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Woman, 22, May Be 42nd Victim in Serial Killings

Times Staff Writer

San Diego County may have its 42nd victim in a series of slayings of female transients and prostitutes dating back to 1985, police said Wednesday.

The bound body of Nicolette Jean Frye, 22, was found Monday in a remote ravine near La Mesa. She had been dead three or four days when the body was found, the coroner’s office said. The body was discovered by residents of the area of the 9400 block of Edgewood Drive, according to sheriff’s deputies.

Frye, who lived in the 800 block of 27th Street in San Diego, was also known as Loretta Hart and Margaret Ann Haney, police said.

The San Diego Metropolitan Homicide Task Force took over the investigation because of Frye’s background as a prostitute and other parallels between her death and the other homicides, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Cook, a task force spokesman.

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The 42 homicides share similarities in the life styles of the victims and in the way their bodies had been dumped in remote areas, Cook said.

However, the investigator said it is unlikely that all the slaying were the work of a single killer. He said it is “very likely” that police are investigating the crimes of several killers.

An autopsy did not determine the cause of Frye’s death, deputy coroner Charles Kelley said, and the results of laboratory tests will not be ready for about four weeks.

Most of the 42 homicides being investigated by the task force involve female transients or prostitutes between the ages of 15 and 45 who were strangled and whose often nude bodies were dumped in deserted areas outside the city, Cook said.

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Although Frye was found fully clothed, other factors convinced investigators that her death fit the pattern of killings.


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