Authorities are investigating a pair of similar murders in Indianapolis that happened within days of each other in the same area last week.
Although there are “a number of commonalities” between the two killings, no evidence directly indicates that they were related, the Indianapolis Police Department said in a news release. But authorities have still made note of the similarities in both cases, including the fact that both victims were White women in their 50s who were killed “in the same manner.” Their bodies were found on the same road, and each had ties to the city’s far east side, according to police.
Police have not shared details about how either woman was killed, nor have they identified a suspect or suspects despite characterizing both cases as homicides.
At a Friday news briefing, which the police department said was held “out of an abundance of caution,” Acting Police Chief Chris Bailey asked that anyone with information potentially connected to either case contact the department, CBS affiliate WTTV reported.
“We need the community’s assistance to understand what these women were doing before they were killed that may help investigators move this case forward,” said Bailey.
The first woman was found dead the morning of Jan. 27, in the parking lot of a dentist’s office on Indianapolis’ east side, according to police and WTTV. Just days later, on Feb. 1, a second woman was found dead behind a strip mall nearby. The victims were respectively identified as 58-year-old Shannon Lassere and 52-year-old Marianne Weis, WTTV reported.
Justin Smith, Lassere’s son, told the station that his mother had gone out for a walk the night of Jan. 26 and never returned home, and suggested the two killings were not a coincidence. CBS News contacted the Indianapolis Police Department for more information but did not receive an immediate response.
“It’s just weird that it is two different people, two different days, and it seems similar. It’s absolutely weird,” Michael Adams, who lives near the sites of the killings, told WTTV.
Indianapolis police said they are stepping up officers’ presence in the area where the bodies were found “in the interest of public safety to prevent this type of violence in our community.”
“Residents should expect to see more uniformed officers patrolling the area, in vehicles and on foot, and detectives will be canvassing the area in the coming days,” police said. “In addition to our homicide unit, IMPD will have multiple units working these cases.”
The police department said it is working with a county forensic services agency to determine whether meaningful forensic evidence can be pulled from the scene and asking others in the area to check any private surveillance footage “to see if they saw anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.”