FORT LAUDERDALE — A convicted murderer already on Florida’s death row for the 1998 slaying of one woman is now charged with a second killing that happened two weeks later, with investigators believing he may be tied to even more deaths.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that former mortician Lucious Boyd, 64, has been indicted for the murder of 41-year-old Eileen Truppner, a mother of two, a former businesswoman and native of Puerto Rico whose body was found along a highway west of Fort Lauderdale in December 1998. He is already facing execution for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old nursing student Dawnia Dacosta earlier that month.
Sheriff Gregory Tony, Detective Zack Scott and Capt. John Brown said that Truppner’s body had been unidentified until earlier this year when its DNA was matched to her family. DNA testing of evidence left by the killer matched Boyd, they said.
“For 20 some years, there had been no justice, no closure. (Truppner) is no longer faceless. She is no longer nameless,” Tony said at a news conference.
Scott and Brown said detectives throughout Florida are now looking at Boyd as a possible suspect in unsolved killings from the 1990s as he was known to travel the state. Newspaper accounts from the 1990s say one of his girlfriends went missing during a trip with him, but he has never been charged in that case.
“Because we suspect him of other ones, we strongly suspect he’s a serial killer,” Brown said.
Nancy Truppner told reporters Tuesday that her sister had come to South Florida in the mid-1990s to learn English, but then had mental health issues after the birth of her children.
“My sister was very kind with a good heart. She never criticized anybody, she never hurt anybody,” she said. ‘She did not deserve to die the way she died.”
The Broward County Public Defender’s Office, which will likely represent Boyd, had no comment Tuesday.
Boyd was found not guilty of a man’s murder in 1993 after he claimed self-defense and was acquitted of rape in 1997. At his 2002 trial for Dacosta’s slaying, which resulted in a conviction and death sentence, he insisted that law enforcement had a vendetta against him.
It was a DNA swab taken while he awaited trial for that alleged rape that tied him to Dacosta’s murder.
Evidence presented at that trial showed that Dacosta’s car had run out of gas and she had walked to a filling station to get some. Witnesses said Boyd, driving alone in a church van, offered to take her back to her car. Her body, stabbed 36 times, was found three days later. Boyd’s DNA was found on her body and blood was found in his apartment when it was searched four months later.
A few months before Dacosta’s slaying, Boyd’s 19-year-old girlfriend, Patrece Alston, had disappeared during a trip she took with the then 39-year-old to central Florida, according to newspaper stories from that period. She has never been found.
Want breaking news in your inbox?
Subscribe to our free News Alerts newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Boyd told conflicting tales to Alston’s relatives, saying he had dropped her off near her grandmother’s house or at a grocery store, those news stories said. He refused to talk to detectives. They said then that without a body, they couldn’t charge him.
Detectives said Tuesday they have no idea how Truppner crossed paths with Boyd, but they guess he took advantage of her mental illness.
“He’s a predator and he sees his opportunities,” Brown said.
By TERRY SPENCER, Associated Press.