Police Try To Link 'Prosti-Shooter' With Indy Slaying

DNA Evidence Combed In July Prostitute Killing

There is not yet a body, but Indianapolis Metro police think they will soon have enough evidence to charge an Illinois truck driver in the slaying of an Indianapolis woman.

Carma Purpura, 31, a mother of two, was last seen at a truck stop on Indianapolis' south side in July.

Police said Bruce Mendenhall, 56, of Albion, Ill., is believed to be responsible for as many as seven truck stop killings in four states, and has already been charged in two cases. He is being held in Nashville, Tenn.

Mendenhall has been called the "prosti-shooter" because most of his alleged victims are prostitutes, 6News' Rick Hightower reported.

Prosecutors said Purpura was known to frequent truck stops and IMPD Detective Tom Todor said police found her identification in Mendenhall's truck.

Mendenhall told authorities in Tennessee that he killed a woman he picked up at a Flying J truck stop, at Interstate 465 and State Road 37 and dumped her body in a nearby trash bin. Despite an intensive search, the body was not found.

Prosecutors will have to rely on DNA evidence taken from Mendenhall's truck to link him to Purpura's killing.

Carma Purpura

"It definitely makes it much more difficult to proceed," said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Helen Marchal. "We are working very hard to be able to file the case against him here."

Prosecutors said several items have to be tested and that getting results will take months.

IMPD said the DNA evidence will be compared with samples taken from Mendenhall's family members.

"They've taken DNA from both parents to try to match with the DNA from the blood on the clothing that was found inside the truck down in Tennessee," said IMPD Sgt. Matt Mount.

Purpura might not be the only victim in Indiana. Mendenhall is also suspected in the slaying of a prostitute in northern Indiana.

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