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Police still looking for man who raped, killed Mesa woman in 1989

(Facebook Photo)

Two young Mesa women are forever connected by brutal attacks.

“In October of 1989, we had a woman who was assaulted in her apartment near Vineyard and Southern,” Mesa homicide Detective Teresa Van Galder says.

“The attacker both sexually assaulted her and ended up killing her.”

Van Galder says Susan Morse lived by herself and there was no sign of forced entry.

Susan Morse (Silent Witness Photo)

“She was last seen by neighbors late the night before, so we don’t know if someone came and knocked on her door and she opened it or whether the person was known to her.”

Morse apparently put up a pretty good fight, but her attacker was extremely violent.

Then, just about one year later and only a few blocks away…

“We had another woman who was attacked in the early morning hours by a man who woke her while she was sleeping in bed by putting a knife to her stomach,” says Van Galder.

Luckily, this woman survived. DNA has connected both of these vicious attacks to one person. And now, there’s new science that can actually identify a potential paternal surname. It could be the suspect’s last name.

“It can’t be 100% because sometimes people are adopted or change their names,” says Van Galder. “One is ‘Young’, another is ‘Atkinson,’ and then some other less likely but still possible last names are ‘Akin’, ‘McNeil’ and ‘Norvelle.'”

These cold cases are still very much top of mind for Van Galder, who hopes someone will help them connect the dots and get this rapist and killer off the streets for good.

Read more about this case here.

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