Boston cops on Monday night branded a 22-year-old med student engaged to be married as the "Craigslist Killer" who murdered a pretty New York masseuse and attacked at least two other escorts in hotels.
Cops said the brainy blond doctor wanna-be, who grew up in upstate Sherrill, N.Y., and went to SUNY Albany for his undergraduate studies, has no rap sheet, but they think he has preyed on sex workers for a while. Police begged other victims to come forward.
"He is a predator," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "There may be other victims out there, and we want to help you."
The slain 26-year-old New Yorker advertised her services on craigslist and was shot in a posh Boston hotel last Tuesday.
Markoff also will be charged with kidnapping and robbery in an attack four days earlier in another luxury Boston hotel on an exotic dancer who advertised online.
Markoff, the son of a Syracuse dentist, is engaged to marry Megan McAllister, a fellow med student he met while they were at SUNY Albany. A Web page devoted to their planned wedding later this year recounts how they volunteered together at an area emergency room and enjoyed their first date on Nov. 11, 2005. McAllister could not be reached for comment.
Brisman's mother was glad to hear there was a break in the case, but she was too distraught to talk.
"Her mother was very pleased, but when she saw the pictures [on TV], she broke down and was just crying. We turned it off. You have no idea how fragile she is," said family friend Mark Pines. "It is great that they found him, but it's not going to bring back our girl."
Cops credited "high-tech leads and old-fashioned shoe leather" for the arrest. Cops stopped Markoff at 4 p.m. Monday as he drove south of Boston on Interstate 95, Davis said. He agreed to come in for questioning and was arrested at headquarters.
The break came hours after police released new security camera photos showing the clean-cut, 6-foot-tall suspect strolling casually to and from the three crime scenes peering into his BlackBerry.
Markoff is expected to be charged in that attack, too. Cops say Markoff's first known attack was April 10, when a 29-year-old woman who advertised as an exotic dancer on craigslist was attacked at Boston's Westin hotel. She was bound and robbed of her debit card and $800 in cash.
Four days later, Brisman was shot multiple times in a 20th-floor room of the Copley Marriott, apparently because she fought the thief's attempts to restrain her with plastic handcuffs known as "zip ties."
Residents of the sprawling 800-unit High Point apartment complex where Markoff rented a third-floor flat earlier this year mostly described Markoff, who was on the golf and bowling teams in high school, as an average Joe, but several said there was something not quite right about him.
"The guy was friendly enough. He'd say hello when you saw him and he supposedly had a girlfriend," said John Uva, who has lived in the building for two years.
"But he was never really around much, and there was a creepy factor to it."