Suspected serial rapists also sought in killing Police believe men who committed 3 rapes had role in woman's death

November 01, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Suspected serial rapists who police have linked to attacks on at least three prostitutes are also being sought in the death of a woman whose body was found on a secluded roadside in Anne Arundel County.

Investigators say the descriptions of the alleged rapists are similar in all four attacks, which occurred in April and June in Baltimore and two suburban counties. But they have not been able to identify the suspects.

"We're hitting dead ends," said Lt. Barry Baker, who heads the special operations squad in Baltimore's Southern District police station. "The investigation has shown connections to different locations. The attacks were rapid and violent."

Making the case more difficult is the reluctance of prostitutes to come forward with information. For several months, undercover Baltimore officers have questioned every woman arrested on soliciting charges, hoping for a break.

Baker said two of the victims had met the suspected rapists on before for sex. "That's why they didn't expect anything like this," he said.

Officers have put together a package called "Rape Search" -- a questionnaire that officers will use to interrogate prostitutes. The information will be fed into a database so police can more easily track similar cases.

"It's my feeling that a lot of prostitutes are victims of assault and rape, and I think most of it goes unreported," Baker said.

In September, Shelton Gary McNeil, 44, was sentenced to life in prison after an Anne Arundel jury found him guilty of first-degree rape in an attack on a prostitute in Patuxent River Park during summer 1996.

Police said he picked up a woman in Baltimore, drove her to the park near Annapolis and bound her hands with shoe laces before raping and beating her. Baker said McNeil, who is appealing his conviction, is suspected in attacks on two other women, one of whom has died of a drug overdose.

Officers are going after the suspects in the latest rapes the same way they arrested McNeil: he picked up an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

The three latest rapes occurred in June. On June 17, police said a woman was attacked in the woods along North Point Boulevard in Eastern Baltimore County. Another woman was attacked June 22 in the 600 block of S. Smallwood St. in West Baltimore. Three days later, a woman was attacked in Leakin Park.

Detectives investigating these cases said the description of the suspects -- the only details they are releasing is that they are both Hispanic males -- led them to Linda Sue Dickey, 43, whose body was found April 23 on Harmans Road in Severn. Police aren't providing a more detailed description of the suspects for fear of hampering their investigation.

Dickey was thought to have been killed in a hit-and-run car accident. But Detective Jay Clark, an Anne Arundel County homicide investigator, said an autopsy found that the Curtis Bay resident had been beaten.

Clark said he does not know where Dickey -- a graduate of Southern High School who had been a barmaid and supermarket cashier -- was killed. A witness heard a car door slam and saw an old red pickup truck leaving the scene.

Clark said he did not know how Dickey met the suspects. She had been arrested on a prostitution charge 20 days before she was killed.

Pub Date: 11/01/97

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