FOX47 NEWS - Serial Killer Victim Had Madison Ties
Milwaukee Police say they have finally caught a serial killer that has eluded them for more than 20 years -- a man responsible for nine murders dating back to 1986.
Walter Ellis, 49, was arrested over the weekend
Ellis is charged with the murders of two women, but police think he has killed seven other women over the course of two decades
One of the victims, Joyce Mims, has ties to Madison.
Police used a search warrant to get Ellis' toothbrush and hair from his apartment.
The DNA matched DNA found on Mims and one other victim. More tests are pending.
Mims' relatives say they are relieved to know an alleged murderer is off the streets, but his arrest brought back the nightmare of Mims' death.
"When you lose a child, it's like everything drains out of you," said Dorsey Noble, Mims' mother.
Twelve years after her daughter's murder, Noble is still dealing with the pain.
"She was a happy person, always laughing, making jokes, all the kids loved her."
Police found 41-year-old Joyce Mims beaten and strangled on Milwaukee's north side back in June of 1997.
Relatives say she lived a few blocks from the murder suspect, Walter Ellis, and had dated Ellis' uncle, all while raising her four sons.
"She put a lot of time into us as kids," said son Reggie Mims. "As life went on she made a couple bad decisions. I don't fault her for that. I love my mother. I think about her everyday."
Now, family members are hoping for justice -- for Joyce, for the eight other victims, and for their loved ones.
"Since they got him, I'm glad because he hurt a lot of people," said Cheryl Noble, Mims' sister.
"I can forgive him, but I want him to be punished for what he did," said Dorsey Noble.
Said Reggie, "He ran around Milwaukee for 20 years killing women. There's a place for people like that."
Reggie, is hoping to put this episode of his life behind him. He just opened a barber shop, Custom Cuts, on Madison's south side.
He says he will always remember his mother as a loving, kind person, who would be proud of him.
Joyce's mother, Dorsey Noble, says the pain runs deeper for her.
She's lost three children, including Joyce. All of them, she says, were murdered.