Police Looking For Connection In Brutal Crimes

A man charged in a Breckinridge County rape case is now considered a suspect in a 16-year-old unsolved murder.

Ernest Pine of Hardinsburg was arrested after police say he attacked, raped and tried to a kill a woman in her Breckenridge County home last week.

"He cut her very, very badly. He cut her from here to here (on her throat) and several other places," said Larry Frame, the victim's neighbor.

The victim got away and was able to call police.

Shortly after, police arrested the 58 year old and now many are starting to wonder if Pine could have done this before.

"This looks similar to a 1992 murder case that we have outside of Elizabethtown that remains unsolved," said Steve Pavey with Kentucky State Police.

16 years ago, Elena Sanchez Hawkins, was raped and murdered.

The 29 year old was found dead inside her Hardin County home.

"At the present time all I can really tell you about the investigation is she died of an apparent knife wound," a Kentucky State Trooper said.

For years, police hit road block after road block, but now perhaps Pine's arrest for this most recent crime could be the lead investigators have been waiting for.

"The similarities obviously are the crime itself. The rape and murder and some of the things that went on in both homes are very similar, but could also be similar to hundreds of others across the United States," said Pavey.

Police say it's too early in their investigation to determine if the two cases are connected, but if the evidence is there, it could mean new life for this 16-year-old cold case.

"If the evidence from this case in Breckenridge County takes us in that direction or we find evidence that takes us in that direction, we're going to go with it and we're going to go for it," Pavey said.

Kentucky State Police say they have always believed Hawkins' murder could be solved and have recently featured it on their web site and a local paper.

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