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Victims of alleged L.A. serial killer all had children, LAPD says

January 7, 2013 |  6:45 pm
Samuel Little

Authorities on Monday announced the arrest of a 72-year-old man who they allege is a serial killer responsible for the slayings of at least three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Officials would not elaborate on the backgrounds of the victims but said all three had children.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives allege that Samuel Little preyed on women in downtown and Central L.A., meeting some at bars before strangling them and dumping their bodies.

Police identified the victims as Carol Alford, 41, found dead on July 13, 1987; Audrey Nelson, 35, whose body was discovered Aug. 14, 1989; and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, found Sept. 2, 1989. Their bodies were discovered in the Central Avenue-Alameda Street corridor, just south of downtown.

Police allege that Little met women while cruising in his car or in bars.

If the allegations are true, it would mark the discovery of yet another serial killer operating in L.A. during the 1980s. Two years ago, the LAPD arrested a man they said was the notorious “Grim Sleeper,” allegedly responsible for at least 10 slayings in South L.A.

Little has been extradited to California from Kentucky, where he was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service in early September on an unrelated criminal warrant, LAPD officials said. He was charged Monday by the L.A. County district attorney's office with three murder counts and special circumstances for multiple murder.

LAPD detectives Mitzi Roberts and Rick Jackson, who investigated the case, said there is DNA evidence linking Little to the Los Angeles slayings but would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. Roberts and Jackson spent months crisscrossing the country following Little’s path.

Sources said they interviewed four women who said they survived attacks by Little and that they might testify in court.

Little has a long criminal record, dating to the 1950s. Detectives said they believe he committed thefts during the day to make money to finance his bar-hopping.

“It was theft by day and murder by night,” Jackson said.

Little, who also went under the name Samuel McDowell, committed crimes in 24 states but served relatively little time in state prison or county jail, the detectives said. In the early 1980s, he was accused of a two murders and two attempted murders in the Gainesville, Fla., and Pascagoula, Miss., areas.

Little was acquitted by a Florida jury in the strangulation death of Patricia Ann Mount, 26, whose body was discovered Sept. 12, 1982.

He was never brought to trial in the Mississippi cases, which include the strangulation death of Melinda LaPree, 24, on Sept., 14 1982. That case has been reopened by the Pascagoula Police Department in light of new evidence, authorities said.

Little moved from the South to California in the mid-1980s, moving first to San Diego.

He served more than two years in state prison after being convicted of assault and false imprisonment of two San Diego women in separate cases, police said. Shortly after being paroled, he moved to Los Angeles.

Little was being held in Wasco State Prison after being extradited and could not be reached for comment.

The LAPD is now working with other jurisdictions to determine whether Little might be a suspect in additional killings.

“If any law enforcement agencies have similar killings that occurred between 1960 and the present, they should contact LAPD cold case detectives,” Roberts said.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Samuel Little. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department

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