Police in Orange County, California, fear a serial killer is on the loose after three homeless men were stabbed to death in late December.
A task force has been created by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, and local Southern California police departments, to track down a man who is believed to be targeting the homeless in northern Orange County.
Three homeless men were found stabbed to death in the area during a 10-day period in late December. Sgt. Bob Dunn, of the Anaheim Police Department, said, Each victim was stabbed multiple times. Dunn added, There are some additional similarities between the victims we're not going to discuss.
Anaheim Police Chief John Welter told the media, We believe these murders are likely committed by the same suspect and we feel he is extremely dangerous to the public.
The body of James McGillvray, 53, was found close to a Placentia mall on Dec. 21. A week later, Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was stabbed to death. His body was discovered on a trail in Anaheim. The third victim, Paulus Cornelius Smit, 57, was found outside a library in Yorba Linda on Dec. 30.
According to police, two of the murders took place at night while the third occurred in the late afternoon. Police have a vague description of the suspect; a thin man between 18 and 25 years of age. This description was obtained from a video surveillance camera.
Police and homeless advocates have been going to areas where the homeless congregate, warning them about the danger. People are being advised to go into shelters for their protection.
According to the New York Times, the demand for shelter beds has increased 40% over the last few days. Many people are phoning shelters and asking if the suspect has been caught.
Jim Palmer, president of the Orange County Rescue Mission, said the community is "shaken." Palmer said, This is just so evil that somebody would go after the least, the last and the lost of our community; homeless people on their own.
Despite the fact a serial killer is on the prowl, not every homeless person is willing to go to a shelter. Darryl Bossier, 49, told CBS News he would not go to a shelter because he his cellphone was stolen the last time he slept in one. Said Bossier, I'm a watchdog. I don't want them to get anybody.
The Orange County Rescue Mission has been handing out flashlights and whistles to those who will not go to shelters, to try and help them protect themselves.
The manhunt continues.