2 more students are found slain in Gainesville

June 08, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA — GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In a discovery that rocked a college town still recovering from horror and revulsion at a series of murders last year, the bodies of two female University of Florida students were found yesterday. Police said the two appeared to have been strangled -- within a one-mile radius of the five previous slayings.

Officers stressed that they had found no apparent links to last August's killings, but they also said that they could not rule out a connection or the possibility of a copycat.

Two suspects in those earlier crimes are in custody, though neither has been charged.

And late yesterday came word of a macabre twist somewhat reminiscent of the earlier deaths, which featured sadistic choreography of some of the victims: Police said one of the bodies found yesterday was so well hidden in the apartment that it took them 30 minutes to find it.

Police identified the latest victims as Carla Marie McKishnie, 22, a graduate student from Brandon, Fla., and Eleanor Anne Grace, 20, a sophomore from Fort Myers, Fla. They were roommates.

The bodies were found in a wing of the same apartment complex where Broward County resident Tiffany Sessions was last seen in February 1989. She was 20 when she disappeared after leaving the apartment for a walk. More than two

See WOMEN, 4A, Col. 1 WOMEN, from 1A

years later, she still is missing.

Police and university officials said that this week's crime appeared unrelated to Ms. Sessions' disappearance or the slayings that triggered an exodus from the campus at the start of the last academic year. But they also urged students to be careful.

About 18,000 students are in the area for the first of two summer sessions at Florida's largest university.

University President John V. Lombardi said: "It is a tremendous and painful experience to lose any one of the students or members of the community." He urged students to call home, speak with their parents, reassure them -- and receive reassurance in return.

Authorities said both victims showed signs of being strangled and were fully clothed. There was no evidence of forced entry, police said, and no weapons were found. The sheet covering one body was stained with blood. Authorities would not discuss the apparent contradiction with their theory of strangulation.

John Joyce, spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said the new victims were not mutilated and dismembered, as were three of the previous five.

"From some of the initial reports we've gotten, it appears there are really not any similarities with the

murders of last year," Mr. Joyce said.

Police said the bodies were discovered early yesterday by the unidentified boyfriend of one of the women. Unable to contact the women by phone since Thursday, he became alarmed and visited the apartment.

NB He banged on the door. No answer. He climbed up the building's

facade and broke into a second-floor window. He found one of the bodies and called police.

As word spread, students and others in this city of 84,800 rediscovered the fear prevalent 10 months ago. Libby Nord, 21, a special education major from Tampa who recently signed a lease for an apartment near

the scene of the killings, said: "I didn't think about it when I signed the lease. But now I am scared."

The apartment complex is a collection of 150 Spanish-style units in the same part of town where five students -- four women and a man -- were killed last August.

Yesterday's development came only weeks after news that authorities planned to seek an indictment against prime suspect Danny Rolling, who had been connected to at least two of the earlier crime scenes through DNA testing of bodily fluids.

This week also saw a strange twist in the investigation: Word came that Edward Humphrey, an early suspect, was still a suspect because of strands of hair found at the scenes of at

least two of the killings.

Both men have been in custody since soon after the five killings.

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