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Police to Hold News Conference on Lodato Homicide Investigation

Police will meet with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Alexandria police released this sketch of the suspect in the Feb. 6 shooting of Ruthanne Lodato.
Alexandria police released this sketch of the suspect in the Feb. 6 shooting of Ruthanne Lodato.
City of Alexandria Police plan to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon about their investigation into the homicide of Ruthanne Lodato. Lodato was a wife, mother of three and well-known music teacher in Alexandria.

Lodato, 59, was shot in her home after answering a knock on her door on a weekday morning. The shooting has shaken the North Ridge neighborhood and surrounding community in Alexandria. The unknown gunman is still at large.

Thursday's news conference, which is being held one month since the Feb. 6 shooting at Lodato's home on Ridge Road Drive, could reveal new forensics information from DNA or bullet casings.

Police carted off the front door of the Lodato home, just as they did in the Ron Kirby homicide. Kirby, a longtime transportation planner, was shot multiple times at his home Nov. 11 in nearby Rosemont. That case also remains unsolved. Police announced a reward fund five weeks after that shooting.

Since the Lodato shooting, police say they have received hundreds of tips, talked to neighbors, handed out flyers, released a sketch of the suspect and utilized 90 cadets in a grid search of the surrounding area, looking for clues. The FBI is also helping with the investigation and police have utilized a helicopter from the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police were able to put together the sketch of the suspect based on a description provided by a caretaker at the Lodato home who was there to take care of Lodato's mother.

Police have described the man as balding with some gray hair, a beard and wearing a tan jacket. They have given no age range. They say he may have tried to change his appearance since the shooting.

The caretaker survived being shot in the arm. Lodato's mother was unharmed.

Some residents have voiced fears that the shooter could be the same suspect in two or more unsolved homicides, that the Lodato and Kirby homicides could be linked. Both were shot in their homes during the day, on a weekday. The homes are just over a mile apart.

It's a theory that Kirby's widow, Anne Haynes, has dismissed. "I think these recent shootings, including Ron's, are random," Haynes told WUSA last month. "I don't think it was a serial killer. I think that guns are way too easy for all kinds of crackpots to have them and they have them." A reward fund was established to assist law enforcement with the Kirby investigation.

A reward fund for the unsolved murder Dec. 5, 2003 of popular Del Ray real estate agent Nancy Dunning reached $100,000. “There is no reason today to think that those two cases [Kirby and Dunning] are connected,” Police Chief Earl Cook told The Washington Post in December.

The police chief said at a Feb. 7 news conference about the three homicides that there was no evidence linking them, but said police were open to looking at similarities in the cases.

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