A Florida couple is facing criminal charges in connection with their suspected roles in a killing spree that crossed state lines and left four people dead — including three people who were found hacked to death inside a home in late January.
PEOPLE learns that authorities in both South Carolina and Florida believe Christopher Taylor, 30, and his 36-year-old girlfriend, Kristina Sluss, could be connected to other slayings, possibly in other states. The two have been described as drifters.
Taylor has been charged with murder in Florida for allegedly beating Douglas John Bowling to death over two hours with a frying pan, an aluminum baseball bat and his fists, PEOPLE confirms. One count of evidence tampering has also been filed against him.
During a news conference over the weekend, authorities said Bowling’s body was found in early February, dumped in an orange grove outside of Ft. Meade. The 47-year-old homeless man’s hands had been lopped off.
Taylor’s brother, 21-year-old Gary Taylor, was also charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence in connection with Bowling’s death. Sluss faces the same counts in that case.
In South Carolina, she and Taylor both face three counts of murder for what authorities described as the “brutal” January killings of Fred Richards, 59, Francis Richards, 59, and 23-year-old Nathan Poffenberger.
Those homicides occurred in Landrum, South Carolina. Over the weekend, investigators told reporters they were “sadistic.” The couple and Poffenberger were hacked to death with a hatchet, according to authorities.
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Taylor and Sluss will be extradited to South Carolina in the coming weeks, officials said.
They knew Bowling and authorities alleged they took money and drugs from the scene of the Carolina deaths, but a motive has otherwise not been revealed.
Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters on Saturday that investigators are exploring potential links between the couple and cold cases in the area.
“You don’t just wake up one day and kill people,” he said.
Judd specifically singled Taylor out as exhibiting the characteristics of a serial killer.
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“I don’t believe for a minute that this may be all the people he has killed,” he said. “We need to know if you have any murders in the southeast United States, where the person was dismembered or partially dismembered. Do you have a vicious, outrageous crime scene, and the victims are victims for no apparent reason? If there is another victim who — maybe they have disappeared, no one has heard from them, but one of these two individuals has been in your community. In law enforcement, we call that a clue.”
Anyone with any information on the couple is asked to call 800-226-TIPS.
All three suspects remain in police custody but have yet to enter pleas to the charges they face.
Information on their lawyers, if any, was unavailable on Tuesday.