The slayings of five women in England who worked as prostitutes has prompted a "tremendous response" from the public, police said Wednesday.
Two bodies were discovered on Tuesday, adding to the three bodies found earlier in the month. All the bodies were stripped naked and dumped in the woods or in streams within several kilometres of a major highway near the southeastern town of Ipswich.
Det. Chief Supt. Stewart Gull, who is leading the investigation into the murders, said 70 more officers have been added to the case, along with forensics specialists from London.
Body found near Ipswich:
|Gemma Adams, 25||In a pond on Dec. 2|
|Tania Nicol, 19||In a stream on Dec. 8|
|Anneli Alderton, 24||Ina forest on Dec. 10|
|Annette Nicholls, 29||In woods eight kilometres from town on Dec. 12 (identity not confirmed)|
|Paula Clennell, 24||In woods eight kilometres from town on Dec. 12 (identity not confirmed)|
Police have received more than 2,200 telephone tips, and Gull urged anyone with suspicions to contact them.
"We've had a tremendous response from the public. Clearly, we're working through the information that's been provided to us, prioritizing those actions, assessing them and then allocating them," said Gull.
He urged the public to be alert.
"The offender or offenders may be displaying uncharacteristic signs. If anybody is concerned about an individual, they need to contact Suffolk police."
Gull suggested police believe they may have a serial killer on their hands.
"We might be looking for one offender. The similarities are strikingly obvious," he said.
3 victims identified
The three earlier victims have been identified as Gemma Adams, 25, whose body was found Dec. 2; Tania Nicol, 19, whose body was found on Dec. 8; and 24-year-old Anneli Alderton, whose body was found on Sunday.
The bodies discovered on Tuesday are believed to be those of two otherprostitutes missing for more than one week, Annette Nicholls, 29, and Paula Clennell, 24.
Police have cordoned off the areas where the bodies were found, near a village about eight kilometres from Ipswich. The bodies will be moved to a hospital in Ipswich later Wednesday for formal identification.
"We haven't found what appear to be murder scenes. What we're dealing with appear to be deposition sites, which is where the bodies have been dumped and left," said Gull.
A pathologist is performing autopsies on all five women, who may know the killer or killers.
"It might be a regular client, a regular punter, and I think that potentially the working girls of Ipswich, maybe unwittingly, hold the key to who is responsible for the deaths," Gull said.
Clennell told Britain's ITV last week she would continue to work the streets, despite the threat.
"I need the money. It has made me a bit wary about getting into cars," she said. "You just donât know, it could be anyone."