The FBI believes that a serial killer responsible for at least four murders in Spokane hasn’t struck anywhere else, local authorities said.
That includes Western Washington, where the infamous Green River killings remain unsolved.
“At this time, we’re very confident in saying that our individual, or individuals, is in no way connected to the Green River killer,” said Capt. Doug Silver of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.
Federal agents were in Spokane for three days this month to review a string of unsolved homicides here.
Since 1984, 18 women have been killed and dumped in outdoor locations around Spokane. Most were addicted to drugs or worked as prostitutes.
A local task force created to investigate the deaths believes the four most recent murders were committed by the same person or people. Three murders in 1990 also are thought to have been committed by one killer. No evidence has been discovered linking the two clusters.
Because of similar victim profiles and proximity to Seattle, there was speculation that the Spokane cases may be linked to the Green River killer, who murdered 49 women in the 1980s.
Last fall, the Spokane city-county task force asked the FBI for help. Using a computer that tracks homicides across America, agents from the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit examined the Spokane cases looking for connections to murders in other parts of the country.
They found none, said Silver, a task force commander.
“They did their initial runs on the things that we had sent them,” he said Thursday. “Those initial runs didn’t show anything.”
FBI agents are continuing to examine the Spokane cases to see if any more of them are connected to each other. They also will continue to compare the cases to other homicides that pop up around the country, Silver said.
The Washington state Attorney General’s Office also is monitoring the investigation and comparing the Spokane cases against homicides in Washington and Oregon.
Meanwhile, the four detectives who make up the local task force continue to follow leads. They’re getting regular help from 10 other investigators, Silver said.
“The number four is kind of misleading,” he said. “They are the lead detectives on the case, but we have a lot of other people working on it, too, on a part-time basis.”
Task force commanders recently assigned a detective to track down missing women who fit the description of the victims, Sheriff John Goldman said.
That detective has been working full time on tracking the recent disappearances of women who are known to be involved in drugs or prostitution.
When time allows, that detective also works on nonrelated missing persons cases, Goldman said.
Several names have come and gone from the missing list in recent weeks, police spokesman Dick Cottam said.
“It’s a dynamic list. A name might appear on it for a day or two, then be dropped when the woman is spotted,” Cottam said.