The LAPD identified nearly 20 women of the 180 released in pictures late last week that are believed to have been victims of the Grim Sleeper. According the the AFP, Los Angeles police investigators were “inundated with phone calls and emails from family, friends and former co-workers hoping to identify sometimes long-lost loved ones,” once the images were released.
The women, mostly black, were found following a search of the Sleeper’s home following his July arrest for charges stemming to 8 murders. Criminal investigators charge that the Grim Sleeper–Lonnie David Franklin–is positively linked to cases involving the deaths of 10 women and one man. Police officials believe that Franklin’s killing spree went from 1985 to 2007, but took a 14-year break in the interim.
The pictures show women in various states: smiling, asleep, or partially undressed, and came from Polaroid photos and undeveloped video and camera film. There were 29 images that were duplicates, 20 of women who were discovered to have died from natural or were still alive, and the rest unknown.
Detectives theorize that the majority of women known to have been murdered by the Grim Sleeper were sexually assaulted before their demise.
The killer’s name was derived from his 14-year hiatus that began in 1988; the break in murders also made Franklin’s eventual capture and arrest difficult due to the long time-span. Another contributing factor was the fact that Los Angeles actually had several serial killers who committed murders at the same time. The “South Side Slayer” task force eventually realized that, although the crimes were similar, there were several people behind the homicides.
Louis Craine was convicted of committing at least two of the Slayer’s murders; Daniel Lee Seibert confessed t five murders and was convicted on three, and Michael Hughes committed four murders and four sexual assaults during the same period. Much like convicted serial killer known as BTK (Dennis Rader) the murdering spree, prolonged over several decades, was difficult to track; the addition of several other killers made the crimes that much harder to trace.