Serial killings probe looking at Tavares

Serial killings probe looking at Tavares »Play Video
Daniel Thomas Tavares, Jr. is seen in a Pierce County courtroom during his arraignment for the murders of Beverly and Brian Mauck.
GRAHAM, Wash. -- The suspect in the double murder in Graham might have ties to unsolved serial killings.

Daniel Tavares is charged with shooting Brian and Beverly Mauck in November. He has also served 16 years in prison for killing his mother in Massachusetts in 1991.

But he's also bragged about other murders, and a police source tells KOMO 4 News that investigators are looking at him for any connection to serial killings dubbed "The Highway Killings."

Nine women - prostitutes and drug addicts - were murdered and dumped along highways outside New Bedford, Mass. in 1988.

The Bristol County District Attorney reopened the case earlier this year and won't go on the record about any possible suspects. But our source says investigators are looking at Daniel Tavares.

Tavares came to Pierce County over the summer; on the run from charges he assaulted prison guards.

On a November night in Graham, he bragged to a customer in Ma and Pa's Roundup that he killed three people back in Massachusetts, and said he had guns and drugs for sale.

Justin Greenwood was tending bar that night.

"Real arrogant and cocky; bad attitude," Greenwood said of Tavares. "You could tell he was in there for a reason. Right away he started harassing customers. There was something about him that wasn't right."

Later that same night, prosecutors say Tavares executed Brian and Beverly Mauck in their Graham home over an insult and $50.

The fact he was even in Washington frustrates family and local police. And it's created all kinds of finger pointing in Massachusetts.

"We'd have a lot more respect for them if somebody would say hey, there's a problem, let's investigate it and fix it instead of passing it off," said Det. Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. "If somebody would've done that a long time ago, there's a chance he wouldn't have been here."

We spoke with an investigative reporter for the Boston Herald who says no one there has accepted responsibility for letting Daniel Tavares go.

"There is quite a bit of criticism absorbed by the judge, the judiciary, as well as (Massachusetts governor) Mitt Romney, the Department of Corrections -- why weren't the charges for assaulting the prison guards brought earlier?" said Boston Herald reporter Laura Crimaldi.

Tavares has already broken the rules at the Pierce County jail. He wrote a letter to his wife even though a court order prohibits contact. Jail guards intercepted the letter.

Because of his history as a problem inmate, Pierce County guards keep him under tight control and say he hasn't been overly aggressive.