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Sketch released in Louisiana killings

'We are not classifying him as a suspect at this time'

Sketch of the "person of interest" released Tuesday in connection with the Louisiana killings

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CNN's Miles O'Brien reports investigators in Louisiana released a sketch and announced a 'substantial development' in a baffling serial killer case (January 1)
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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (CNN) -- Announcing a "substantial development" in the southern Louisiana serial killer case, authorities say they are looking for a "person of interest" spotted in a white pickup truck near where the latest victim was found.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom said Tuesday that a witness called authorities in recent days and reported seeing a white male, possibly 30 to 40 years old, with "an intense and intimidating stare" on November 21, the day before 23-year-old Trineisha Colomb was reported missing.

The man was reportedly seen in a rural, wooded area of Scott, which is just west of Lafayette, where Colomb lived.

Neustrom said the man was sitting in a white, early 1990s model pickup with chrome front and rear bumpers -- a vehicle that fits the description of one authorities have been on the lookout for.

Authorities said the location was about 500 feet from where Colomb's body was found by a hunter on November 24, two days after she was reported missing.

A similar truck -- described by police as a white Chevrolet or GMC pickup with chrome bumpers and a fish sticker on the tailgate -- was seen near where Colomb's vehicle was abandoned 20 miles away in Grand Coteau.

The latest witness' description enabled authorities to release a composite sketch.

"This is a person we would very much like to talk with," Neustrom said. "There may be legitimate reasons for this person to be in that area, so we are not classifying him as a suspect at this time. ... He is a person of interest."

DNA sampling

Four women have been killed in the region over the past 16 months, each of their deaths linked through DNA evidence to the same man, authorities have said.

Neustrom said authorities began taking DNA samples of 50 to 100 men in the area to eliminate or include as suspects. The samples taken Tuesday were given voluntarily. No results have been returned.

Authorities in Baton Rouge also have taken the DNA of about 800 people, 600 of whom have been cleared. They are awaiting the results on the others.

The killings began last year in Baton Rouge when Gina Wilson Green, 41, was found strangled September 24 in her apartment near the Louisiana State University campus.

Charlotte Murray Pace, 22, was found May 31 stabbed to death in her townhouse, also near the LSU campus. Her roommate discovered the body. Police say they believe there was a loud, fierce struggle before she died.

A pickup truck similar to the one authorities are seeking was described first in the case of the killer's third known victim, Pam Kinamore, 44, who was abducted from her Baton Rouge home July 13.

A witness told police that on the day Kinamore was abducted, he saw a white man of medium build driving a white Chevrolet pickup truck leaving Interstate 10 at the Whiskey Bay Bridge exit with what appeared to be a nude white woman slumped in the passenger seat.

Kinamore's body was found July 16 dumped under a bridge near the same exit, which is about 30 miles west of Baton Rouge, toward Lafayette. Her throat had been cut.

A profile of the killer describes him as a man who probably lives somewhere between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, someone who knows the area well, and most likely a person who lives a "fairly normal life." (See FBI profile)

A synopsis of the killer's behavior and the crime scenes is "indicative of a person who needs to engage in impulsive and high-risk behavior," Neustrom said.

"Because of this behavior, this person has made mistakes," the sheriff said.

Among the mistakes were that he has been too focused on "abducting the victim and completing the attack," leaving behind valuable evidence, Neustrom said.

Asked whether a uniformed officer could be behind the killings, Neustrom said, "I think anybody is a suspect who fits that profile."

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