he also attacked a fifth victim, identified only as a woman in her 50s. She was dragged to the same building where the body of the 55-year-old woman was found, but survived. Police are continuing to search abandoned houses in the area for other potential victims.

Martin was denied bond and will remain in custody at the Wayne County Jail. He'll appear before court for a probable-cause hearing on June 20.

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