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Authorities now think there are 20 victims at the hands of a serial killer who has struck in Flint and elsewhere since May.
While most of the victims were African-American, police are hesitant to say the murderer is motivated by racial hatred. Five of the victims died.
Sixteen of the attacks were in Michigan — others were in Ohio and Virginia — and a task force has received hundreds of tips. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton told WWJ Newsradio 950 that the victims are alone on the streets at night.
Leyton said 16 full-time investigators are assigned to the case. Information given by surviving victims suggests one person is behind all of the attacks.
Michigan State Police are part of the task force investigating the Flint serial killer.
Lieutenant Patrick McGreevy said the FBI has joined the investigation and they are working around the clock to find the killer and arrest him.
“He’s a white male, he’s 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 2 inches, about 180, 190 pounds,” McGreevy said.
“The descriptions that we’re getting is that this is a very muscular, very strong, well-built person with possibly light hair,” he said.
He said he has worn a baseball cap during the assaults and there is a metal rod piercing in his upper left ear.
“He’s preying on vulnerable individuals and taking advantage of them, luring them in and then with this tremendous rage, stabbing them,” said Leyton.
“Stabbing crimes are crimes of intense rage because the individual has to get close to the victim, so really that’s all we’ve been able to determine at this point,” Leyton said.
Family members of victims of the Flint serial killer were at city hall Wednesday demanding police work harder to stop the killer, and are asking for billboards and fliers to get the word out.
The fifth and latest victim was Arnold Minor, 49, who was stabbed to death on Flint’s south side.
Stephanie Ward, the sister of Arnold Minor said she was troubled that it took so long to get attention.
“We were unaware of it, since it was going on in May… my brother had to be the final piece to this puzzle… Did it have to be him for the media to know what was going on out here?” Ward said.
Peter Taylor lost the use of his left eye and his right side. He spoke out of his hospital bed and told WWJ he believes his attacker is the man described as the Flint serial killer.
“I know exactly what I saw and this is the same guy that they have pictures of… it shouldn’t happen to innocent people,” Taylor said.
Family members are asking for billboards and fliers to get the word out.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said the task force assembled to investigate the serial killer is preparing a letter that will be going out to community members and area churches to help get the word out and to warn the community about the possible danger.
“The majority of these victims have been African-American and we have to take that into account,” Walling said.
“We also have to recognize that two of the victims associated with this killer have been white, and one has been Hispanic, so we want the public to know that everyone needs to take precautions,” Walling said.
Police said the same man is a suspect in 16 attacks in and around Flint and four others in Ohio and Virginia.
A list detailing the attacks linked to the Flint serial killings reveals the suspect has been most active during pre-dawn hours and on Mondays. The task force working the case said the six attacks happened between 5:45 and 6:15 a.m.
Authorities are investigating similar attacks in Toledo and Leesburg, Virginia.
A missing person case is also adding to the worry in Flint. Police are searching for Patrick Sheridan who was last seen Sunday near a McDonald’s on Miller Road and South Ballenger Highway.
He’s described as a white male, 5 feet 10 inches, with sandy-brown hair and glasses. Adding to the concern, Tammy Watson, a family friend, said Sheridan suffers from a number of health problems.
“He has had a quadruple heart bypass a few years ago and cannot survive without oxygen his oxygen only lasts five hours, he’s on medications and has been suffering from depression,” Watson said.
Although Sheridan does not fit the description of men attacked by the serial killer in the area, Watson said family members are concerned there could be a connection.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Flint Police.
(Copyright, 2010. WWJ Newsradio 950, All Rights Reserved.)