In a span of two weeks, three women have suffered brutal attacks in Detroit with frightening similarities. The first victim is now in stable condition. The second is still unconscious. The third died because of the assault, and all three appeared to have been burned by their attacker or attackers.
On the night of August 3, CBS Detroit reports firefighters put out a small fire at an apartment building just a few blocks from Wayne State University. According to WJBK-TV, it wasn't until after emergency crews left that a maintenance worker found the woman's body at the scene.
"In my 36 years of policing other places I can tell you I never heard of this, this is a first time," Detroit Police Chief James Craig told WJBK. "It's certainly something I'm concerned about. I don't want to speak for the fire commissioner but I'm certain he is equally concerned."
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Fire Department said they were still not releasing information about the incident.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office determined in a preliminary autopsy that the 29-year-old's cause of death was strangulation, MLive reports. She also suffered blunt force trauma.
The woman's death is particularly haunting after two incidents in late July. In less than 24 hours, two women were found several miles apart on Detroit's west side, both badly beaten, naked and burned. On the morning of Friday, July 26, a 22-year-old woman was found beaten and burned in a vacant field near a van that was found set on fire, according to the Detroit News.
The next day, a woman was found in another empty field. WJBK reports the 37-year-old woman was also beaten, burned and potentially sexually assaulted.
She was found wedged under a couch by a woman walking by who heard her moaning, according to the local Fox affiliate. Police say the woman is still unconscious.
In an email, Detroit Police Sergeant Eren Stephens told The Huffington Post that there are no public updates to the case at this time. Stephens did not say whether they are considering the incidents as connected.
This is an ongoing and open investigation," she said. "We are looking at all possibilities."
Vacant fields are a common dumping ground for the dead. The Associated Press reported last year that in the span of 12 months, at least a dozen bodies had been found in Detroit's vacant lots, alleys, garages and houses.
Below, see the approximate locations of the three incidents.
View Female Victims Found Burned In Detroit in a larger map
The gruesome incidents, are, unfortunately, not all new in Detroit. A man and his friend bound a pregnant girlfriend drove her to a field in the city, doused her with lighter fluid, set her on fire and shot her. She survived and gave birth to her son, while the two men were recently convicted.
Anyone with information about the cases is urged to contact Detroit police. To report an anonymous tip, call 313-596-5240 or 313-596-1950, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.