Two More Florida Students Slain, But Police See No Link to Earlier Killings
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ The terror that gripped this college town last fall returned when two women students were found slain in their apartment. But police say the new deaths aren’t linked to five mutilation slayings last year.
″Just when we feel safe, it’s happening all over again,″ said Dorie Weekley, University of Florida student.
The bodies of students Eleanor Anne Grace, 20, of Fort Myers, and Carla Marie McKishnie, 22, of Brandon, were found Friday by a boyfriend of one of the victims. He became concerned and broke into their off-campus apartment, police said.
John Joyce, a spokesman for a special task force formed after last year’s five slayings, said it appeared the women were strangled, but autopsies had not been completed.
Authorities quickly discounted any link between the latest slayings and last year’s, which remain unsolved.
″There is no indication whatsoever that this is connected with the serial homicides that took place in the fall of last year,″ said Lt. Spencer Mann, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Although the killings don’t seem connected, Mann said they may have been the work of a copycat killer, or a killer who could strike again.
Gov. Lawton Chiles ordered 20 to 25 Florida Highway Patrol troopers into Gainesville Friday night for extra security.
Students still worry.
″I pray it doesn’t keep going on,″ said student Petra Magnusdottie of Iceland.
Police emphasized the differences between this week’s slayings and last year’s.
″The crime scene does not look like the crime scenes that we encountered earlier last year,″ Joyce said.
The victims of the earlier slayings were mutilated and the two women killed this week were not, police said.
John Lombardi, president of the 34,000-student school, tried to reassure students and their families that last summer’s nightmare was not being repeated.
″The police tell us these two tragic murders are not related, as far as they’re able to determine, to the previous difficulty and tragedy we had on this campus last fall,″ he said.
McKishnie, a graduate student with an education degree, and Grace, a sophomore psychology major, were among about 16,000 students enrolled in summer classes as of Friday.
They lived about a mile from the apartment where two of last summer’s victims were killed.
Their apartment also was in the same complex where student Tiffany Sessions lived. Sessions disappeared while jogging in 1989 and was never found.
Last summer’s slayings of Sonya Larsen, Christina Powell, Christa Hoyt, Tracy Paules and Manual Taboada set off one of the most intensive investigations in state history. The bodies of the five were found between Aug. 26 and Aug. 28.
Police have said Danny Rolling, who is jailed on unrelated charges, is a suspect in the slayings, but he has never been charged.
Former University of Florida student Edward Humphrey, who had earlier been named as a suspect, also has not been ruled out, said state Attorney Len Register. Humphrey, who also has not been charged, is in a state hospital for beating his grandmother.
Prosecutors have said evidence against Rolling and Humphrey will be presented to a grand jury later this year.