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Police probe possible similarities between Florida, Boston killings

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
The following appears courtesy of yesterday's Associated Press news

Police probe possible similarities between Florida, Boston killings

Thursday, May 20, 1999

Associated Press

BOSTON - Police are looking into similarities between a recent murder in

Hollywood, Fla., and the Boston murder of Swedish au pair Karina Holmer
in June

"Everything's preliminary," Boston police spokesman Kevin Jones said

On Sunday, a pet supermarket employee in Florida discovered a woman's
body, cut
in half, in the trash bin out back.

Holmer, a 20-year-old nanny, had been strangled and cut in two. The top
half of
her body was found in a trash bin. The bottom half of her body was never


The Florida victim, identified as Delia Lorna Mendez, 32, was a known
prostitute, Hollywood Police Lt. Chad Wagner said.

Her body had multiple contusions and had been split in two. Both parts
of her
body were found and the bottom part of her torso was unclothed.

Wagner said Boston police notified them of similarities between the two

"Right now, however, there's as many dissimilarities as similarities,"
he said,
declining to elaborate. "It's still a possibility and we will know more
the medical examiner's report comes back."
The following appears courtesy of the 5/20/99 online edition of The
Herald newspaper:

Florida murder mirrors Hub nanny slaying

By Beverly Ford

Thursday, May 20, 1999

Homicide detectives in Boston are keeping a close eye on a Florida
murder case
in which a 34-year-old prostitute's body was found cut in half in a
eerily similar to the gruesome 1996 murder of Swedish nanny Karina

``It has piqued our interest enough to be in contact with their police
department,'' Boston Police homicide chief Lt. Paul Farrahar, said of
investigators in Hollywood, Fla., where the woman's bloody body was
rotting inside a dumpster Sunday. ``As information develops we will take
appropriate action.''

Delia Lorna Mendez's partly nude body, found severed at the waist, was
discovered inside the green trash bin behind the Pet Supermarket in
by a store employee just 12 hours after she was last seen alive by her
boyfriend, Hollywood Police said. Both parts of her body were found in
the bin.

Her murder drew the attention of Boston detectives because of its
to the slaying of 20-year-old Karina Holmer, whose severed torso was
found June
23, 1996, stuffed inside a green trash bag in a Fenway dumpster. The
half of Holmer's body has never been recovered.

Until Mendez's severed body was discovered Sunday, Holmer was the only
victim in the country to have been cut in half at the waist by her
authorities said.

``The body was severed in Florida and the body was severed in Boston and
the similarity we have right now,'' said Boston Police Superintendent
Devine. ``There is no connection that we know of right now relative to

But like Holmer, Mendez's body was sliced above the waist in a clean cut
has Florida investigators speculating her killer may have used a power
tool to
disect her body.

And, like the Holmer case, Florida detectives suspect Mendez may have
killed close to where her body was later discovered. Crime scenes in
both cases
have not yet been found.

``Solvability in these types of cases is low,'' admitted Hollywood
Police Lt.
Chad Wagner. ``Hopefully, somebody saw something.''

Wagner said police planned to conduct a sweep last night of prostitutes
work the area where the victim's body was found in the hope of shaking
some witnesses.

Frustrated Boston detectives had hoped for the same luck in the Holmer
but despite a wide media blitz, no witnesses were ever found who could
Holmer with a suspect. The last time she was seen alive, investigators
was in an alley outside Zanzibar, a popular former nightspot where she
had been
partying with friends less than 12 hours before.

But as much as the cases mirror each other, they are also different.

Mendez's torso was still clad in a bloody tube top, although her lower
half was
naked. Holmer had been stripped of her clothing and her body washed
clean of
blood. In both cases, the victim's other clothing and jewelery were not

The condition of both bodies hint at different killers, experts said.
bloody corpse indicates a frenzied, disorganized killer while Holmer's
body indicates a meticulous, well-planned crime.

Holmer was strangled while Mendez suffered blunt injuries, indicating
she may
have been beaten.

The similarities and differences in the two cases have prompted
to take a closer look at both.

``We can't just let that go by,'' said Wagner. ``That is definitely a
lead that
needs to be looked into.''

Meanwhile, in Boston, authorities said they were awaiting the results of
autopsy and forensic tests conducted by Hollywood police before deciding

whether to send homicide detectives to Florida.
The following appears courtesy of the 5/20/99 online edition of The
Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper:

Prostitute slaying eerily similar to Boston case

By VANESSA BAUZÁ, Staff Writer

May 20, 1999

Could the murder of a local prostitute whose body was sliced in half and

abandoned in a dumpster be connected to an unsolved killing in Boston
years ago?

The two cases are eerily similar. Detectives are working to find out
the similarities are more than coincidence.

On June 23, 1996, the severed torso of Karina Holmer, 20, was found
in a
dumpster in the Fenway neighborhood. But detectives never found the
other half
of her body. Nor the tool used to slice Holmer's body with surgical
They never found a suspect nor the scene of the crime.

Holmer's murder has confounded and frustrated Boston investigators.

On Sunday, another severed body was found in a dumpster at 2111 N.
Highway in Hollywood.

The body of Delia Lorna Mendez, 34, was smoothly sliced in half at
waist. Both women were found a few blocks from where they last were
seen. But
in Mendez's case, both parts of her body were found.

There are other differences:

Police said Mendez had numerous bruises on her body, while Holmer had
and may have been washed clean, possibly in a bathtub. Holmer's killer
strangled her, then put her 48-pound torso in two black plastic bags and
it under a pile of rubble in the dumpster. Boston investigators said the
didn't want to leave a trail of blood.

Mendez, on the other hand, was found in a blood-soaked dumpster. The
Examiner's Office has not released her cause of death. She probably was
when she was cut, Hollywood Detective Gary Baney said.

He said it's too early to tell whether the cases are connected, but
he is
keeping his options open.

"We're hoping this has something to do with (Mendez's) drug
involvement or a
personal vendetta rather than thinking we have a maniac out there who
strike again," Baney said. "But at this point, our plate is full of

Hollywood detectives said they entered the details of Mendez's case
into a
national police information database kept by the FBI. Boston police
with their similar case, Baney said. He also has received numerous tips.

But investigators are cautious about claiming a connection between
the two

"Right now we don't believe there's any relationship with this
murder," said
Donald Devine, superintendent of investigations for the Boston Police
Department. "The body was severed in Florida and the body was severed in
and that's the similarity right now."

Hollywood police also contacted the FBI for help in drawing up a
profile of
a possible killer using evidence and information from the murder.

Information from the Boston Herald was used to supplement this

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