ANAHEIM (CBS) — Orange County authorities are searching for a serial killer linked to the recent stabbing deaths of three homeless men.
“We believe these murders were likely committed by the same suspect and we feel he’s extremely dangerous to the public,” Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said in a news conference Wednesday.
Paulus Smith, 57, James McGillivray, 53, and 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh were all attacked and killed while they were asleep, officials said.
The attacks took place on Dec. 21, Dec. 28 and Dec. 30 in Placentia, Anaheim and Yorba Linda.
“When you have three murders that are that similar in nature, involving the same type of victim and with the same general method of operation, that’s what we call a serial murderer,” Welter said.
The Anaheim, Brea and Placentia police departments have formed a joint investigation into the murders.
A police task force, which is handling the search, released some key evidence involved in the investigation.
Investigators released a grainy image of the suspect taken by a parking structure surveillance camera in Placentia. They also released the photo of a white Toyota Corolla that was seen at the scene of the crime and may belong to the suspect.
Police have been circulating flyers in homeless camps throughout the county, advising transients not to sleep or camp in dark, secluded areas and to stay in groups.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI are assisting in the investigation.
Anyone with information about the killer can call the Homicide Task Force at (714) 765-1944 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.