ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police have launched an Internet and public relations blitz in the hunt for a serial killer they believe killed 11 women outside Albuquerque in a mystery that has baffled investigators since the bodies turned up in mass graves nearly three years ago.
Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Thursday that authorities recently unveiled the website, helpuscatchakiller.com, which contains software that directs keyword searches on search engines to the site.
He said the website is aimed at keeping the public informed about the victims and introducing the case to new people not familiar with the killings.
"One of the commitments we made from the very beginning to the families of all 11 victims was that this case would not disappear and become a cold case," said Schultz.
Schultz said the website so far has yielded dozens of tips, but not the "one tip" police are seeking that could break open the mystery. "We still haven't received that tip that says, 'you know what, this points us in the right direction'," said Schultz. "A lot of the tips are, unfortunately, along the line of urban lore."
Authorities have said nearly all the dead women worked as prostitutes before they disappeared between 2003 to early 2005.
The victims include Jamie Barela, a 15-year-old who was last seen by family in 2004. Buried with her were Syllannia Edwards, 15, a runaway from Lawton, Okla., and Michelle Valdez, 22, along with her unborn child.
Their bodies were found in 2009 after a woman and her dog found a large bone protruding from the dirt. They are called the "West Mesa murders" because of where the bodies were buried on the west side of Albuquerque.
In 2010, FBI agents and Albuquerque police officers searched two homes and at least one business owned by a health food store owner and travel photographer from Joplin, Mo. Police also questioned men who hired prostitutes and were prone to violence.
But no arrests have been made.
Since the bodies were discovered, police have received federal grant money to update their technology systems to cross-reference information they get from tips.
In addition to the website sponsored by the city of Albuquerque, a company named Greenoffers has printed cards of all eleven victims and is encouraging businesses to pass them out to keep the case in the public's eye. The cards are being produced and passed out free of charge.