DNA links '88, '93 killings

Police seek information in deaths of woman, teen

`We've exhausted all other leads'

2 victims were stabbed, cold-case detectives say

August 28, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Two unsolved killings committed nearly five years apart - the stabbings of an Odenton woman and a Millersville girl - have been linked through DNA evidence, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

The recent discovery in the deaths of Mary Elaine Shereika, 37, in May 1988, and Lisa Kathleen Haenel, 14, in January 1993, was revealed by police in hopes it will generate more information from the public, police said.

The killer's motivation was sexual assault, said Sgt. David Waltemeyer, who heads the county's homicide unit.

Shereika, a mother of two, was found in a rye field about a mile from her home. She died of stab wounds, and had been raped and choked.

Haenel's naked body was found in a wooded area behind Old Mill High School. Police said she had not been raped.

Both were killed early in the morning, police said.

The Police Department's two-detective cold-case squad has been actively investigating these two homicides for five years, Waltemeyer said.

"We're at a point where we've exhausted all other leads in the cases," he said. "Now we're hoping someone puts the pieces together in their mind and comes forward."

One clue that Waltemeyer said might jog someone's memory is a tire impression found near Shereika's body. The imprint of a 13-inch wheel indicates the killer might have been driving a small sports car.

"There could be someone out there who recalls a neighbor in that area who drove a small car like that," he said.

No tire impression was found at the Haenel crime scene.

Police are withholding details about what physical evidence led them to link the two cases, saying they will use that information to sift through new leads.

The DNA profile in the two killings does not match that of any other open homicide case in the county, and police have not linked the killer to any other sexual assaults, Waltemeyer said.

Police do not have any suspects, but they believe the killer was familiar with the areas where the homicides occurred.

Families of both victims are "optimistic a suspect will be identified so that they can have closure," Waltemeyer said.

The cold-case squad periodically updates each of 16 unsolved homicides dating to 1970, focusing on a handful at a time. Its detectives can be reached at 410-222-3487.

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