Psychiatrist Steven Pitt From JonBenet's Case Was Shot & Police Think It’s Linked To 2 Other Murders
There's a killer on the loose in Arizona, and it's connected to another murder case that gripped the nation way back in the 1990s. A psychiatrist who worked on the JonBenet Ramsey case was found murdered, and now at least two other deaths have been determined to be linked to the case, the Washington Post reported.
According to CBS News, the first victim in the killing spree was Steven Pitt, a respected forensic psychiatrist who was best known for his work on the Ramsey case. Ramsey, a six year-old child beauty pageant queen was found murdered in Boulder, Colorado, and the case drew attention across the country. Pitt consulted on the case, which had put Ramsey's parents on the top of the list as suspects, though they were later cleared through DNA testing.
Pitt was also known for the Baseline Killer investigation, in which he worked with police to track down a serial rapist and murderer who was eventually convicted of having killed nine people near Baseline Road in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to AZCentral, Pitt was shot outside of his office in Scottsdale, Arizona. Witnesses nearby said that they heard the shots after a vocal argument.
Now, AZCentral also reported that the deaths of two paralegals were connected to Pitt's death — and a fourth murder may also be connected, although the authorities are still investigating that one to find out if that's true. According to AZCentral, Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, were killed at the Burt, Feldman and Grenier law offices, also in Scottsdale, where they worked.
One of the two victims was able to alert authorities to the shooting by making it outside of the offices, CBS News reported. They then found the second shooting victim inside the firm's offices. AZ Family reported that Burt, Feldman and Grenier released a statement about the two employees that they lost in the shooting, describing them both as valuable members of the team and of the community.
"Laura has worked with us as family for more than ten years. Her intellect, passion and friendship has meant more to us than we can even begin to convey," the statement read, referring to Anderson. "She was more than a coworker, she was a friend, a mother, grandmother, daughter and wife and gave all of herself to her family, her friends and her work."
"Veleria was a treasured member of our work family. She brought joy, calmness, warmth and compassion to all that she did," the statement continued. "She was a dedicated mother, wife and daughter. She and her family shared a deep passion for music and their faith."
The fourth shooting victim in Scottsdale is 72-year-old Marshall Levine. Police have not definitively connected his death to the other three shootings, but they continue investigating the possibility. Levine was found dead Saturday at mental health facility in his office. He was a psychologist who worked as a life coach and hypnotherapist.
The explanation for the potential connection of the shootings has not been released. Whatever the shooter's motive would be is unknown too. Police say evidence from the scenes of the crimes — in the case of the shootings of Pitt and Sharp and Anderson — tie them together.
"We are in the middle of our investigations so I'm not going to talk about who's being investigated or what's happening," Scottsdale Police Sgt. Ben Hoster told reporters over the weekend. "We're asking for help from the public."
There's no current evidence that points to a serial killer, but the police have released a composite sketch of the suspected shooter in an attempt to have the public help apprehend him. They've offered a $21,000 reward for any information that leads to his arrest.
Joseph D. Lyons contributed to this report.