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Ottawa police charge man in killings of two sex workers

Ottawa police announced charges in the deaths of two prostitutes on Feb. 7, 2013. This photo is from the Facebook account of Marc Leduc, the suspect.

Ottawa police have charged a man with killing two women amid fears that a predator has been targeting the city's sex trade workers.

Marc Leduc, 56, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder on Thursday in the deaths of Pamela Kosmack and Leanne Lawson. DNA evidence played a role in the investigation, said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau.

"This is an ongoing investigation. We're not going to discuss any links between the cases," he told reporters. "In terms of these two homicides we're speaking about today, the link is the accused."

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Mr. Leduc, who is deaf, was arrested Wednesday while in custody for a sexual assault charge. He appeared in court on Thursday.

The arrests come more than a year after then-Ottawa police chief Vern White announced that investigators had discovered a "pattern" in the killings of prostitutes and warned those working in the trade to be vigilant.

Chief Bordeleau also warned sex workers to be careful on Thursday, but would not say whether police believe the two women's deaths are connected with the homicides of four other women in Ottawa and one in nearby Gatineau, Que.

"We are actively looking at all our unsolved files," he said.

Sergeant Rob Drummond acknowledged that investigators do not normally hold news conferences to announce charges.

"We know that there is a great amount of public interest in these homicide files and want to be as open as possible about this investigation," he said.

The body of Ms. Kosmack, 39, was found near a bicycle path in the city's west end on June 4, 2008. Ms. Lawson, 23, was found dead in a parking lot near the Byward Market on Sept. 2, 2011. Both had links to the sex trade, according to police.

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According to his online footprint, Mr. Leduc is a handyman and cat lover who has an account on the dating website, Plenty of Fish, under the name: "evilmarky: im looking for you". He said he was separated with adult children.

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