MORRILTON — Investigators say a father of six who was born to a prostitute has been linked by genetic evidence to the 2000 rest-stop killing of Kristin Laurite , as well as to the unsolved deaths of two women in California.
The man, 39-year-old Ronald James Ward, was sentenced in June 2001 to life in prison in Montana for murdering a male acquaintance there for money. Ward has not been charged in the deaths of Laurite or the other women, and as of Friday afternoon, Ward had not been told of the reported DNA match, Conway County Sheriff Mark Flowers said.
"This case is far from over," Flowers said at a news conference in Morrilton on Friday morning. "We've still got a lot of work to do."
For one thing, investigators must prove that Ward was in Arkansas when Laurite was murdered. He was not a suspect until this month, when a California crime laboratory linked his DNA to the genetic material left at the crime scenes in the cases of Laurite and a California woman.