Ballistic testing shows highway shooting deaths connected, source says

Ballistic testing shows highway shooting deaths connected, source says
Provided by CNN.

POSTED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 1:32pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 2:54pm

Ballistics tests have linked the shooting deaths of two people along roadways in Mississippi, a source who has been briefed on the investigation said Thursday.

Investigators have raised the possibility that someone posing as a police officer is to blame for the shootings, which happened 55 miles apart. Profilers from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been asked to assist in the investigation.

In the first incident, Tom Schlender, 74, was found dead in his car about 1:30 a.m. in the median of an interstate highway last week. A few days later, Lori Anne Carswell, 48, was found dead outside her car on the shoulder of a state highway.

Authorities say the victims did not know each other.

Schlender had been traveling from Nebraska, and according to bank records the family has looked up, he withdrew around $600 for the trip before he left, Schlender's son-in-law, Matthew Anderson, said.

Schlender's wallet was missing at the crime scene, Anderson said. The family would not indicate whether there has been any activity on Schlender's accounts since the killing.

Carswell's family declined to comment.

Because of the places where the drivers were found, and because nothing was found wrong with their cars, authorities say it's possible someone posing as a police officer may have signaled to the drivers to pull over.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public's help to find the person.

The agency has been receiving leads and processing forensic evidence, bureau spokesman Warren Strain said this week.

John Champion, attorney for the state's 17th District, said both shootings occurred in "very remote areas."

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