BATON ROUGE, La. - Police issued a murder warrant Monday for a man described as the prime suspect in the killings of five women after officials linked the man's DNA to one of the victims, who was from Tampa.
Derrick Todd Lee, 34, was charged in the warrant with murder and aggravated rape in the killing of Carrie Yoder, 26, a Louisiana State University graduate student who died in March.
Yoder attended Chamberlain High School in Tampa and lived in the city for several years.
The FBI also issued a warrant charging Lee with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, and police released a photo of the suspect.
"He is to be considered armed and dangerous," said Baton Rouge police Chief Pat Englade.
David Yoder, the father of Carrie Lynn, said he is relieved that a warrant has been issued.
"It's just a matter of time before they catch him," the 58-year-old Yoder said Monday afternoon from his home in Dade City.
Yoder and his wife, Linda, visited Louisiana a week and a half ago, to attend a rally for the victims at the state House in Baton Rouge and to attend a law enforcement task force meeting on the killings.
"It was some pretty heavy-duty stuff," said Yoder.
Lee was described as 210 pounds, 6-foot-1 and clean shaven, black with a light complexion, short hair and a muscular build. Police said they didn't know what type of vehicle Lee drove.
Lee's home in St. Francisville, a small town north of Baton Rouge, sat open and empty on Monday.
Records show Lee and his wife filed for bankruptcy in November 2002, and a court order to allow foreclosure on his house was signed May 16.
Bankruptcy records listed Lee's occupation as a truck driver.
Lee has a record of arrests on charges of peeping into homes, stalking, burglary and criminal trespassing. After a fight in a bar, he was arrested for allegedly running a roadblock and accused of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, according to the Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge.
Jane Lee, who identified herself as Lee's grandmother when contacted by phone in St. Francisville, said her grandson is married and has two children. She declined to answer further questions.
The murder warrant says a DNA sample was taken from Lee on May 5 but did not say why or under what circumstances.
Authorities have conducted a voluntary DNA dragnet, taking cheek scrapings and swabbings from more than 1,000 men.
The other victims in south Louisiana were Gina Wilson Green, 41; Pam Kinamore, 44; Charlotte Pace, 22; and Trineisha Dene Colomb, 23.
Ann Pace, mother of Charlotte Pace, said she was "overwhelmed and nauseated" when she heard a suspect was named in the case.
"You have to be glad because it seems inevitable, I hope, that they will catch him. That means no one else will die, and that's all that matters," Pace said.
"Of course, I wish it had happened sooner," she said.
- Times staff writer Tamara Lush contributed to this report from Tampa. Information from the Associated Press also was used.