Authorities step up patrols in wake of roadside murders

TUNICA COUNTY, MS - (WMC-TV) – Investigators have issued a warning for all Mid-South drivers to be on alert as authorities search for a roadside killer. Police are increasing patrols throughout North Mississippi.

This is a very scary situation for anyone driving on the interstates in North Mississippi.  Investigators are out patrolling, but they don't have a lot of information about the killers of two people in two separate incidents. So they are alerting motorists to be careful.

People are afraid because two people in three days were shot to death in North Mississippi on the side of the interstate. One victim was a 74-year-old grandfather from Nebraska, found on Interstate 55 near Pope, Mississippi in Panola County. The other, 47-year-old Lori Anne Carswell of Hernando, a cashier at Fitz Casino, was found shot outside her car on the side of Mississippi Highway 713 near Interstate 69 in Tunica County.

"She's very friendly," said Carswell's friend Debra Exhtenkamp. "She was willing to help anybody. But she mostly stayed to herself because she worked at night."

Investigators believe both murders are related even though they happened 55 miles apart. They also believe that the killers got their victims over on the side of the interstate in some way – by luring them, forcing them or maybe even posing as police officers. Investigators say a possible suspect car is a light colored Crown Victoria.

At a news conference in Hernando, law enforcement from across North Mississippi showed up in force to let the public know patrols are being stepped up.  That saturation on the interstate is going on day and night.

"Both subjects were on the side of the road when they were shot," District Attorney John Champion said. "We do not have a witness at this point. We are asking the community for help."

Investigators are also asking the FBI's Behavioral Sciences unit for help.

Investigators recommend that if someone in an unmarked car tries to pull you over, go to a lighted, well populated area before stopping. They also suggest going to a police or sheriff's department. You can also call 911 to verify it is an officer.  If you think you have information that can help in this investigation call your local law enforcement.

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