HOUSTON - Law enforcement officials from across the South said yesterday that they were launching an investigation to determine whether a single killer was responsible for the deaths of at least seven women in the past eight months.
The decision was announced after a closed meeting in Oklahoma City of more than 40 officers from 17 agencies. After detecting similarities in a number of the slayings, investigators from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee met to compare notes and determine whether a serial killer could be stalking women in the region.
Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said that authorities eliminated from their case list yesterday five deaths that appeared to be the result of drug overdoses.
But the slayings of seven other women in 2003 and 2004 are suspected of being connected, Brown said.
Most of them were prostitutes who worked at truck stops along major highways, officials said.