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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 15:45 UK

US serial killings: Targeted victims

Police in the American state of South Carolina have confirmed that they are hunting a serial killer after a fifth victim died in hospital on 4 July.

The killings started on 27 June in Cherokee County, in a small rural community of 54,000 people set amid peach orchards and farms.

They occurred within about 10 miles (16km) of each other.

Police say that although the first victim was a man, it appears the killer may be targeting women.

KLINE CASH

Peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, is believed to be the first known victim of the Cherokee County serial killer.

Undated picture of Kline Cash looks over the buds on peach trees
Kline Cash was a major peach producer

He was found dead on the living room floor in his home, by his wife at around 1845, on Saturday, 27 June.

His wife Vickie had been out shopping in the afternoon and had last seen her husband at around 1500.

According to reports, she told investigators that a man asking to buy some hay had come to the house earlier in the day. She said the man was talking to her husband when she left to run some errands.

Police initially said they thought the robbery was a likely motive, but did not say whether there was any sign of a struggle at the home. They also said it did not appear there had been a forced entry into the home.

Mr Cash, a major peach producer in the area, was described by a business associate as "a great guy".

HAZEL LINDER, GENA LINDER PARKER

The bodies of Hazel Linder, 83, and her daughter Gena Linder Parker, 50, were found in their home by relatives on Wednesday afternoon, 1 July, at around 1500.

They lived around seven miles from the Tyler home, but investigators have not said whether the families knew each other. The home was also not far from a house where peach farmer Kline Cash was shot to death.

Ms Linder, a retired school teacher and Ms Linder Parker had both been bound and shot.

Ms Linder Parker had been a teacher at Calhoun Academy of Arts.

ABBY TYLER, STEPHEN TYLER

For 15-year-old Abby Tyler, the evening of Thursday, 2 July, was a typical one. She was helping her father close up the family's small furniture appliance shop near downtown Gaffney. Some time before 1930, a gunman walked in and shot her in the head, seriously injuring her.

The Tyler home
Abby Tyler and her father were discovered at the family business

Her father Stephen, 45, was shot dead in the same attack.

The victims were discovered shortly after by an employee of the business.

Police believe the gunman was the same person who had killed three other people in the past few days - a man in his 40s, thought to have been driving a silver or champagne coloured Ford Explorer.

Abby was rushed to a hospital in the state, where she died two days later.

The victims were shot about half a mile from the sheriff's office, where dozens of investigators were already working on the separate killings.

Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton was quoted by Fox News as saying that a criminal profiler had suggested Mr Tyler and his daughter might have been shot to taunt investigators.

Investigators did not say whether the victims had been bound as well as shot, like the previous victims.

Abby and Stephen Tyler were described by friends as wonderful people and part of a family that was well-liked and respected in the town.



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