With many community members on edge and frustrated with the investigation into the Kensington strangler, Mayor Michael Nutter finally appeared in the desperate part of the city and asked for help to catch him.
Hours later, homicide detectives announced DNA results that linked a third strangling to the same killer.
Mayor Michael Nutter and other law enforcement leaders announced a $37,000 reward during a news conference at East Cumberland and Jasper streets, the site of a Nov. 13 deadly attack.
“I think it’s great,” Christine Piacentini — the mother of the second murder victim, Nicole Piacentini — said of the reward. “Somebody knows where he’s at. Somebody has to come forward.”
Officials also cautioned the public against taking matters into their own hands. On Monday, a group had gathered outside the home of a local man who had been erroneously identified on Facebook as a suspect. Police intervened after the man said a mob had gathered outside his home.
“We are serious about getting this psycho off the streets of Philadelphia,” Nutter exclaimed. “Do not try to take any action on your own. That’s what law enforcement is for.”
District Attorney Seth Williams also had a message for those who might be harboring the serial killer. “If we find out somebody is harboring this guy or obstructing justice we’re going to prosecute them too,” he said.
Strangler total now at three
DNA results have definitively linked the suspect in the first two murders to the Dec. 15 killing of 27-year-old Casey Mahoney, police said.
Authorities found Mahoney, of East Stroudsburg, lying face down and partially clothed in a vacant lot on the 100 block of East Tusculum Street. She was sexually assaulted and strangled to death, police said.
Elaine Goldberg was found dead Nov. 3 and Nicole Piacentini was discovered Nov. 13. With three murders, the suspect is officially considered a serial murderer, according to the FBI.