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French drag queen, 68, suspected of being serial killer

By JEAN-PIERRE VERGES, Associated Press

PARIS — A suspected serial killer accused of targeting prostitutes — many with a violent blow to the head — was arrested in connection with 18 deaths carried out over two decades, officials said Wednesday.

The 68-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday in Mulhouse in northeast France, a judicial official said, after years of investigations by hundreds of police officers and detectives in different parts of the country.

The victims were both men and women, and prosecutors believe the suspect worked with an accomplice, a 43-year-old currently serving 20 years in a prison in Poissy west of Paris for the murder of an insurance agent.

The suspect arrested Tuesday worked as a transvestite performer in cabarets in Alsace and neighboring Germany, and the two primarily targeted gay victims, the daily newspaper L'Alsace reported.

Prosecutors suspect the man of involvement in 11 killings in the Alsace region, four in the neighboring region of Franche-Comte and three near Paris, said the judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The killings took place between 1980 and 2002, but his arrest is the result of an investigation into six of the slayings, the official said.

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