Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Elias Abuelazam: The Multi-State Serial Stabber

Toledo, Ohio

Anthony Leno
Anthony Leno

Police believe the attacker surfaced the next day, August 7, 2010, however, in Toledo, Ohio, where church custodian Tony Leno, 59, was stabbed while taking a cigarette break at approximately 7:45 p.m. Leno told police later that a tall, muscular white man had stopped near him in a Chevy Blazer, gotten out, asked him for directions and then attacked him when he turned to point the direction for the man. Without warning, the assailant stabbed Leno twice in the abdomen. Leno survived, but the assailant fled in the Blazer.

By then, police in the various jurisdictions had begun working together, believing that they were all looking for the same suspect.

"We have been in contact with the authorities in Leesburg, and there are some similarities, specifically an identification that has been able to be obtained from the victims out there, as well as the vehicle description," said Leyton.

Leyton later shared some of his thoughts about the serial stabber on Good Morning, America.

"It's a very, very violent type of crime," Leyton said of the perpetrator's choice of stabbing to inflict injury and death. "Maybe he's enjoying watching them suffer; maybe he's enjoying watching them wriggle around in pain. But we really don't know what he's thinking, and we won't until we bring him in and talk to him."

Although authorities believed they had traced Abuelazam to Ohio, suspecting him to have a connection with the stabbing incident that had occurred there, their prime suspect disappeared again.

As the search for Abuelazam intensified, investigators back in Michigan announced that the number of knife attacks attributed to the attacker had decreased by two incidents. In one incident, the victim recanted his statement, and the other was determined to have occurred during a robbery, which was not part of the established modus operandi.

"A nationwide intelligence broadcast has gone out, and we're monitoring any incoming information from any state," said Michigan State Police First Lieutenant Patrick McGreevy, head of the task force formed to investigate the attacks. "We don't know what is in his head. What we do know is there has been a string of very, very violent and deadly attacks in Genesee County, and attacks in Leesburg that are similar."

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