PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) Police say a man who sexually assaulted and strangled a woman until she lay unconscious last month may be responsible for the recent strangulation deaths of two women in the same part of northeastern Philadelphia.
Police hope that the description provided by the surviving victim of the Kensington attacks who came forward Monday may help lead them to the alleged killer.
Earlier this week, police interviewed the woman who claims she was assaulted, strangled, and left to die in early October, but for reasons unknown never reported the incident to authorities.
According to The Philadelphia Daily News, the woman describes her attacker as a black or Latino man in his late 20s or early 30s, between 5 feet 8 and 6 feet, with a goatee and a short-style haircut.
Because there is no physical or forensic evidence linking the crimes, Homicide Lt. Norman Davenport stopped short of saying that there was a strangler on the loose or that the cases are connected.
However, all occurred within a four-block radius and all involved manual strangulation, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.
Sharon Malinksi, who has lived in the area for 35 years, said prostitutes stand at the corner, even when school is letting out.
"They don't care," she told The Philadelphia Daily News. "My husband said, 'What's it going to take? Somebody getting killed.' And it did."
The body of 35-year-old Nicole Piacentini of Port Richmond was found Saturday afternoon in the rear of an abandoned building in Kensington. Ten days earlier, on November 3, the body of 21-year-old nursing student Elaine Goldberg was found in a trash-strewn lot about a half-mile away.
Both women were found partially clothed and it is believed that both had sexual encounters with the assailant, but it is unclear whether those encounters were forced or consensual, says The Philadelphia Daily News.
The families of both the victims hope that the circulation of the photo generates some leads and ultimately, ends with an arrest.
"I just want the guy to get caught," Nicole's mother, Christine Piacentini, told The Philadelphia Daily News. "It won't bring my daughter back, but I don't want this to happen to anybody else."
Anyone with information about the killer's identity is urged to call Homicide Detectives at 215-686- 3334.