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Serial Killer Has Sleepy Town Losing Sleep

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One South Carolina mom fights to keep her kids safe with a serial killer on the loose.


In one week, Cherokee County, North Carolina, has had more homicides than it did in the last year -- and the small town of Gaffney, South Carolina, just over the state border where the murders have taken place, is living in fear.

Even this morning's news that the culprit may have been killed by police hasn't quelled fears -- at least until the man has been positively identified as the killer. Nikki Wright, 36, a mom of four, talked with momlogic about what it's like knowing a serial killer is on the loose in her small town.

ML: When did you learn about the serial killer in your town? 
Nikki: I guess we started looking at the story when Mr. Cash was killed. He was the first victim and I've known him all my life. He was an extremely nice guy and didn't deserve anything that happened to him. We are from the same small town and I was extremely upset when I heard he was killed. I figured someone tried to rob him. Then we heard about the Linders, the mother and daughter who were murdered. I didn't know them personally, but my husband's doctor was a partner of Dr. Linder's.   

ML: What changes have you made to protect yourself and your family?  
Nikki: When I heard there was a serial killer, I was scared to death. It's the summer, so my kids were hanging out down by the river and going out with friends, which has since stopped. I have 4 kids -- ages 20, 17, 15, and 3.  Since this, all the doors stay locked at all times, and we don't go outside and play anymore -- all the play is done in the house. My older kids have to either hang out with friends at our house or someone's house, but no more hanging out at the river to swim or going to the mall. We never kept a gun in the house, but now we have one -- along with everyone else in the area. Many have gotten guns for protection. If they didn't have one before, they do now. Ours is locked away and safe, but within an arm's reach if we need it.  

ML: What is the feeling amongst everyone around town?  
It's the only topic of everyone's conversation. Yesterday, I went into town with my older daughter and baby. There was someone there who looked just like the man on the poster. Everyone is wary of everyone else. You're really aware of who's around you and paying close attention to your surroundings. I work in North Carolina, but my daughter works at a gas station in the Gaffney area. I am extremely worried about her, but every few minutes there are officers in and out and the town is surrounded by officers. There is a tremendous police presence in our area. 

ML: Did you ever think something like this could happen in your town?  
Nikki: I have lived in Gaffney for 6 years, and grew up in the area. I never thought something like this would happen again in our small town. It happened in 1968 -- Leroy Martin was known as the "Gaffney Strangler." He abducted and killed four people in ten days. I wasn't alive for it, but my grandmother told me about the story years ago. It's being discussed again because it's the closest thing people can compare this to.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
xsandlapper July 6, 2009, 8:53 PM

Well there IS a Cherokee county in NC but the murders took place in the Cherokee county in SC.

Just glad the guy can’t kill anyone else now.

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