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Crime News Breaking News

Person Of Interest Detained In Case Of Suspected Serial Killer Believed To Have Targeted Sex Workers In Detroit

DeAngelo Kenneth Martin, a homeless man known to frequent the area where the bodies of three women were discovered in vacant homes, has been arrested in the slayings.

By Jill Sederstrom
DeAngelo Kenneth Martin

Police have named a Detroit homeless man as a person of interest in the suspected serial murders of three sex workers, all killed in recent months.

Detroit police arrested DeAngelo Kenneth Martin, 34, in connection with the case just days after Chief James Craig announced that there may be a possible serial killer and rapist targeting sex workers on the city’s east side, local station WXYZ-TV reports.

Martin was taken into custody Friday at a bus stop at 7:30 p.m.

Craig announced Wednesday that investigators believed a possible serial killer was at large after discovering the bodies of three women all believed to be in their late 40s or 50s, over a period of several months.

Investigators believe the killer may have lured the women to vacant properties in the area before raping and killing them and then leaving the bodies in the abandoned homes.

All three women were found naked in vacant homes located in areas known for high narcotics traffic, according to The Detroit Free-Press.

The body of 52-year-old Nancy Harrison was discovered March 19 in an abandoned home in the 20000 block of Coventry. Initially, investigators believed she may have died of a drug overdose, but it was later discovered that she had suffered blunt force trauma before her death.

Tim Harrison described his sister to local station WDIV as a woman who had a great heart.

“She would help anybody. Do anything,” he said. “My sister didn’t deserve this.”

Her brother Gary Harrison told the station she'd suffered a broken nose, broken jaw and blunt force trauma to her head. He also denied that his sister had been a sex worker.

“She wasn’t down there working to make money or to support her habit,” he said.

Just a few months later on May 24, police discovered the body of the second victim, Travesene Ellis. According to investigators, she was last seen on April 21 in an area near where her body was later discovered.

The third victim, described as an approximately 55-year-old African-American woman, was found in a vacant home on Wednesday morning. Police have not yet identified the victim as they are working to try to confirm her identity, WDIV reports.

Craig said after the discovery of the latest body, police determined they had the “makings of a serial killer and rapist that’s operating on the east side of Detroit.”

Police are now searching the area’s vacant homes to see whether there may be more victims.

“There could be another vacant house on the east side that may have a victim,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We have no reason to believe that but we do need to check it out.”

Investigators have released few details about Martin, other than to say he was known to frequent the area where the bodies were discovered.