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Four women whose lives ended in a drainage ditch outside Atlantic City

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The four women whose bodies were found in a drainage ditch just outside Atlantic City in November 2006, in the order that they were identified:

KIM RAFFO, 35. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she met her future husband, Hugh Auslander, when they were both teenagers living there. They got married and moved to a four-bedroom home Florida in the 1990s, and had two kids. She led what relatives said appeared to be a tranquil domestic life with her husband, who worked as a carpenter. A sister described her as a “mom of the year”-type. She volunteered with the Girl Scouts and PTA. A relative said Raffo “was like Martha Stewart” before growing bored with life as a housewife. She enrolled in a cooking class at a technical school, and met a drug user who introduced her to cocaine and heroin. Her husband took the kids and left; Raffo and her boyfriend settled in Atlantic City, where she worked as a waitress before turning to prostitution. She was clad in a Hard Rock Cafe tank top when her body was found after a few days in the ditch. She had been strangled with either a rope or a cord.

TRACY ANN ROBERTS, 23. Grew up in New Castle, Delaware. As a teenager, Roberts dropped out of high school and briefly studied to become a medical assistant. She lived in Philadelphia before working in strip clubs in and around Atlantic City, but drug use took a toll on her appearance, and club owners stopped hiring her. She began selling sex on the streets, where co-workers called her “the young one” or “the pretty one.” She lived in the same run-down area of seedy rooming houses as Raffo, whom she had befriended on the streets. Wearing a red hooded sweat shirt and a black bra, her body had been in the ditch anywhere from a couple of days to a week. She had a young daughter, grown now, who is about to earn a graduate degree in economics.

BARBARA V. BREIDOR, 42. Raised in Pennsylvania, rented a house in Ventnor, just outside Atlantic City. A cousin recalled her as “a very fun, happy girl” who was always smiling and joking around when she was young. She ran her family’s Boardwalk jewelry store and worked as a cocktail waitress at the Tropicana casino before a longtime drug problem worsened and pushed her into prostitution. She and a boyfriend had a daughter in 1997, which they asked her relatives in Florida to raise. Breidor briefly attended Penn State University and liked to watch the History Channel. Prosecutors said she had a “lethal” level of heroin in her system at the time of her death. Authorities were unable to determine how she died. Wearing blue jeans and a long-sleeve zippered shirt, she had been in the ditch at least two weeks.

MOLLY JEAN DILTS, 20. Grew up in Black Lick, Pennsylvania. She, too, had a young child that she asked relatives to care for. A former fast-food cook, she had never been arrested for prostitution in Atlantic City, although numerous streetwalkers said they saw her working in the sex trade as well in the short time between her arrival here and her death. They said she called herself “Amber” or “Princess” on the streets. A friend told The New York Times that Dilts cried a lot and spoke of considering suicide. Her body showed no traces of drugs, but she had been drinking just before her death. Clad in a denim miniskirt, a bra and mesh blouse, Dilts was believed to have been in the ditch the longest, for up to a month. “I want everyone to know Molly was a good woman and a good mother,” her father, Verner Dilts, told a Pittsburgh newspaper shortly after her death.

Source: AP research, Atlantic County prosecutor’s office, Atlantic City Police Department.

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