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Mississippi highway shootings: man arrested

James Willie is seen in this booking photo. (Tunica Sheriff's Office)

May 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
An arrest has been made in the two fatal highway shootings in Mississippi that authorities thought were the result of a serial shooter posing as a police officer.

James D. Willie, 28, was taken into custody Tuesday morning at his home in Yazoo City after police responded to a disturbance and found Willie with a woman who claimed he had raped her. Authorities said ballistics from the shootings matched a gun found in Willie's possession.

The two shooting victims were found dead last week along remote stretches of a highway in northern Mississippi. Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Neb., was found dead in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County on May 8 around 1:30 a.m. Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, Miss. was found dead near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m. on May 11.

Initially, investigators thought the suspect posed as a police officer to pull the victims over, but that was not the case.

Officials said it's too early in the investigation to release details of how or why the motorists were on the side of the roads. They did not give a possible motive for the shootings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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