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“My first feeling is that it’s somebody who’s taking advantage of this more recent publicity,” Mr. LaRuffa said. “If I had to guess, I don’t think is guy or woman is associated with Malvo in any way. It’s just picking something that’s going to upset people and it could’ve been Malvo, it could have say any number of other people or other things that would be just as scary.”

D.C.-based criminal profiler Pat Brown said the note and the killing don’t seem to point to the work of a serial killer.

“Most likely we’re talking about a bunch of bull,” Ms. Brown said. The killer “just wants to throw police off track.”

The fact the killer stabbed Miss Smith rather than shooting her like Malvo and Muhammad had discussed was also odd, Ms. Brown said.

“This would be a massive anomaly, somebody out there playing Hollywood games,” Ms. Brown said. “I’m not buying it. That’s not usually the way they [serial killers] work. But if it was something, we would probably have the most bizarre crime of the century.”