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A man arrested in connection with two attacks on women in South Boston is a "person of interest" in the abduction and fatal stabbing of a 24-year-old woman in the same neighborhood, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Friday.
Investigators were examining DNA and other evidence tied to the death of Amy Lord, a native of Wilbraham, and while Davis said it was premature to say when an arrest might come, police are satisfied with the progress they are making.
"We are confident and comfortable that we are on the right track in this case," Davis told reporters at a news conference.
Davis noted the "M.O. was similar" in the three assaults, but he declined to characterize the man as a "suspect" in the Lord case.
"I would only term him a person of interest at this time," Davis said, adding that investigators had all but ruled out the possibility of a second assailant.
The commissioner also said Friday that he has ordered an internal review into the department's handling of an alleged attack on a fourth woman last year in which a wallet and the man's identification card were found at the scene, but he was not charged.
Lord, who lived in South Boston, was kidnapped Tuesday morning and forced to withdraw cash from five different banks before she was fatally stabbed, police said. A bicyclist later discovered her body in the Stony Brook Reservation in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood.
The death of the high school cheerleader and 2011 graduate of Bentley University has rattled the neighborhood, where many young professionals and students have come to live in recent years.
On Friday, police handed out free whistles to women and Davis said the department was working with gyms in the area to offer self-defense classes. Police patrols also have been beefed up in the neighborhood.
Edwin Alemany, 28, was arrested Wednesday a short time after he allegedly stabbed a woman who survived the attack and gave police a description of her assailant. He also was charged with punching another woman Tuesday.
A judge ruled Thursday that Alemany was unfit for arraignment and sent him to Bridgewater State Hospital for 20 days of psychiatric observation. Alemany's attorney, James Greenberg, said Alemany was distraught. Greenberg said Thursday he was just assigned the case and had no comment. An after-hours message left with Greenberg on Friday was not immediately returned.
Davis said Friday that Alemany has a lengthy criminal record in both adult and juvenile courts. He confirmed that a wallet containing Alemany's ID, was found at the scene of an attack, first reported by the Boston Herald, on a woman who was walking in the city's Roxbury neighborhood on Sept. 28, 2012. The woman told police she may have shaken the wallet free during a struggle with her assailant, but was only able to provide a vague physical description of the man.
A detective who investigated the case was unable to locate Alemany at the time and did not believe he had probable cause to seek an arrest, Davis said Friday.
"I'm very disappointed in what the detective did in this case," the commissioner said, adding that he believed the presence of the wallet and ID did provide probable cause.
Davis did not name the detective.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.
This program aired on July 26, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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