Police say three stabbings in Leesburg are connected to serial killings in Michigan, but have not found any forensic evidence linking the assaults.
Leesburg detectives researching online noticed similarities between the local stabbings and attacks on black men in Flint, Mich., police said. The descriptions of the suspect and his vehicles are similar.
But police are still searching for a motive, further evidence, connections to the areas where the attacks occurred and the whereabouts of the man, suspected of killing five people in Flint and stabbing three others in Leesburg, 11 in Flint and one in Toledo, Ohio.
Virginia police learned of the Flint attacks, believed they were similar to local assaults and "started a dialogue with Michigan authorities," said Officer Chris Jones, Leesburg police spokesman. He said the Virginia attacks -- which occurred Aug. 3, 5 and 6 -- were thought to be connected because they were "so out of character for this area."
Experts on serial killings said it's unusual, but not unheard of, for a serial murderer to settle for wounding his victims.
The attacker may have wanted to kill, but couldn't because "he's in a big hurry or somebody comes by," said Ronald Turco, a psychiatrist who has studied serial killers.
The consistencies in the attacker's behavior "is a pretty good link," Turco said. Police say the man asks someone for directions or assistance, then stabs the victim. Most of the victims have been black or dark-skinned men.
Police say they don't know how or if the man is connected to the cities were the attacks have occurred.
Authorities don't have the name of a suspect or his license plate number, though police believe the same vehicle -- a green Chevrolet Blazer or GMC Jimmy -- was used in all the attacks, said Michigan State Police Lt. John Card.
Attacks in multiple states show that the suspect is "comfortable traveling" and able to do so, said Eric Hickey, dean of the California School of Forensic Studies and an expert on serial killers.
Most serial murderers stay local, Hickey said.
Police don't know where the attacker is now. The most recent suspected assault was reported in Toledo on Saturday.
The suspect is described as a muscular white man in his late 20s or early 30s, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, with light-colored hair.