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ITEAM: recent events have people asking about a serial killer in one Cleveland area

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is answering the question on the minds of many women after a young girl was found dead in the same part of town where other women have been killed in cases still unsolved.

Is there a serial killer on the streets?

Investigators held a news conference to offer a reward in the case of the body found which is believed to be that of a missing 14-year-old girl, and police started to leave without taking questions. But the I TEAM asked about a potential serial killer.

Chief Calvin Williams said, “I’m not gonna definitively say yes or no.”

Williams didn’t want to talk specifically about it, but said investigators are always on the lookout for any serial criminal. He said, "They compare DNA, they compare forensics to make sure that things like that aren't happening. And there's always comparisons on a continuous basis."

The unsolved murders in that part of town date back several years. Four cases in particular, and they’ve sparked vigils. Each time, police gathered evidence and tested it. But the I TEAM has learned, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office just got new, updated technology to gather more clues from DNA. And investigators plan to use that new equipment to retest evidence from those unsolved cases.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office said, “When new information or circumstances arise, law enforcement always re-evaluates trace and forensic evidence to see if there is a connection.”

The I TEAM is also following up on court papers filed many months ago. Investigators took a hard look at a man already convicted of murder. Could he also be to blame for one of these cases? Police had even seized evidence. In the end though, he was cleared.

And while the unsolved cases with females have happened in the same general area around vacant buildings and fields, a source close to the investigations points out differences, too: ages, the killer’s ‘MO’, and more.

Police say they wonder the same thing you do. The Chief added, "If we look at that and find commonalities between crimes, then we immediately start to investigate those commonalities.”

Still, activists are planning a march to speak out for the protection of women in Cleveland’s 4th District.