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Missing 19-year-old Compton woman linked to serial killer, police say

Two months after Steven Dean Gordon was sentenced to death in the abduction and slaying of four women, Anaheim police say they have identified a fifth victim.

Authorities believe Sable Pickett, a 19-year-old Compton resident, also was killed by Gordon, Anaheim Police Sgt. Luis Correa said. His co-defendant, Franc Cano, is expected to be tried in the murders later this year.

Although police have not found Pickett’s body, they believe the men snatched her along a stretch of Beach Boulevard in Anaheim on Feb. 14, 2014, and killed her later that evening, Correa said.

From the onset of their three-year-long investigation into the serial killings, Anaheim police had been looking for a fifth victim. During an interview with detectives, Gordon talked about another victim, Correa said.

“The detectives made it a priority to identify any victims who were potentially out there,” he said.

Authorities previously had identified four of Gordon’s victims: Kianna Jackson, 20, of Las Vegas; Josephine Vargas, 34, of Santa Ana; Martha Anaya, 27, of Santa Ana and Jarrae Estepp, 21, of Elk City, Okla.

At the end of March, detectives added Pickett to the list. Police would not discuss what led to that determination because the investigation is ongoing.

“There is still a lot of … work to be done,” Correa said.

Authorities said Gordon and Cano were homeless and registered sex offenders, who were wearing ankle monitors at the time of the killings.

The victims had been working as prostitutes in Anaheim and Santa Ana in late 2013 and early 2014. The bodies of Jackson, Vargas and Anaya were never found.

Estepp’s body was found in an Anaheim recycling plant in March 2014.

The discovery of Estepp’s body sparked the investigation, which led to Cano and Gordon.

In December, a jury convicted the 47-year-old Gordon of the murders and decided he should be executed. Gordon, who represented himself during his trial last year, told jurors he wanted to plead guilty and had to fire his public defender because she wouldn’t let him. He also said he represented himself at trial in the hopes of speeding along the system.

During the penalty phase, Gordon told jurors that he and Cano went on a “killing spree.”

“There is no defense for what me and him did,” he said. “Absolutely none. It’s despicable and disgusting.”

Gordon was sentenced to death on Feb. 3. At the sentencing, Jackson’s mother, Katherine Menzies, said she was haunted by the thought that her daughter could still be alive. Gordon confirmed at trial that he had killed Jackson. She thanked him for putting that question to rest.

“I feel the death penalty is the right sentence,” she told the judge. “I will never see my daughter, and she will never see my family.”

Cano remains in custody at Orange County jail and is awaiting trial.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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