BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) -- DNA evidence confirmed that the slaying of a graduate student this month is the work of the same serial killer who has killed four other women in the past year and a half, authorities said Tuesday.
Police chief Pat Englade made the announcement at a news conference with Gov. Mike Foster and FBI Special Agent Kenneth Kaiser.
Carrie Lynn Yoder, 26, a Louisiana State University graduate student from Tampa, Florida, was found dead of asphyxiation Thursday, more than a week after she was reported missing from her Baton Rouge home.
Authorities had already linked the killer to the unsolved murders of Gina Wilson Green, Charlotte Murray Pace, and Pam Kinamore, all of the Baton Rouge area, and Trineisha Dene Colomb of Lafayette.
Green, 41, was found strangled in her home September 24, 2001. Pace, 22, was found stabbed to death in her home May 31. Kinamore, 44, was abducted from her home July 12; her throat was slit. Colomb, 23, was beaten to death and her body found in rural Lafayette Parish on November 24.
Yoder died of asphyxiation, but police have refused to say if she was strangled, suffocated or drowned. A fisherman found her body was in the Whiskey Bay area of the Atchafalaya River Basin. Kinamore's body was found in the same area.
A task force of local police, state police and federal officials has been investigating the killings and seeking to determine if any other murdered women are connected to the killer.
Foster and Kaiser sought to reassure southern Louisiana residents that a strong effort was under way to find the killer.
"Anything we're asked to do, we'll do," Foster said. "Money won't be an object. Personnel won't be an object."
On Sunday, hundreds of people rallied on the steps of the state Capitol with victims' families and friends. Some expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation, as well as in the unsolved deaths of more than 60 other women in the area over the last decade.
U.S. Attorney David Dugas responded to complaints that federal officials didn't seem to be offering enough assistance.
"We're supporting the task force so our role isn't always visible, but the federal participation has always been intense," Dugas said. "It has never dropped off."
Baton Rouge Mayor Bobby Simpson said police need help from area residents to catch the killer.