Kenneth Deangelo Martin was named by the Detroit police chief as a “person of interest” in potential serial killings in that community.
A series of deaths have occurred of women in vacant homes.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Released Kenneth Deangelo Martin’s Name as a Person of Interest, Describing Him as Homeless
On Facebook, the Detroit Police Department wrote, “The Detroit Police Department has identified a person of interest in connection with the potential serial killer investigation on the city’s east side. We are asking if anyone has any information or knows of this individuals whereabouts they are asked to call, Detroit Police Homicide at 313-596-2260 or 1-800-SPEAK UP.”
“We’re asking for the public’s help” to contact Martin, said Detroit police Chief James Craig, holding Martin’s photos aloft for journalists. He described him as a 34-year-old black male about 160 pounds and 5 foot 9 inches tall. “He’s known to be homeless. He’s known to frequent the east side of Detroit.”
Craig said “our investigators have been working on this around the clock, so we’ve developed a person of interest.” He said police want to have contact with Martin. “We believe there are individuals in the neighborhood who can help us identify” Martin. Martin was arrested a couple hours after the chief’s media outreach.
Police Believe at Least Three Women May Have Died at the Hands of a Serial Killer
There are three deaths that police fear could be linked to a single killer. However, in two of those cases, it hasn’t been determined for sure yet that the women died of homicide.
Nancy Harrison, 52, was initially believed to have died of a drug overdose when she was discovered on March 19, 2019. However, it was later determined that she was murdered by blunt force trauma to the head.
Travesene Ellis, victim 2, was found deceased on May 24 and had been reported missing. A third, unidentified victim was found deceased in a vacant home on June 5. “Only one of those three has been ruled by the medical examiner to be a homicide, Nancy Harrison,” the city’s mayor said, noting that the causes of deaths for Ellis and the third victim had not been determined. She is an African-American female.
Despite the fact it’s not clear whether two of the three women were victims of homicide, the mayor said the chief wanted to warn the community because of the possibility.
“There was such similarity in the scenes of the three homes that it is certainly a strong possibility that one individual was responsible for all three,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, adding that police were going to make sure “that we do not have any more victims” in the city’s abandoned homes. Then, the homes will be boarded up. He said it was critical to get all of the vacant homes torn down in the next five years.
The Detroit Police Department was “uniting with leaders and members of the community in a joint effort to address safety concerns in the area where a potential serial killer has been operating,” police announced.
The chief added that victim number 3 was 55-years-old. “So we are in the process of talking to the family to see if we can get a positive ID,” he said.
The Victims May Have Been Involved in the Sex Trade But Harrison’s Family Denies This
Martin said police believe the victims were involved in the “sex trade,” but Harrison’s family denies that she was, according to WXYZ-TV.
“A great, great heart. She would help anybody. Do anything,” Tim Harrison said of Nancy to ClickonDetroit. “My sister didn’t deserve this.” Her brother Gary questioned to WXYZ-TV why police didn’t realize Nancy was murdered at first. “She had a broken nose, jaw, scratches all over and the detective said it was an overdose,” he told the television station.
The police chief said that sex workers are often invisible and not connected with families. “Some are illegal narcotic users,” he said, adding that it makes cases “like this very challenging.”
Sometimes bodies in such situations are not immediately discovered. The chief said it was possible there were more deaths connected to the same killer.
“The violence we’ve been experiencing in the City of Detroit has been heartbreaking. We’ve seen attacks on women,” the mayor added. He said, when it comes to the deaths of the three women, those are cases “we believe are associated with a single killer.”