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Unusual Serial Stabbings Challenge Police In CA College Town Of Davis

Police in Northern California are hunting a likely serial killer, experts say. The person behind three stabbings in the normally quiet college town of Davis is likely full of rage and has targeted his victims with no clear connection to one another, experts told the Sacramento Bee. Given Davis’ relative isolation, 15 miles west of Sacramento and surrounded by farmland, the suspect probably lives in the city. It’s also possible the killer is battling mental illness. “The chances that these cases are not linked is very small,” said Mark Safarik, a former Davis police detective and investigator with the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit. “One of the things here is we don’t really have a motive, Davis is a relatively small community, and it’s very likely these cases are linked.”


The nature of the killings has added to the gravity of the case. The first two victims died of multiple stab wounds after being attacked in city parks. The third was a homeless woman stabbed multiple times through her tent. “It could be someone so rageful, so intent on doing harm that he’s just seeking out the most vulnerable,” said Michael Vitiello, a criminal law scholar at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. “Think about the violence, the rageness that you have to have.” Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said the city has never encountered a wave of stabbings similar to this one in at least the past 40 years. Stabbing murders are not rare, but serial stabbings involving multiple victims are uncommon, law enforcement officials said. “It’s a completely different kind of crime,” said former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness. “It’s up close and personal. You’ve got to feel the force of the weapon as it penetrates the body. “Stabbings are not rare, certainly, but a serial stabbing? I’m not thinking of any.” A series of stabbings presents an unusual challenge to law enforcement. When victims are killed by gunfire, the shots may be heard by others, hastening police response. In stabbings, there may be little audible evidence, giving suspects extra time to flee.

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