Criminal profiler provides insight into possible mindset of Alex - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Criminal profiler provides insight into possible mindset of Alexandria killer

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The suspect is described as an older white male, balding with gray hair, and a full beard (Image: Alexandria Police Department) The suspect is described as an older white male, balding with gray hair, and a full beard (Image: Alexandria Police Department)
WASHINGTON -

The possible connection of the murders of Nancy Dunning, Ron Kirby and Ruthanne Lodato in Alexandria has many wondering what type of person could commit such crimes.

Retired FBI agent and profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole says the killer is a person who clearly can blend in and so doesn't raise suspicion.

She also believes if they are not caught, they will kill again.

O'Toole says it is hard to tell if the relative fame in the Alexandria community of the three victims made them targets and why, but she has some ideas about why there was a 10-year gap between the Dunning murder and those of Kirby and Lodato.

"It could be because the person relocated to another city or another part of the country,” O'Toole says. “Or it could be that they're incarcerated for some other kind of crime. But we've had other cases where the offender stopped because there were things going on in his life that prevented him from continuing on with his series."

O'Toole says whoever is behind the killings likely knows the neighborhood and is very comfortable moving about without raising suspicion.

"He just didn't get off Interstate 95 on three separate occasions to come in the same neighborhood,” she says. “It's almost as if this person is immune to the idea that you could be seen, you could be apprehended, somebody could identify you and prepare a composite on you. But that doesn't seem to affect him."

A composite sketch of the killer developed after the murder of Lodato shows an older, balding white man with gray hair and beard. O'Toole believes despite the sketch, the killer may not be in any rush to change his appearance.

"My experience with these types of offenders is that they can be extremely arrogant people," she says. "So he could be looking at that and saying to himself the cops they're never going to find me. I'm never going to change my appearance."

O'Toole says if the three murders are connected, she believes the killer will lay low for a while and perhaps even move to another area. But she believes the killing won't stop until he's caught.

"If this is a serial offender, yes, they're anticipating it and they're planning for it,” says O’Toole.

She says the killer is more than likely following news reports of his crimes and deriving perverse pleasure from it. She says that is why it is important that authorities are very careful about what they say so as to not give the killer reason to act.


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