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Police May Not Have ‘Rail Killer’

June 17, 1999

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) _ A man arrested on a freight train Wednesday may not be the rail-riding murder suspect that police initially believed.

Authorities announced the arrest Wednesday night of a man who fit the description of Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, a suspect in six slayings that happened near railroad tracks since 1997.

Hours later, authorities said the man may not be Resendez-Ramirez.

``I think hope is fading,″ Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said late Wednesday night. ``We can’t rule it out 100 percent.″

The arrested man has a snake tattoo like the suspect but on the right arm, not the left like Resendez-Ramirez, he said.

Investigators were awaiting fingerprint test results late Wednesday to confirm the suspect’s identity, Vinger said.

Police stopped the train in this Austin suburb after a 911 caller said Resendez-Ramirez might be on a freight train in the area, said Mike Cox, another spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

A drifter from Mexico known to hop freight trains, Resendez-Ramirez has been wanted by the FBI in connection with five Texas killings and one in Lexington, Ky., since August 1997. All the victims were beaten to death near railroad tracks.

On Wednesday, police in the east Texas town of Hughes Springs said they also consider Resendez-Ramirez a suspect in the killing of an 87-year-old woman eight months ago. The victim was robbed and beaten to death in her home near a railroad track.

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