2 Kensington stranglings tied to one perp

The brutal murders and sexual assaults of two women in the city earlier this month have been linked to the same twisted fiend - the Kensington strangler.

Homicide Capt. James Clark said investigators learned yesterday that DNA evidence connected the killer to the stranglings of Nicole Piacentini, 35, and Elaine Goldberg, 21.

Piacentini's partially clothed body was found in an abandoned property on Cumberland Street near Jasper on Nov. 13. Ten days earlier, Goldberg's partially clothed body was found in an abandoned lot on Ruth Street near Hart Lane. Investigators have said both women were sexually assaulted.

Clark said the strangler's DNA has been entered into CODIS, a national database of criminal DNA profiles, in hopes that authorities can uncover his identity.

The captain acknowledged that police could "potentially" be dealing with a serial killer, and are re-examining unsolved murders and other violent attacks in the area that could also be linked to the strangler.

Investigators have also asked federal authorities to see if similar murders have occurred outside the city, Clark said.

They might have already stumbled on two other cases: Last week, two women told police that they were sexually assaulted and choked until they passed out in Kensington in October.

One of the women helped police create a composite sketch of a slender, 20-something black or Latino man with a small goatee and a skin mark on his cheek. Clark stressed that detectives don't yet know if the man depicted in the sketch was involved with the two murders.

Tipsters can contact the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or -3335.