LOS ANGELES, Calif.–About 20 women depicted in 180 photos retrieved from the home of the “Grim Sleeper” serial-killer suspect have been identified by detectives, and most are alive and well, police said today.
Police released 180 photos Thursday in hopes of identifying the people in them and ensuring they were not possible victims of the “Grim Sleeper.”
The photos were found in the South Los Angeles home of suspect Lonnie David Franklin Jr.
According to police, detectives were able to remove 29 of the photos–eight of them were duplicates and one was a known victim whose family was unable to attend a meeting with police before the photos were released.
Of the 20 pictures, most of the women are alive and well, a few have died of natural causes and a few have been determined to be missing.
“We are grateful for the public’s continued response to the release of the images,” according to an LAPD statement. “It is our fervent hope that with this response, coupled with the tireless efforts of our detectives, the women depicted in these images will be positively identified.”
Franklin was arrested July 8 and remains jailed without bail. He is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Before Franklin was identified as a suspect, investigators used forensic evidence to link eight murders between 1985 and 1988, and three murders between 2001 and 2007, to the same killer, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Dennis Kilcoyne said.
The killer was dubbed the Grim Sleeper because of the 13-year break between killing sprees.
Last week’s release of photos, which are
A group called the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders issued a statement today calling the release of the photos “deeply disturbing and a shock.” The coalition, which criticized the department in the mid-1980s for referring to the killings as “prostitute slayings,” contends the release of the photos “can only risk smearing the women in the eyes of their children, partners, other family members, co-workers and neighbors.”
“… We have asked LAPD, elected officials and members of the media repeatedly to stop referring to the victims of the Grim Sleeper as prostitutes and drug addicts,” according to the coalition. “… We protest the label because it is used to segregate the victims from other women, devalue their lives and reduce them to a stereotype. It paints a false picture of who the women were and it is upsetting to their loved ones and to our communities.”
The images were taken from videotapes, Polaroid photos and cameras with undeveloped film inside, all found in Franklin’s home, police said.
The photos can be viewed at the Los Angeles Police Department’s website, www.lapdonline.org, and the website of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, da.co.la.ca.us.
The LAPD’s website has experienced “a tremendous amount of activity” since the photos were posted and detectives have received dozens of telephone calls, police said.
Anyone with information on women in the photos should call the police at (877) LAPD-24-7; or Crime Stoppers, (800) 222-TIPS.