Serial Killer Drew Pictures of His Victims, FBI Needs Help Identifying Them
The FBI has released 16 portraits of confessed serial killer Samuel Little’s alleged victims, all of which were hand-drawn by Little from memory.
On Tuesday, the FBI released the portraits of 16 unidentified women made by serial killer Samuel Little while in prison in hopes that “someone – a family member, a former neighbor, a friend – might recognize the [victims] and provide the crucial clue in helping authorities make an identification.”
Little, 78, stunned investigators last year when he began confessing to almost 100 killings, carried out over the span of about 35 years. He’d already been behind bars at the time, serving three life sentences for the murders of three Los Angeles women.
After Little began sharing last May story upon story of the dozens of other vulnerable women who he claimed to have strangled to death, police and federal law enforcement have scoured old files and crime scene photographs in an effort to link unsolved murders to the details he recalled.
In all, Little has confessed to murdering 93 people over more than three decades between 1970 and 2005. Police said they’ve confirmed more than 36 of these cases so far, the Los Angeles Times reported. The grim tally makes Little one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.
He told investigators he considers himself an accomplished artist and promised last year that he could render portraits of his victims from memory.
Investigators encouraged him to do so, and using a mix of chalk, pastel pencils and watercolors he has drawn 16 in their final frightened moments, the last known images of the victims until police found their remains.
According to the FBI, “Little remembers his victims and the killings in great detail. He remembers where he was, and what car he was driving. He draws pictures of many of the women he killed. He is less reliable, however, when it comes to remembering dates.”
Despite Little’s detailed confessions, corroboration and victim identification have proved challenging for law enforcement. Many of Little’s victims lived on the margins of society as prostitutes, drug addicts and transgender women and their deaths often went uninvestigated, the FBI said.
Little’s method of killing also didn’t always leave obvious signs that the death was a homicide. The one-time competitive boxer usually stunned or knocked out his victims with powerful punches and then strangled them. With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes.
In addition, DNA evidence was often not available or could not provide a clear link back to Little. A large number of the killings occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s, before DNA profiling was part of the law enforcement toolbox. After DNA analysis came into play, the victims’ work as prostitutes complicated the ability of police to gather telling physical evidence.
Police have yet to link 13 of the portraits to victims or crimes committed by Little, according to the Times.
The victims are all captured in the final moments of their lives and most exhibit forlorn or petrified expressions, staring directly into the killer-come-artist’s eyes.
Each image of the women features red lips with oval eyes. One victim in Miami is wearing a blue headband holding back long black hair, another killed in Atlanta is seen with her mouth half open, and a third in Texas has purple hair.
Investigators are now said to be encouraging Little to continue with his twisted artistic endeavor in the hope of bringing retrospective justice to those whose brutal deaths were once drastically overlooked.
Little is in poor health and will likely stay in prison in Texas until his death. The goal now is to identify his victims and provide closure and justice in unsolved cases.
“We want to give these women their names back and their family some long-awaited answers. It’s the least we can do,” the FBI told CNN.
Visit the FBI’s website to see more information about each of Little’s portraits, including when and where each alleged victim may have been killed.
The bureau has urged anyone with information about the victims to contact their Violent Criminal Apprehension Program at (800) 634-4097.