DPD: Serial killer targeting sex workers lures them to abandoned houses

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The deaths of three women over the last few months has led Detroit police to this conclusion there may be a serial killer in the city.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said that sex workers are being targeted. FOX 2 spoke to one of the victim's family members who said his sister was not a sex worker.

"I was on my way to work and I got a phone call that they found my sister in a house," said Gary Harrison.

Harrison is still mourning his sister and questioning the investigation into her death. Nancy Harrison, 52, was found naked and bludgeoned inside an abandoned home on Detroit's east side back on March 19. She would not be the last.

"It wasn't until the murder today that we were convinced that we believe we have the makings of serial killer rapist that has been operating on the east side of Detroit," Craig said. 

Police say a sex worker found a woman's naked body inside a vacant home on the 3000 block of Mack Wednesday morning. 

Police made another gruesome discovery two weeks earlier, that's 53-year-old Trevesene Ellis' body was found in an empty house on the 13000 block of Linnhurst near Seven Mile and Schoenherr.

Police now believe all three of the women are connected, victims of a possible serial killer targeting sex workers.


Detroit Police say they're searching for possible serial killer, rapist

Woman's body found in vacant house on Mack Ave near Mt Elliot

"We want to make every sex worker not just on the east side, but who operates across the city, if they are being enticed to go into a vacant dwelling, that has been the M.O. of this suspect," Craig said.

Right now it's unclear how Ellis died. Police initially thought Harrison died from an overdose - but her death was ruled a homicide month later ---confirming what her brother Gary knew all along.

"My question is how could it be an overdose when she had a broken nose, a broken jaw, bleeding from her head," he said. "We told the detective this is not an overdose - someone killed my sister."

"Just a couple weeks I heard a story from a young lady who told me she was held captive in an abandoned building for three weeks, beaten and continuously raped," said Winelda Wilson, volunteer for All Worthy of Love.

News of a possible serial killer targeting sex workers comes as no surprise to Wilson. She tries to get sex workers and sex trafficking victims off the street with the non-profit, All Worthy of Love, and says their efforts to reach those women can be the difference between life and death.

"I personally in the five years probably have been privy to at least 30 young women being dead," she said. "I've attended funerals for them. Murdered, unsolved."

Wilson says people often view sex workers as criminals when in reality they're often victims, trapped in a destructive lifestyle. 

"And it's not until they're dead that people realize they're victims," Wilson said. "Or until there's an announcement that there's serial killer. Trust me, there's been a serial killer for a long time. "

Police are urging sex workers to come forward with information about the killer. Craig said they will not be arrested.