Are Galveston murders related?

February 23, 2009 4:48:00 PM PST
Some Galveston residents are worried about their safety following two murders and the beating of a woman in recent weeks. Investigators tell us they're looking into whether the violent crimes are related. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

People say it's far too premature to use the term serial killer, but they are looking to see if they can link a single suspect to three attacks on Galveston women.

Police say teenagers found Patricia Sultan, 56, dead and partially nude inside an abandoned home Friday near 39th and Avenue N. As investigators scoured the scene for clues Monday, they told us Sultan died of trauma to the head. They were only able to identify her with the help of the FBI through fingerprints. It's unclear how long she had been dead here.

One man says he's seen her pushing a basket around the neighborhood.

"She was always with herself when I saw her," said witness Donnie Russell. "She was never with no one else."

Another woman, Evelyn Harvey, 51, was found dead in the back yard of an abandoned home just a few blocks away less than two weeks ago. Police say her face, too, had been beaten, that she, too, was found only partially clothed.

A third woman survived a severe beating in January near 22nd Street and Avenue K in an alley behind a church. She was similarly beaten in the face and left partially clothed. She was released from the hospital and ever since, police say they've been unable to find and interview her.

We asked police if they think the three attacks could somehow be related.

"There are similarities, but we're not going to speculate," said Lt. DJ Alvarez with the Galveston Police Department.

But neighbors will. And that has many of them, particularly women, on edge.

"If this is going on in Galveston, it needs to get checked out and they need to catch him," said Galveston resident Phyllis Brooks.

Police do tell us they have a person of interest they want to talk to in the case where he woman survived. They think that might have been an isolated incident because they believe the suspect is someone the victim knows.

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