ATLANTIC CITY – Identifying the four women whose decomposing bodies were found facedown in a ditch behind a strip of seedy West Atlantic City motels last week had been the most pressing task for investigators.
Now police face the daunting task of finding their killer.
Yesterday, authorities identified the fourth victim – the youngest – as Molly Jean Dilts, 20, an unemployed fast-food cook from Blairsville in Western Pennsylvania.
She last spoke to relatives on Oct. 7, after going to Atlantic City with her boyfriend. Sometime after that, her family filed a missing persons report with police, authorities said.
“She was the first one. She was the most decomposed,” her father, Vernon Dilts, said in a phone interview from his home. “Maybe he got braver and braver,” he said of his daughter’s killer.
The medical examiner confirmed Dilts’ identity through fingerprints. Her body, which had lain in the watery ditch for as long as a month, was so decomposed the cause of death couldn’t be determined. That also was the case with Barbara V. Breidor, 42, of Ventnor, N.J., who was identified on Sunday.
The woman whose body was the last dumped in the ditch, Kim Raffo, 35, of Atlantic City, had been strangled with a ligature, according to the medical examiner. Tracy Ann Roberts, 23, also of Atlantic City, died from asphyxia by unspecified means.
All four deaths are being investigated as homicides, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz.
[Authorities] refused to call the deaths the work of a serial killer, but experts said the killings bore serial-murder similarities. All the women had blond or light-colored hair and their shoeless bodies were placed in a row in the ditch with their heads pointing east.
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