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Niagara Falls police in contact with W. Va. authorities about suspected serial killer

Local police are exploring whether there is a link between the unsolved dismemberment homicides in Niagara Falls and a suspected serial killer who was killed by an intended victim earlier this month.

Neal Falls, 45, was shot to death in Charleston, W. Va., on July 18, after he attacked a woman he met through Backpage.com, an escort website. The woman was able to grab his gun and shoot him.

Charleston police said a note found in his pocket indicates he was planning to meet other women he found on the website, West Virginia media reported. And a search of his car revealed several axes, a shovel, bleach, handcuffs, knives, a machete, sledgehammer, bulletproof vest and four sets of handcuffs.

Capt. Kelly Rizzo, chief of detectives in Niagara Falls, reportedly contacted Charleston police, as did law enforcement agencies in Nevada and Texas. Police in Las Vegas, Nev., are investigating a homicide in which the woman’s body was dismembered.

“We’re working with several agencies across the country. We’re sharing information with them and working with them,” Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives in Charleston, told a West Virginia television station.

Niagara Falls police are checking for a possible connection between Falls and the deaths of Terri Lynn Bills, 46, whose dismembered body was found June 16, and Loretta Jo Gates, 30, whose body also was dismembered after she was killed in 2012. Both women were involved in prostitution, Niagara Falls police have said.