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Cops: Calif. serial killers stopped "in their tracks"

Franc Cano, left, and Steven Gordon CBS Los Angeles

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Two registered sex offenders have been arrested in connection with the murders of four women across Orange County, Calif., including one whose body turned up at an Anaheim recycling plant and three who disappeared in Santa Ana, police said Saturday.

Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were arrested about an hour apart near their RVs on Friday, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said. CBS Los Angeles reports the men are being held without bail on suspicion of murder.

"We believe we have two serial killers in custody and we have stopped them in their tracks," he said.

He said detectives in Santa Ana and Anaheim launched a joint investigation after the naked body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, was found in the conveyor belt of the recycling plant on March 14. The probe led detectives to connect the men to her slaying, and the disappearance of three women - Josephine Vargas, 34; Kianna Jackson, 20; and Martha Anaya, 28 -- who frequented a Santa Ana neighborhood known for drug dealing and prostitution.

The Los Angeles Times says outreach workers with an Oklahoma nonprofit had frequent contact with Estepp in Oklahoma City in 2012, when she was featured in several videos of street life posted on YouTube and elsewhere.

Though no other suspects were thought to be involved, Dunn said detectives were continuing to look for more potential victims across the country.

The Orange County Register reports both men were convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on children under 14 years old. As a requirement of the convictions, both were required to wear GPS tracking bracelets, though officials wouldn't say whether the tracking devices played a role in linking Gordon and Cano to the women.

A news conference to discuss the case is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

  • Crimesider Staff

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