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DNA Evidence Suggests Wilson Murders Not Connected to Serial Killer

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WILSON — DNA testing suggests two unsolved murders along the railroad tracks in Wilson were probably not committed by Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, one of the FBI'sten most wanted.

Investigators say Resendez-Ramirez has not been ruled out entirely, but without the DNA, the railway killer is not physically linked to Wilson. People living near the two murder scenes are glad to hear it.

Wilson resident Laura Ayres lives next door to one of the murder scenes. Ayers did not sleep much Thursday night, after hearing that police believe Resendez-Ramirez travels in freight cars, and took some trips through Wilson and Raleigh.

Wilson residents have been lighting up phone lines. "We received calls last night and today from concerned residents that live along the railroad tracks," says Wilson Police Lt. Carlton Turnage. Many of the callers asked what they could do if they saw the suspect.

The worries began Thursday, when Lexington police revealed that on several occasions Resendez-Ramirez hopped a train in Kentucky, then jumped off inWilsonorRaleighto hide.

"According to Kentucky, he was coming here when he felt the police were closing in on him in Kentucky to hide out," said Lt. Carlton Turnage with the Wilson Police Department. "Then, he would travel on the rail system."

In March 1997, someonestrangled 39-year-old Yvonne Crowellin her downtown Wilson apartment, which is just 200 yards from the train tracks.

A few months later, a CSX engineer found 35-year-old Constance Pender tied up and beaten to death beside another stretch of Wilson train tracks. Police say Resendez-Ramirez has a reputation for using nearly any item around him to kill.

"Both murders we have are unsolved and occurred near railroad tracks," Turnage said, "and there are some similarities in the way the crimes were committed. He bounds and gags the person, and then does a violent sexual act, and then beats the person with whatever is around."

Crowell's mother says that she is still afraid of the killer, whoever it is.

Ayers says the fact that Resendez-Ramirez is still on the loose and may be connected with the Wilson murders has her "scared to death."

"Now, all my doors and windows stay locked night and day," she said. "I'm not going to open them anymore until they find this man."

The suspected serial killer is charged with murdering two people in Gorham, Ill. Authorities suspect Ramirez of a total of five murders in two different cities in Texas. He is also wanted for questioning in a murder in Kentucky.

The FBI launched a telephone hotline to get any tips they can on the location of Resendez-Ramirez; the number is1-800-889-8161.