NEW FLORENCE, MO. • Police searching for a man charged in a quadruple murder Monday night in Kansas say he may have killed a fifth man, this one in the New Florence area, about 20 miles west of Warrenton.
The search for the suspect continued overnight Tuesday, including a swarm of officers at the Days Inn in New Florence about midnight.
Police say the suspect — Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino — was last seen Tuesday morning near New Florence, at the 175-mile marker of Interstate 70 in Montgomery County. That’s west of Warren County and about 75 miles from downtown St. Louis.
On Tuesday afternoon, Serrano-Vitorino was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of four men in Kansas City, Kan., Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman announced.
Serrano-Vitorino is a Mexican national who had been deported from the United States, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday night.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) previously deported Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, an illegal alien from Mexico, in April 2004, based on final orders of removal from a federal immigration judge,” said the spokeswoman, Gail Montenegro. “Mr. Serrano-Vitorino illegally re-entered the United States on an unknown date.”
Police said Serrano-Vitorino’s red 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup was found abandoned Tuesday on the shoulder of eastbound I-70 after an off-duty Jackson County officer spotted it. Highway Patrol Lt. Paul Reinsch said the vehicle was found about 7 a.m. Shortly after that, a 911 caller reported a homicide at a home in the New Florence area.
The victim, Randy J. Nordman, 49, was found at his home in the 400 block of Tree Farm Road, which is west of Highway 19 on the south outer road of I-70. His car was not stolen from the home, and there were no other reports of stolen vehicles in the area.
Reinsch said a witness who called 911 reported seeing a man running from Nordman’s property, launching a manhunt of that area.
Authorities said they do not have any indication that the suspect and Nordman knew each other. Nordman’s home is near his family’s campground and a racetrack for remote-controlled cars.
At least 75 troopers were searching for Serrano-Vitorino, along with a SWAT team, police dogs and two helicopters, to determine if he might still be in the area.
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Serrano-Vitorino, 40, is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 175 pounds. The patrol says Serrano-Vitorino is armed and dangerous and may have an AK-47. He was last seen wearing a red-and-black flannel jacket, a blue hooded sweatshirt and possibly blue jeans, police say.
The Montgomery County School District was put on lockdown about 8 a.m. Tuesday as police searched for Serrano-Vitorino. A woman in the superintendent’s office said the lockdown affected four buildings in the district and about 1,200 students.
Students were dismissed at the usual time, but only to parents and guardians, authorities said. There were reports of long lines of cars as parents picked up their children.
It was unclear if Serrano-Vitorino was on foot or in a vehicle.
“Lock your doors,” Sgt. Scott White of the Missouri Highway Patrol advised residents. “Make sure you don’t answer for anyone you don’t recognize.”
Police said anyone who spots Serrano-Vitorino should call 911 immediately and not approach him. Authorities positioned cars along the outer road for several miles west of New Florence on Tuesday.
Police in Kansas City, Kan., were seeking Serrano-Vitorino after the shooting deaths of four men late Monday. The four men were in their 30s.
One of the men managed to call police before he died, but it’s unclear how the men knew each other or what may have prompted the shooting, Kansas City police Officer Thomas Tomasic told The Associated Press.
The owner of the Kansas City home where the four men were shot said he received a call from a tenant at a neighboring house Monday night about a person lying on the porch as if he were dead. Steve Manthe said that when he was allowed into the rental home after 6 a.m. Tuesday, he saw blood on the living room couch and throughout that room, and the television still on.
“It looked like he just stepped in the door and blew them away,” said Manthe, 61, who is retired from the Army.
Police in Kansas had released information saying Serrano-Vitorino may have been driving the red Dodge Ram, the vehicle that was later found on I-70 in Montgomery County. They did not release the names of the victims, but the Kansas City Star reported that friends and neighbors identified three as Mike Capps and brothers Clint and Austin Harter.
Serrano-Vitorino lived next to the home where the four men were killed, police say. Capps lived at the house where the shootings happened, and the three other victims were friends of his, the Star reported.
Friends and neighbors told the paper they knew of no reasons why someone would kill them.
Capps was the father of two young sons, the Star reported. Clint Harter had a young child and another on the way.
Neighbors told the paper Serrano-Vitorino has a son who is about 8 years old and a daughter.
The Associated Press and Kristen Taketa and Jessica Bock of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.