OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal, state and local task force is investigating the possibility that the killings of a Creighton University professor and his wife may be linked to the unsolved 2008 stabbing deaths of an 11-year-old boy and his family housekeeper, Omaha police announced Monday.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told a news conference that authorities are "exploring very hard" the possibility that the killings of Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, are linked to the unsolved deaths of Thomas Hunter and 57-year-old Shirlee Sherman.
Schmaderer would not elaborate on any connections, but acknowledged a tie to Creighton University. Roger Brumback was a pathology professor and colleague of Thomas' parents at the university's school of medicine. Thomas' father, Dr. William Hunter, works in the same department as Brumback did, and the boy's mother, Dr. Claire Hunter, works in the cardiology department.
"The Omaha police department is very concerned about these homicides and whether or not they may be related," Schmaderer said. "The safety of our citizens and visitors to Omaha is our top priority, and we will do everything in our power to bring justice and closure to the families and to the Omaha community."
The task force includes more than a dozen police detectives, as well as FBI and State Patrol personnel. The chief said authorities have been in touch with William Hunter, as well as the Brumback family, but declined to detail any of the discussions.
William Hunter declined to comment Monday afternoon on behalf of his family. Creighton released a statement on behalf of the Brumback family Monday afternoon thanking the community for its support and while requesting privacy.
"There are no words to properly describe our grief," the statement said. "Our family has lost a devoted mother and beloved father."
Authorities have released little information about the Brumback slayings, including how the couple died. Schmaderer called it a "heinous crime" that has prompted uneasiness among residents, including faculty members at the university who met with authorities Monday.