MBI following hundreds of tips to catch highway killer

(WMC-TV) - The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said it has gotten hundreds of tips, but none of them have cracked the case of the highway killer yet.

They will continue to investigate each and every one as if it may be the tip they need to catch the person responsible for two shooting deaths on North Mississippi highways.

Investigators said there is a chance the killer could cross state lines and they are on high alert.

As investigators continue to dig up new leads, police and sheriff's deputies are being vigilant in search of anything unusual.

Two people were shot and killed on the side of Mississippi highways in the month of May.

One of the victims was 74-year-old Tom Schlender from Raymond, Nebraska.

"His hobbies were his family," said Schlender's son-in-law, Matt Anderson. "Nothing was more important to him than his children and his grandchildren especially. And his great grandchildren. He would do anything for his family."

One week ago, Tom was driving through Panola County, Mississippi, when he was shot, killed, and left on the side of the road.

"I mean, you always worry about when somebody takes a trip that maybe somebody might have an accident or they might fall ill, but you never think about somebody dying and you never think about somebody dying in the manner in which Tom did," said Anderson.

Three days later, Fitz casino employee Lori Carswell was shot and killed in a similar fashion on Highway 317 in Tunica County. Both victims are believed to have been randomly picked.

Investigators and the victims' families are looking for the same answers and the same conclusion.

"We are looking for a resolution. We are looking for a conclusion to this," said Anderson. "We want them to be caught and we want them to be held accountable."

While a highway murder has yet to happen in DeSoto County, Sheriff Bill Rasco is putting extra patrols on the roads.

"It's one of the things that we're going to make sure that we've got extra patrols on these highways and on our country roads also because you may never know where it may hit the next time. Just because it's been on the interstates the last two times doesn't mean it's going to stay on the interstates," said DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco.

Investigators are still working to determine why the victims had pulled over to the side of the road.

The prevailing theory is that the suspect is posing as a law enforcement officer, using fake police lights on a Ford Crown Victoria.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said that MPD representatives have been meeting with authorities in North Mississippi as a precaution.

"We want the public to be well-informed and want them to know if there's a doubt, then take the necessary precautions to make sure that you're safe," said Armstrong.

Until the search for the person responsible for these shootings is over, traffic stops by unmarked law enforcement vehicles is being suspended.

If you are being pulled over and you feel as if you are in danger, turn on your hazard lights, continue to drive slowly to a well-lit area, and call 911. The dispatcher will verify whether you are being stopped by a legitimate officer.

Investigators said all law enforcement officers should be in marked vehicles now.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation does not have a vehicle or suspect description at this time. They ask anyone with information on this case to call their hotline at 1-888-8CRIMES.

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