DETROIT -- Detroit police fear that a killer may be targeting escorts after finding that three of four women found dead in car trunks within blocks of each other this month had placed sex-related ads on the same website.
Attorneys general for 45 states had raised concerns earlier this year about how the site, Backpage.com, polices ads for adult services.
Police Chief Ralph Godbee said authorities find the link "disconcerting." The deaths could be connected, Godbee said, though he has said police were "stopping short" of calling it the work of a serial killer.
"The link between the three females and this website specifically dealt with prearranged adult dating services," Godbee said Monday.
"We are not passing judgment on any individual who is utilizing this website, yet we felt it was imperative to alert the public that deciding to meet unknown persons via the Internet, can be extremely dangerous."
The latest victims were found Christmas morning, when Detroit firefighters discovered their badly burned bodies in the trunk of a car that had been set ablaze in a garage.
They were identified as women ages 28 and 29, and police were awaiting a determination from the medical examiner's office on cause of death.
Meanwhile, the families of Demesha Hunt, 24, and Renisha Landers, 23, whose bodies were found Dec. 19 in the trunk of a car parked in the driveway of a vacant home on the city's east side, prepared for a joint funeral Thursday.
The Detroit women had been reported missing by relatives. The names of the latest victims hadn't been released as of yesterday.