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Derek Richardson, 27, charged in separate killings of two prostitutes near Kansas City

Derek Richardson AP Photo/Kansas City, Mo. Police Department

(CBS/AP) KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Authorities say a Missouri man was arrested Saturday in the separate killings of two prostitutes whose bodies were found posed on the sides of rural roads near Kansas City.

Derek Richardson, 27, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abandonment of a corpse, authorities said at a news conference Saturday night. His bail is set at $2 million.

"We absolutely stopped a person who was going to kill again," said Kansas City police Sgt. Doug Niemeier, adding that authorities will search across the United States to ensure there weren't other victims. "We do know that he had travels elsewhere, so we will be contacting those states just to make sure."

Police announced earlier this month that there was a link between the deaths of 40-year-old Tamara Sparks and 24-year-old Nicoleone Reed, and asked the public for help. Police said they believed the killer lost a size 11, canvas, Crocs-brand shoe at the site where Sparks' body was found.

Niemeier said a tipster contacted police Thursday night because of the description of the shoe.

Police began trailing Richardson and arrested him late Saturday morning. Niemeier said Richardson confessed to the "intimate details of the crime" and that he didn't know the victims beforehand.

Sparks was found dead on Oct. 4, 2011, on the far northeast side of Kansas City, and Reed was found on Aug. 21, 2012, in rural Kearney, northeast of Kansas City. Both bodies were in spots where they could easily be seen, with their pants pulled down and shirts pulled up.

Both women were last seen on St. John Avenue near Independence Avenue in northeast Kansas City, where they worked as prostitutes, police said.

Earlier this month, police said a third woman, who lived on the same street where Sparks and Reed were last seen, was found dumped in late 2011 along the side of a road in Caldwell County, southeast of Cameron. She survived. But authorities didn't say Saturday if her case was connected.

"We have a tremendous amount of follow-up to do now that we have answered some of our own questions," Niemeier said, adding that it "feels good when you can tell a victim's family that their case has been resolved."

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