Facebook Takes on Philly Strangler

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 10:12am

Community uses social network in search for mysterious killer.

For the past two months a man dubbed the "Kensington Strangler" has terrorized the Kensington section of Philadelphia and after three murders and at least three other violent assaults, the people of Kensington are trying to fight back to make their neighborhood safe.

One way concerned residents are coming together is Facebook. A page called "Catch the Kensington
Strangler Before he Catches Someone You Love," had over 7,600 followers Monday night.

"A lot of people don't want to talk to the cops," said Richie Antipuna, co-creator of the page. "So we created the page...to let people inform each other of what's going on."

They've passed along dozens of anonymous tips to police, and when someone posted a picture of a guy who is not a suspect, police jumped right in with their own post:

"The photograph of a male displayed on this Fan Page. . . which has been posted as a suspected wanted in the Kensington Stranger case IS NOT CORRECT."

Just last week investigators released surveillance video captured just before a man attacked a woman in the early morning hours of Dec. 6 on the1600 block of Sergeant Street, police said.

"This is not a phantom, this male did not crawl into a hole," said Special Victims Unit Cpt. John Darby. "He's out there interacting with others."

The footage of the suspect terrorizing the neighborhood came out a couple days after a third woman was found strangled in a vacant lot in Kensington.

Casey Mahoney was Wednesday's victim.

Autopsy results came out Thursday stating that the 27-year-old was strangled and there were signs of sexual assault and DNA results are expected later this week to determine for sure if she was killed by the same man who took two other lives.

Tests reveal that the same man raped and strangled Elaine Goldberg, and Nicole Piacentini.

Goldberg, a nursing student at Gwynedd Mercy College, was choked to death on Nov. 3 and found in a lot at 2800 Ruth Street.

Ten days later, Nicole Piacentini's body was found strangled in a lot at 1907 E. Cumberland.

"Based on similarities, it appears that it may be the work of the individual responsible for the first two murders," said Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn.

Investigators think the same man is responsible for three other attacks.

Those women managed to escape after being choked.

Earlier this month, police first released surveillance video of a man they think might be responsible for one of the sexual assaults.

"We're asking the public, someone knows this individual, to reach out and contact the police, contact homicide. It's critical that we get this person off the streets," said Blackburn.

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