Are truckers murdering people along nation's highways?

They call her Miss Molly.

Her battered body turned up in a shallow creek 23 years ago west of Salina, Kan., thrown from a bridge on Interstate 70. Despite efforts by investigators that have taken them across the country, she is unidentified to this day.

Miss Molly is among hundreds of murder victims whose bodies have been dumped along highways across the country over the past three decades — 11 of them in Kansas and Missouri. And, according to the FBI, many of the victims were likely killed by long-haul truckers.

This week, the agency announced its Highway Serial Killings Initiative to raise awareness of the issue and the FBI’s effort to support local and state authorities in their investigations into highway murders.

The victims, the FBI says, are usually women living high-risk and transient lifestyles that involve substance abuse and prostitution. Often picked up at truck stops or gas stations, they are sexually assaulted, murdered and discarded along interstates and highways.

“The suspects are predominantly long-haul truck drivers,” the FBI said in a statement. “But the mobile nature of the offenders, the unsafe lifestyles of the victims, the significant distances and multiple jurisdictions involved and the scarcity of witnesses or forensic evidence can make these cases tough to solve.”

At least some truckers are furious that their industry is being linked to serial killers, but the FBI says it is not trying to disparage truck drivers.

Until recent years, no one had made that connection.

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