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L.A. detectives step up search for Grim Sleeper serial killer

November 24, 2009 |  8:46 am

Suspect Los Angeles police searching for a serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper, responsible for at least 11 deaths in the last three decades, have released a composite drawing of him.

The suspect has killed women in the city of Los Angeles, unincorporated L.A. County areas and Inglewood since the 1980s. He was described in 1988 by a surviving victim as black, in his 20s, between 5-feet-8 and 5-feet-10 inches tall, around 160 pounds, soft-spoken, articulate, with neatly trimmed hair and a pockmarked face.

DNA and ballistics evidence have connected the killings of 10 women and one man from 1985 to 2007, police said. After 1988, the killer did not commit any known homicides until 2002. He last struck on Jan. 1, 2007.

The victims were all black and most were apparent prostitutes or drug addicts who were sexually assaulted. A 12th victim escaped after being shot and raped.

In February, the LAPD released a 911 tape of a call made more than 20 years ago by a witness who reported having seen the killer dispose of a woman's body in South Los Angeles. The witness called police from a pay phone shortly after midnight Jan. 10, 1987, and described a man removing a woman's body from a blue-and-white 1976 Dodge van.

The caller told the dispatcher the van's license plate was 1PZP746, and police found later it at the now-defunct Cosmopolitan Church at 6075 S. Normandie Ave. The suspect has also been seen driving a 1970s two-door orange, white-striped Pinto hatchback with tinted windows, a green interior and tan seat covers, police said.

There is $500,000 reward for information leading to the killer's arrest and conviction. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (213) 473-0346 or (877) 527-3247 evenings and weekends.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: LAPD sketch of suspect, based on a 1988 description, who is wanted in a series of murders dating back to 1985. Credit: LAPD