2 Miss. road deaths may have been caused by fake officer

(AP) JACKSON, Miss. - Authorities investigating two slayings on Mississippi highways said Monday they're concerned the victims may have been killed by someone who posed as law enforcement to pull them over late at night.

Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando was found near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in Tunica County on May 8 about 2:15 a.m. Three days later, Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Neb., was found in his car on Interstate 55 in nearby Panola County about 1:30 a.m.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Waggoner said authorities were concerned that someone was impersonating an officer and shot the victims after pulling them over.

"The concern is that someone is posing as a law enforcement officer and that is how these vehicles end up on the side of the road," Waggoner said in a statement.

Both cars pulled over on remote stretches of highway and neither vehicle appeared to have had problems, Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said.

Strain said people should call 911 or *47 if they're concerned that someone trying to pull them over is not an officer.

Strain said shell casings were found at the scene of both shootings and were being analyzed. He said it would be premature to release other details about the type of weapon used in the shootings.

The motive is still under investigation. Both cars were red, but Strain said that could be a coincidence.

Strain said Carswell's 1997 Pontiac Grand Am was found on the shoulder of the road, but her body was found in the road near the intersection of Mississippi 713 and Interstate 69.

"We don't know how she wound up outside of the vehicle, but she was out of the car," Strain said.

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Joey Miller said last week that Schlender's body was found in his car, which crashed into a divider in the median. He was alone in the 1999 Ford F-150 and no other motorists were hurt.

Miller has said five shell casings were found on the interstate after that shooting.

Tunica and Panola counties are near one another in the northern part of the state. Tunica County is most known for its casinos on the Mississippi River.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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