Updated: Tuesday, 24 Mar 2009, 7:55 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 27 Oct 2008, 4:21 PM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -
24 Hour News 8 confirmed Grand Rapids police are taking a fresh look at the deaths of several prostitutes following the arrest of Troy Brake on unrelated charges.
Brake, who police say beat and nearly strangled a prostitute earlier this month, is also a suspect in a quadruple murder in Wright Township
Sources close to the Grand Rapids investigation confirm they are reviewing the deaths of three prostitutes to see if there's any evidence Brake could be a suspect in those cases.
On Thanksgiving 2006, Starkinya Vance's body was found in the area of New and Grant Street on the southwest side of Grand Rapids. Police said at the time Vance was seen getting into a car a few hours before her body was found. They released a sketch of an African-American man who was believed to have been driving that car. Troy Brake is Caucasian.
In March 2007, Shakara Carter's body was found along Chestnut SW, about 400 yards away from where Vance was discovered. Both women were strangled.
Linda Gardner's body was found still burning in a vacant lot on Randolph SW in September 2007. The medical examiner said cocaine was found in her system. But because her body had been burned, evidence of any other cause of death may have been destroyed.
Because of the coincidences, police feel they can't ignore a possible tie to Troy Brake. He's also charged with shooting a man near Division and Hall in early September.
And last week, investigators in Ottawa County confirmed Brake, 31, is a suspect in the killings of four people in their Wright Township home. Sharm Zimmer and her sons, Jeremy and Tyler, were all shot to death. Jeremy's girlfriend, Katherine Brown, was beaten to death. The Zimmer home was then set on fire.
Investigators have refused to identify the evidence that prompted Grand Rapids to contact Ottawa County investigators following Brake's arrest in the prostitute assault.
Similarly, Ottawa County investigators will not comment on why they officially named Brake a suspect in the Wright Township murders.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this story and provide updates as soon as possible.