Thursday, August 12, 2010

Suspected serial killer paged, captured at airport

A suspected serial killer, wanted in three states, was captured by simply paging him over an intercom at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to Atlanta police.

Michigan State Police had told Atlanta authorities Elias Abuelazam was waiting at Gate E-17 for a 10:15 p.m. Delta Air Lines flight Wednesday. He had a ticket to Tel Aviv, about 20 minutes from the town where his family lives in Ramleh, a mixed Arab-Jewish town in the center of Israel.

After being paged, Abuelazam, carrying an expired Israeli passport, simply walked up to the ticket counter at the gate, where four uniformed Atlanta police officers were waiting to take him into custody.

The Department of Homeland Security said Abuelazam was scheduled to change planes at Hartsfield-Jackson so he did not have to pass through the security checkpoints at the Atlanta airport. He had about 30 minutes more to wait for his international flight when police paged him to the counter at the gate.

He was arrested without incident and taken to the Atlanta city jail, according to Atlanta police. On Thursday morning in Flint, Mich., a judge signed a warrant for his arrest. It is not known if he will fight extradition to Michigan.

Michigan, Ohio and Virginia law enforcement officials have been looking for a serial killer only since Aug. 4, when they started to believe one person had been randomly stabbing people since the middle of May.

Flint police said they received more than 500 tips after they put the crimes together and that led to his arrest.

Yet, the 33-year-old Israeli citizen was arrested last week in Arlington, Va., during a traffic stop on an outstanding simple assault warrant issued in Leesburg, about 30 miles away. A magistrate released him on on personal recognizance. He also had a court date scheduled for next week on a 2008 misdemeanor assault charge.

Little is known about Abuelazam -- even his name.

His name is spelled four different ways in public documents. The Michigan Secretary of State records had it as Elian Abuelazam. It was Abu Elazam on his Michigan driver's license that expired in 1997. Records show he had it changed in 1995 to Elias Abullazam. And the Atlanta police report and the warrant the judge signed listed it as Elias Abuelazam.

He has lived in Virginia for a while but records show his last home address in Grand Blanc, Mich. Various media reports said he worked the month of July at a party supply store outside Flint.


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