• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

OC transients warned about serial killer

January 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A special effort is under way to try to protect the homeless from a serial killer who's on the loose in Orange County. Police say, so far, the suspect has stabbed three homeless men to death.

Workers from the Orange County Rescue Mission hit the streets with some help.

Workers loaded up supplies to hand out to Orange County's homeless. But among the hygiene kits were items they're not used to passing out, until now.

"We're going to be providing flashlights, whistles that people can use if they suspect that there's an issue going on and they're scared of their situation," said Jim Palmer, Orange County Rescue Mission president.

"We think it's very evil, obviously, that somebody has decided to go after the homeless, but we want to help prepare them as much as we can and get them into safe shelters as quick as we can," said Palmer.

Homeless advocates expected shelter beds to fill up quickly as word spread of a serial killer who so far has murdered three middle-aged homeless men in Orange County.

Jason Hill is grateful to be off the streets with the help of the Orange County Rescue Mission.

"I was on the streets for about six months and pretty much by myself, I kind of kept to myself, and of course I worry about things like that. But you don't think it's going to be life-threatening," said Hill.

A task force released a dark, grainy photo of a suspect taken by a security camera right before he or she allegedly murdered 53-year-old James McGillivray December 20 in Placentia.

A week later, 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh was killed near the Santa Ana River trail in Anaheim.

Two days later, the bloody body of 57-year-old Paulus Smit was found outside the Yorba Linda Library.

Police say all were stabbed multiple times. All were alone.

"We're asking people not to be by themselves, alone. We're asking them to be in groups," said Jim Palmer.

As safety tips were handed out, police searched for the driver of a white 2000 to 2003 4-door Toyota Corolla seen in a parking lot before the Placentia murder. It might belong to the suspect, or to a witness who might have information that could track down the serial killer.

The Orange County Rescue Mission is in need of donations of flashlights and whistles.

If you have information related to the case, contact the Anaheim Police Homicide Task Force at (714) 765-1944.