Police: Murders of two women may be connected

HOUSTON Both women may have been strangled, and that's one of the reasons investigators are taking a closer look to see if possibly the murders are connected.

The bodies were found just days apart - one behind the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston in the 1700 block of San Jacinto on September 30, and the other behind the old YMCA building in the 1600 block of Louisiana this past Sunday.

With at least two murders in the past two weeks in the downtown area, Latisha Hildreth cannot help but be concerned.

"It definitely makes you wonder what happened all of the sudden now that this is happening more frequently," said Hildreth.

She works very close to where the latest victim was found. Walking near there makes her uneasy.

"Now trying to walk out to grab some lunch makes you wonder if you're really as safe as you thought you were," Hildreth said.

On Sunday, the body of an unidentified woman was found on a stairway behind the old YMCA building. Although her cause of death is pending, police says it appears she suffered some sort of beck injury.

That case is being compared to the murder of Reita Long, 52. The homeless woman's body was found September 30 on a stairway behind the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston. She had been strangled.

Thelisa Palmer is the director of the homeless outreach program. She knew Long very well.

"She always wanted to know what she can do around here. 'Can I wash the windows? Does the kitchen need cleaning?,'" said Palmer of the Lords of Street Episcopal Church.

Although police can't say for sure whether homeless women are being targeted, Palmer says it wouldn't be the first time. Just two years ago, the body of another homeless woman was found strangled near the Co-Cathedral. Her suspected killer was arrested and is in jail, but according to Palmer it speaks to a bigger issue.

"These are not faceless women. These are women that not only had a face, they had family; they had children and they had a life," Palmer said. "They contribute something to society, and we all as human beings should care."

Authorities have not officially linked the two murders, however they admit there are similarities.

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