'Grim Sleeper' photos: Five women tentatively identified as tips flood into LAPD
The Los Angeles Police Department has tentatively identified five of the scores of woman whose photos were found in the possession of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer suspect, according to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck.
"I cannot give you an update on their well-being or status," Beck said, adding officers were trying to locate the women. He said tentative identifications were based on tips from the public.
The department has received hundreds of calls and e-mails since it released the photos to the public on Thursday. Beck said the photos have received at least 8 million page views on various media and law enforcement websites.
"The information coming in is voluminous," said Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, who headed the task force that tracked down Franklin.
Franklin, who is accused of sexually assaulting and killing 10 women in South L.A., was arrested in July after authorities identified him after matching DNA samples left on the bodies of the victims to the genetic profile of Franklin's son, which was stored in felon databases.
After arresting Franklin, police discovered a trove of 1,000 photographs and hundreds of hours of video in a trailer and garage on his property. The images showed about 160 different women, most of them partially or fully nude and striking sexual poses. Fearing that some of the women in the photos could be victims and wanting to better understand what makes Franklin tick, detectives spent months trying to identify the women in the images. The effort was fruitless, however, and LAPD officials made the decision to go public with cropped versions of photographs that showed the women's faces, hoping that the women, family members or others would recognize them and contact police.
Kilcoyne said detectives have already had phone conversations with a handful of people claiming they were relatives of women pictured in the photographs and that they had either been missing for years or had been the victim of unsolved murders.
Officials hope to determine whether any of the women might be additional victims of the accused South L.A. serial killer. Franklin was charged with 10 killings. He had pleaded not guilty.
"We will make sure we sit down across from anyone like that and have a face-to-face conversation to make sure we do everything possible to figure out what happened," Kilcoyne said. "Right now, my goal is just to sort all the information coming in, organize it and in the days to come we'll start meeting with people."
-- Richard Winton Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and L.A. City Councilman Bernard C. Parks walk by the array of photos after a news conference at LAPD headquarters. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times