CINCINNATI (AP) – West Virginia police said Sunday they are sharing information with authorities investigating suspicious deaths and missing women in southern Ohio.
The chief of detectives in Charleston told The Associated Press that no direct link has been established between an Oregon man killed by a woman he attacked there this month and the cases in Chillicothe, Ohio. But Lt. Steve Cooper said the possibility is being looked into because women were the victims in both places and because of proximity – less than a two-hour drive from Charleston.
“Geographically, the cities are fairly close,” Cooper said, adding: “He has not been connected to the Chillicothe cases.”
Cooper had said earlier that police are also investigating whether 45-year-old Neal Falls has links to several unsolved murders in Las Vegas.
Four women have died in Chillicothe under suspicious circumstances and two others remain missing. Messages were left Sunday for Chillicothe investigators.
Cooper said Friday that Falls likely attacked others before he beat and choked a woman he had met online. The victim grabbed his handgun and shot him once July 18, police said.
Investigators said they later found axes, a shovel, handcuffs, cleaning supplies and other items in Falls’ vehicle.
Authorities said Falls, of Springfield, Oregon, rented a room in Henderson, Nevada, from 2000 until 2008. During that time, four prostitutes went missing. The dismembered bodies of three were found along highways.
The southern Ohio deaths and disappearances spurred the creation of a task force including Chillicothe police and the Ross County sheriff’s office, the FBI, state investigators and other local law enforcement. Authorities said the women were had drug problems and some became prostitutes to feed their habit.