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Kensington woman had been raped, strangled

Allison Steele, Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer

Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 6:35 PM

A woman speaks to police in the 100 block of East Tusculum Street in the Kensington section, where the body of a young woman was found Wednesday. (Joseph Kaczmarek / For The Inquirer)

Investigators believe the young woman whose body was found in Kensington last night had been sexually assaulted and strangled, possibly linking her death to two recent murders and other attacks on women in the neighborhood.

The identity of the latest victim, found in a wooded area along the train tracks off East Tusculum Street, has not been released.

Police said she was a 27 years old and "known to police" in another community. She did not have a Philadelphia address, and police refused to elaborate on her criminal record.

Autopsy results are not final, but police Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn said there were signs of sexual assault and obvious trauma to her body indicating she had been strangled.

She was found blocks from where strangling victims Elaine Goldberg and Nicole Piacentini were discovered last month. The area is well-known as a spot where addicts go to use drugs, police said.

Similar to Goldberg and Piacentini, the latest victim was found nude from the waist down. She also had a plastic bag on her head.

Blackburn said there were "strong indications" that the homicides were linked.

Police have been scouring Kensington in recent weeks for the man or men responsible for the killings and attacks on several women in the area. DNA evidence has determined that Goldberg and Piacentini were killed by the same man.

In addition to Goldberg and Piacentini, three women have reported being attacked by a man who choked, sexually assaulted or hit them. Those victims have described their assailant similarly, and police have created two composite sketches from those reports.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the homicide unit at 215-686-3334.

Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com

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Allison Steele, Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer

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