August 13th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Before arrest, police had serial killer suspect in custody

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/crime/2010/08/13/am.meserve.stabbing.suspect.cnn.640×360.jpg caption="Police say Abuelazam, 33, was in custody twice before they knew he was a suspect" width=300 height=169]

Police had suspected serial killer Elias Abuelazam in custody twice in the past month, both within hours of when stabbings were reported, but say he hadn't been linked to the bloody attacks at the time.

Abuelazam, suspected of slashing victims in three states and killing five of them, was arrested last Sunday on a traffic charge and July 29 for giving alcohol to a minor, according to authorities and court documents. He was released both times.

After his August 5 traffic stop in Arlington, Virginia, police learned he had an outstanding warrant for assault and was arrested. They found a knife and hammer in his car - both weapons authorities think were used during a string of knifings in Michigan, Virginia and Ohio.

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