AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A drifter jailed for allegedly attacking two girls is now linked to nine slayings in five states after confessing to killing a family of four in Illinois in 1987, the Texas Department of Public Safety said today.

Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the killings during an interview in jail Thursday with investigators from the Jefferson County, Ill., sheriff's office, department spokesman Tom Vinger said.

``He is a sadistic individual,'' Vinger said.

Sells confessed to shooting Russell Dardeen of Ina, Ill., Vinger said. He also confessed to fatally beating Dardeen's pregnant wife, Ruby _ who gave birth during the attack _ their 3-year-old son, Peter, and the newborn, a girl, Vinger said.

Illinois authorities have not charged Sells, he said.

Sells, a former carnival worker who also rode the railroads, is accused of slashing the throats of Kaylene Harris, 13, and Krystal Surles, 10, as they slept Dec. 31 in the Harris family home near Del Rio, about 150 miles west of San Antonio.

Kaylene died almost instantly, while Krystal ran to a neighbor's house for help. She survived and helped create a composite portrait that led authorities to Sells.

Sells' confession Thursday brings to nine the total number of killings in which Sells either has been charged or is implicated, Vinger said.

Vinger said the attacks were in Missouri in 1985; Illinois, 1987; Arizona, 1988; and in Kentucky and Texas last year.

Texas Rangers are scheduled to escort Sells to Arkansas next week, where is wanted for questioning in two other slayings, Vinger said.