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Can-Pickers Find Sixth Body in Desert

March 16, 1988

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ A couple collecting aluminum cans found the remains of the sixth body discovered in the desert since last fall, and police said they needed an autopsy to determine the victim’s age, sex and cause of death.

However, Police Chief John Scagno said Tuesday the discovery of the exposed, bleached bones on the outskirts of El Paso wasn’t cause for panic.

The sixth body was found Monday afternoon northeast of El Paso, a few hundred yards from where the bodies of five young women were unearthed.

No one has been charged in the desert deaths, which police have said could be the work of a serial killer. However, police have identified a suspect who has been jailed on unrelated sexual assault charges since Oct. 14.

Police took two days to unearth the latest skeletal remains, sifting buckets of excavated dirt.

Scagno would not comment on whether clothing or a weapon was found at the scene.

″The only detail we’re going to tell you is ... the body had (dental) braces,″ Scagno said. ″The body itself is just skeletal remains.″

Skeletons were all that remained of the first five victims.

Scagno said he didn’t know when the autopsy results would be released.

The search for the desert killer began in September, when a utility company employee found the first body while digging a hole near several highways.

Although police concluded their search of the area in January, Scagno said they now plan to start looking again.

The remains of Maria Rosa Casio, 24, and Karen Baker, 20, were found buried close together Sept. 4. The bodies of Desiree Wheatley, 15, and Dawn Smith, 14, were found Oct. 20, about 200 yards from the first two bodies. The body of Angelica Frausto, 17, was found Nov. 3, between the first two pairs of graves.

Ms. Casio, from a Dallas suburb, had been here visiting a relative when she disappeared. The other victims were from El Paso.

The sixth victim’s grave was found a few hundred yards away from the other five graves, Deputy Chief Gus Massey said.

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