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No links are found in killings of women

The Baltimore Sun

Prompted by recent killings of prostitutes, Baltimore police have formed a small task force of detectives to review unsolved homicides of women in the past 10 years. But investigators have not drawn any connections among the deaths, a department spokesman said yesterday.

The most recent victim was found Monday night near New Psalmist Baptist Church in Southwest Baltimore. The 45-year-old woman, whose name police did not release because her family has not yet been found, was killed, but police would not say how.

She is among several women who authorities say may have been involved in prostitution and who were found dead on the west side of the city in the past three months. Sterling Clifford, a police spokesman, said investigators do not believe that one person is responsible for the homicides.

"There is no indication that these cases are connected," Clifford said. "It doesn't mean you don't do investigative due diligence." He added, however, "The more you look at these cases, the fewer similarities there appear to be."

On June 27, Nicole Sesker, the stepdaughter of Leonard D. Hamm, the former Baltimore police commissioner, was found strangled in the 3500 block of Garrison Ave. in Northwest Baltimore. Sesker had been involved in prostitution and used drugs, according to past interviews with her and with Hamm.

On April 8, Yolanda Brown, 36, was found strangled in the 3600 block of Winterbourne Road, after a witness saw a man dumping a body from a car and driving away.

A fourth woman, Amanda Bishop, 22, was found strangled in the 1300 block of Nanticoke St. on June 22.

The police team includes a crime lab expert and detectives from the vice and the sex offense units. The team is led by a homicide detective.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that there are similarities in some of the recent cases, but he noted there are also significant differences. Bealefeld said he thought it was unlikely that Sesker's death was connected to the other killings.

Bealefeld credited the acting commander of the homicide unit, Lt. Terrence P. McLarney, with forming the team.

Sun reporter Annie Linskey contributed to this report.

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