Police in Dallas, Texas, arrested a 25-year-old man Wednesday in connection to the deaths of three women who are believed to be sex workers, the latest suspect to be charged in a string of sex worker slayings in recent months.
The Dallas Police Department said Oscar Sanchez Garcia was identified as the suspect in a preliminary investigation of three homicides in southwest Dallas through evidence gathered by detectives. Sanchez Garcia faces three counts of murder.
The bodies of the three women were found in a Dallas neighborhood, Oak Cliff, near the Trinity River over a period of three months, according to police.
Kimberly Robinson, 60, was found in late April in an open field, police said. About two months later, police found Cherish Gibson, 25, with stab wounds in the same area. And a third woman, who remains unidentified, was also found in a field on July 15.
Police believe at least two of the victims have possible ties to prostitution.
“Sex workers are targets for violence, specifically because the people who are targeting them… know that they are marginalized,” ACLU’s Gillian Branstetter previously told USA TODAY.
The arrests of several suspected serial killers in recent months, including architect Rex Heuermann, have reignited conversations around sex work and how violence against people who engage in sex work is common.
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The case in Dallas follows other arrests and charges against suspected serial killers that have gained national attention since late May.
In another Texas case, Raul Meza Jr., who was convicted in 1982 of the murder of an 8-year-old girl, was charged with two additional murders in May. Police believe Meza could be responsible for 10 more homicides.
The Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported Wednesday that police believe Meza is linked to a death of woman in March 2022. In recent days, police have been searching for evidence of human remains at Pflugerville field, an Austin suburb about 18 miles northeast of the state capital.
At the time of his arrest, Meza had told police he was “ready and prepared to kill again and looking forward to it,” according to Austin Police Department Detective Patrick Reed.
Authorities in New York arrested Heuermann last week in connection to the Gilgo Beach murders on Long Island. The architect was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of three women whose remains were found over a decade ago.
Police connected Heuermann to the murders by using DNA evidence that matched between a pizza he ate and one of the women’s remains. He has pleaded not guilty.
A California man, whom Mexican authorities have called the “Ted Bundy of Tijuana,” was also charged earlier this month with femicide. Bryant Rivera is accused of killing three women in Tijuana between September 2021 and February 2022, and was arrested by U.S. officials as a fugitive from Mexico.
Sex workers often targets of violence. With the arrests of Sanchez Garcia, Heuermann and Rivera — who all allegedly targeted sex workers — advocates noted that people who engage in sex work have long been targeted by serial killers.
An analysis of trends and case characteristics from 1970 to 2009 found that 22% of U.S. serial murder victims were known sex workers. Those numbers continued to increase over several decades, where 43% of sex workers were confirmed victims between 2000 and 2009.