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Detroit Police Failed To Stop Serial Killer Despite Repeated Chances

Detroit police failed to follow up on leads or take investigative steps that may have averted a man’s killing spree. When alleged killer DeAngelo Martin was charged in 2019, the police chief at the time told reporters that his department had been “very diligent, relentless” in solving the crimes. But now, a year after Martin was sent to prison for committing four murders and two rapes, it’s clear that police were hardly diligent or relentless, the Associated Press reports.


Martin lured women one by one into vacant homes to be murdered, posing their nude or partially clothed corpses amid cheap booze pints, crumbling sheetrock and hypodermic needles. Files reveal that the bungling started in 2004, when evidence from the rape of a 41-year-old woman was stored in a kit — and then forgotten for years in a warehouse, along with thousands of others. Even after a state crime lab linked Martin’s DNA to the death, police only sought his arrest weeks after he had raped a woman in his grandmother’s basement in 2019 and had killed three more times. Furious relatives of Martin’s victims wondered if the department would have been more aggressive if the victims hadn’t been among the city’s most vulnerable — and invisible — residents: women struggling with addiction, mental illness or homelessness.

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