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The Nation

April 13, 2011

What's in a name? It may link Calif, NY cold cases

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Roxene Roggasch. Carmen Colon. Pamela Parsons. Tracy Tafoya.

Authorities have finally arrested the man they believe murdered those four women from 1977 to 1994. But the alliteration in the victims' names has investigators wondering if Joseph Naso is responsible for other killings whose similarities seem too strange to be coincidence.

New York state police are checking whether there's more that connects the 77-year-old Reno man to one of the region's most baffling unsolved crimes — the deaths of one 10-year-old and two 11-year-old girls who were abducted, raped and strangled in the Rochester area in the early 1970s.

Like the four women whose bodies were found across Northern California, the three girls who were victims in upstate New York's "Double Initial Murders" also had matching initials for their first and last names.

In a more startling similarity, one of the New York victims also was named Carmen Colon.

Naso was arrested this week on suspicion of murder in the four California cases, but investigators' work has just begun.

A separate task force is looking into whether any other cold cases in the U.S. can be linked to Naso, a professional photographer who often traveled the country for work and may have killed in other states, Nevada law enforcement officials said at a news conference Tuesday.

Authorities learned Naso once lived in the Rochester, N.Y., area and traveled between there and the West in the early 1970s.

But the links to the "Double Initial Murders" so far stop there, said New York state police Trooper Mark O'Donnell. Authorities have found no other evidence tying him to the case, and a DNA sample taken from one of the New York victims did not match Naso.

And while some details of the two cases are similar, others are not — like the fact that the California victims were adults and the New York victims children.

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