Daytona Beach Serial Killer Suspect Arrested After Case Goes Cold for More Than a Decade

Florida Police believe they have identified a serial killer who has been wanted for over a decade in connection with the deaths of four women.

The suspect's DNA is linked to two of four women found dead in the city of Daytona Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast between December 2005 and January 2008. The last victim was thought to have been killed in December 2007, according to NBC affiliate WESH 2. The victims were Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green, Iwana Patton and Stacey Gage.

Daytona Beach Police Department told WESH 2 officials planned to hold a press conference on Monday due to a "major development" in the Daytona Beach Serial Killer case.

Gunther, 45, was a labor hall worker and prostitute. She was found kneeling between two buildings off Madison Avenue and Beach Street on December 26, 2005, after she was killed on Christmas Eve, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Green left home to use a pay phone, but never returned. She was found in a ditch near a building site on LPGA Boulevard on January 14, 2006. A friend of Gunther, the 34-year-old was a mother two four children, and a sex worker who struggled with addiction.

35-year-old Patton, a nurse's aide who also sold sex, was found dead in a remote area of Williamson Boulevard. The body of Gage, a 30-year-old mother of two, was found near a disused church.

The DNA of the suspect was not found on Gage, but her death had the hallmarks of the previous cases. The victims were shot in the head using a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson, ABC affiliate WFTV 9 reported. Their remains were discovered in remote parts of Daytona Beach and Holly Hill, around a mile apart. Two of the victims were found with the man's semen in their heads, thought to be one of his calling cards, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Retired Sgt. Clem Malek told The Orlando Sentinel in 2015: "Between the DNA and the fired brass from the same weapon that was identified, that's what tied the three of them together."

He added: "There's no dispute in physical evidence."

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told WFTV 9 police on Sunday a suspect is in custody. When the fourth murder happened, Chitwood was Daytona Beach Police Department police chief. The individual's identity wasn't clear.

The Daytona Beach Police Department told WESH 2 officials the suspect was detained after a break was made in a murder investigation in Palm Beach County.

Officers believe DNA and ballistics from the Palm Beach County case could be linked to at least two of the women killed in Daytona Beach. Officials did not previously have the suspect's DNA in their database.

Chitwood told The Daytona Beach News-Journal the suspect is alleged to have killed a woman who was a sex worker two years ago in Palm Beach.

"Physical evidence from that murder matches a couple of our Daytona murder victims," he said.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri told The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Sunday: "We will have breaking news on several cold cases, a strong update in the DSK [Daytona Serial Killer] case."

Stacey Dittmer, a friend of Gunther, told The Orlando Sentinel in 2015: "She was my confidant, I could tell her anything.

"She was the best friend a person could ever have. She had faults, we all have faults. But she was the bomb."

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Daytona Beach Police Department, Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, and state attorney RJ Larizza were due to hold a press conference to reveal more information on Monday, WESH reported. The press conference was initially postponed, but is due to take place at 10am local time.

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Police have detained a suspect in connection with killings in Florida. Getty
Daytona Beach Serial Killer Suspect Arrested After Case Goes Cold for More Than a Decade | News
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