Officers in two Utah cities will make extra patrols Monday, the anniversary of the slayings of two women -- one in 2006, the other in 2008 -- who investigators believe were killed by the same person.
Sonia Mejia, 29, and Damiana Castillo, 57, were killed on the same date two years apart
, police say.
Investigators recently learned forensic evidence links the February 9, 2006, killing of a pregnant Sonia Mejia and the February 9, 2008, slaying of Damiana Castillo, police in two neighboring Salt Lake City suburbs.
No arrest has been made. Both women were Hispanic, and both were found slain in their apartments -- one in Taylorsville and the other a mile away in West Valley City.
Authorities are trying to determine whether the date is significant, but they want residents "to be cautious in general" and not focus just on Monday, West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell said.
Investigators are not saying a serial killer was involved, Powell said. But the links are alarming for the involved neighborhoods, which are heavily populated by Latinos.
Mejia, 29, was six months' pregnant when she was sexually assaulted and strangled. She was found dead in her Taylorsville apartment, and her unborn child died, too. Her car was found abandoned outside a hotel in nearby Murray, UtahL. Some jewelry of Mejia's is missing.
Castillo, 57, was found strangled in her apartment two years later in West Valley City, about a mile away from Mejia's apartment. Her son found the body, and there were no signs of forced entry.
Police in both cities announced on Wednesday that forensic evidence linked the slayings to one killer
, and that they had reason to believe he was a Hispanic male in his late teens or early 20s, standing between 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 135 to 150 pounds and having short black hair.
Powell declined to say how investigators arrived at those details or what kind of forensic evidence linked the killings. Police haven't said whether the women knew their attacker.
Investigators haven't linked the killings to any other but are "not closing the door on anything that might be related," said Powell, who added he isn't aware of any other February 9 homicides in the two cities or surrounding communities in recent years.
"[The significance of the date] is something that we're looking further into, and if someone has some information that would enlighten us, that would be helpful," Powell said.
Anyone with information about the slayings can call the task force's tip line at 801-965-5121 or send an e-mail to the task force at email@example.com
, police said.