LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police are investigating possible links between the attempted abduction of a teenage girl doused with flammable liquid and two deadly attacks in L.A. County.
LAPD Commander Andrew Smith identified 30-year-old Robert Ransom as a suspect in the latest case, and says facts surrounding the girl’s attempted abduction last month are startlingly similar to those surrounding the deaths of two other women.
“He approached a 16-year-old female on the street. It was back on March 20, took her into his van, drove her to another location, attempted to assault her and ended up attempting to light her on fire and she was able to make an escape,” Smith said.
Smith said Ransom closely resembles a composite sketch released by robbery and homicide detectives following the three attacks, which occurred within three weeks of one another in the same geographic area.
All of the cases involved the binding of female victims, two of whom were set on fire, and the latest drenched in a flammable liquid before she escaped.
A 19-year-old girl died after she was found bound and burned in the street near the corner of 93rd and South Grand Avenue on March 2.
On March 5, less than four miles away on East 50th Street, 28-year-old Gisela Yauli and her 1-year-old son, Dillan Reyes, died when a fire erupted inside their South L.A. home. Detectives said Youle had been bound before she was burned.
Then on March 20, less than three miles from the first murder, the 16-year-old was spotted running from her kidnapper. A witness told police the girl had been bound and was drenched.
Smith said detectives are working “night and day” to see if the cases are connected.