The man suspected of being a serial killer has a Texas connection. Police say Elias Abuelazam terrorized people in three states during a string of random stabbings.

But Abuelazam’s ex-father-in-law, Jim Hirth of Crowley, Texas is surprised at what he’s learning of his daughter’s former husband.

“He didn’t seem, you know, that bad or a bad person. But I didn’t live with him, you know,” Hirth explains.

Jim Hirth of Crowley, talking about his former son-in-law, Elias Abuelazam, suspected in a string of 18 stabbings in Michigan, Virginia and Ohio since May. Five of the victims died.

Abuelazam, an Israeli citizen living in the US, was arrested at the airport in Atlanta, minutes before he was set to take off on a flight to Israel.

The majority of stabbings occurred in Flint, Michigan and most of the victims were African-American, leading some investigators to say the crimes were racially motivated.

In Crowley, Hirth said Abuelazam and his daughter met through relatives and married in 2004. She then divorced him in 2007.

Hirth told reporters that he believes his daughter left Abuelazam after he became violent toward her, citing verbal abuse and “some other things.”

“It’s affecting her a lot,” Hirth said.

“Imagine being with somebody and then all the sudden, years down the way, realizing that hey, wait a minute, he could have possibly done this. That’s kind of hard to think about.”

Hirth says his daughter hasn’t spoken with Abuelazam since their divorce three years ago.

He says his thoughts and prayers are with the victims.