The recent deaths of five women in the Las Vegas area have no known connections, according to law enforcement officials, despite an internet rumor of a serial killer in the valley.
Four of the deaths, which occurred between late August and early September in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, involved missing women who later turned up dead.
The rumor began surfacing as early as last weekend, with one post on Twitter garnering as many as 14,000 retweets and 20,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon.
But in separate phone calls with the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Aden OcampoGomez and North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt said none of the deaths appeared to be related.
As of Wednesday, all but one of the five cases were solved or closed:
—Sharon Harrell, the 53-year-old owner of TC’s World Famous Rib Crib, was last seen alive Aug. 23. She was found dead five days later inside her car in the Chinatown area, about 2 miles south of her restaurant. The Clark County coroner’s office has yet to determine her cause and manner of death, but OcampoGomez said Wednesday that Metro’s homicide section was still investigating. Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Harrell’s case.
—Diana Jeanne Langlume, 72, was bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer in a random attack early Aug. 29 inside a central Las Vegas laundromat. The suspect in her death, Clinton Taylor, was found near the laundromat covered in blood and holding a sledgehammer, police have said. He faces a murder charge.
—Katrina Louise Campbell, 37, was reported missing by her fiance, Chris Belcourt, on Aug. 30. He previously told the Review-Journal that she had last been seen leaving work a day earlier. Her body was pulled from the water at Lake Mead two days after she was reported missing. The Clark County coroner’s office has not released her cause and manner of death, but OcampoGomez said her case has been marked as closed.
—Jennifer Ratay, 39, was found dead Sept. 3 inside a 55-gallon metal drum, which was recovered by Las Vegas police from a home on the 5700 block of Garden Grove Avenue. Police have said the suspect in her death, 38-year-old Chuck Chaiyakul, lived there with his mother. Ratay had been reported missing by a friend on the morning of the discovery but had not been heard from or seen since late Aug. 29, when, Ratay’s friend told police, he was on the phone with her while she was being driven to his house by Chaiyakul. In an interview with police, the suspect later admitted to shooting Ratay and hiding her body in the drum, according to his arrest report.
—Paula Davis, 19, was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head inside her van on Friday by her family members, who tracked her phone’s location to Desert Horizons Park in North Las Vegas. Her family had reported her missing to North Las Vegas police about two hours prior to finding her. Davis’ 21-year-old ex-boyfriend, Giovanni Ruiz, was arrested Tuesday on a murder charge. “This was definitely not linked to any other death,” North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt told the Review-Journal.