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Serial Killer on the loose
Serial Killer's Fifth Victim Dies
Residents Armed, Prayerful After Serial Killer's Attacks
POSTED: 9:07 pm EDT July 2, 2009
UPDATED: 12:20 pm EDT July 5, 2009
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GAFFNEY, S.C. -- A teenager who was one of five people shot by a serial killer in Cherokee County in just five days died Saturday morning, according to the county coroner.
Coroner Dennis Fowler said Abby Leigh Tyler, 15, of Gaffney, died at 11:25 a.m. Saturday at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Abby and her father, Stephen Tyler, were shot Thursday by a man who police say a serial killer.
Fowler said, “As you can imagine, this is a most traumatic and difficult time for the Tyler family. They have asked me to ask you to respect their privacy during this situation. I would also ask that you pray for all of the families involved in the events of recent days along with the more than 100 members of the law enforcement task team that are working around the clock to solve these five homicides.”
Investigators released a sketch Friday that was created with the help of a witness. The Cherokee County sheriff confirmed that a serial killer is responsible for the shootings. The teenager's death marks the fifth in connection with the case.
Gun sales have increased over the weekend in Cherokee County while others hold prayer vigils amid a search for a serial killer.
The witness said the new sketch looks much more like the man who has killed five people in three separate attacks.
[Investigators released this new sketch of the serial killer Friday evening.]
Investigators released this new sketch of the serial killer Friday evening.
Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton said evidence connects all the shootings, and investigators believe one man is responsible.
He said, "Without a doubt, we are confident that the same subject is involved in all the shootings."
Blanton said the killer is described as having salt and pepper hair, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, driving a silver 1991-1994 Ford Explorer. He said a blue van previously thought to be of interest has been eliminated as a suspect vehicle.
TimeLine: Serial Killer's Spree
He asked that anyone with information call Cherokee County CrimeStoppers at 864-489-2746 or Spartanburg County CrimeStoppers at 58-CRIME. A reward of $2,500 has been established for information leading to an arrest. WYFF News 4 has learned that an anonymous citizen donated $500, Crimestoppers offered $2,000.
Blanton said, "The community has a legitimate reason to be concerned. We're dealing with a man who has killed four people and shot a 14- or 15-year-old girl and killed an 80-year-old woman. Good people in this community who didn't deserve that. And he doesn't show concern or remorse."
"We send this message -- and I am trying to emphasize -- we need to be vigilant in our community with our safety … Check on people -- if you have a mother or father or elderly couple that lives by themselves, you check on your children and you try not to go places by yourself. If something doesn't look right, then you back out of it. If you go to Wal-Mart and something doesn't look right -- there's a car or a person that doesn't look right -- then don't get out. Don't just assume there's nothing there …. The thing that this man has shown is that he is unpredictable."
Father Killed, Daughter Fatally Wounded
In the most recent attack on Thursday night, Abby Tyler and her father were shot inside the family’s Gaffney furniture store. Abby was pronounced dead Saturday. Stephen Tyler was dead at the scene.
Investigators said they were called to the Tyler Home Center on 612 East Frederick St. just after 7 p.m.
Fowler said that the owner's wife, oldest daughter and an employee found Stephen Tyler and his daughter unresponsive in the store and called police.
Abby was airlifted to Spartanburg Regional Hospital. Despite some media reports that indicated Abby had spoken to rescuers, Sheriff Rick Turner said due to the severity of Abby’s injuries, she was never able to provide police any information.
Video: Shooting Leaves Man Dead, Teen Critically Injured
Like all the other serial killer's victims, Stephen Tyler was well-known and respected in the community.
Tyler’s friend, Roger Harris, said, "He was well liked throughout the community. In other words, you just couldn't beat him. He was just a nice guy."
Previously, Blanton confirmed that Hazel Keaton Linder, 83, and her daughter Gena Linder Parker, 50, were killed Wednesday by the same person who killed peach farmer Kline Cash, 63, on Saturday. (Full Story)
Images: First 3 Homicides
Sheriff: Serial Killer On Loose
Investigators said that evidence connects all of the shootings, but they would not release details because it could hinder the investigation.
Sources have told WYFF News 4 that Linder and Parker were bound, and Abby Tyler was also bound, but Blanton was not willing to comment on that information.
WYFF News 4’s John Eby was in Cherokee County, and he said the law enforcement presence there is "huge." He said there were several agencies represented, including the FBI and the State Law Enforcement Division. All the agencies were in the area due to the investigation into the three previous homicides.
Blanton said there are more than 100 officers involved in the investigation from agencies in both North and South Carolina. He said SLED forensics experts are working 24 hours a day on the case.
Blanton cautioned residents in the area to be careful, watchful for strangers or unusual behavior and to keep their doors locked and to not let anyone in who they feel unsure of.
Resident Tammy Phillips said, “Oh, it's got us real frightened. And to whoever is out there, doing this killing in Gaffney, we're looking for you. The whole community is out looking for you.”
Blanton also said he doesn't want fear to cause people to "start shooting at shadows." He said no matter what, people should not be dealing with strangers, even in the case of a vehicle breakdown or similar emergency. He said residents should call 911 if they have any problems or concerns. He also said residents should not go to anyone else's house unannounced because of the danger that accidental shootings could happen. Blanton said even as a law enforcement officer, he will be cautious and his family will be cautious.
The sheriff's office and the police department have both canceled any time off for officers as they continue to run down leads.
Refresh this page and watch WYFF News 4 for the latest information on this developing story.
I think this is in south carolina, buckle up tight if u live in carolina. 100 investigators in this case, Is the world coming to an end jesus christ?