A $500,000 reward was offered last week for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a serial killer believed to be responsible for at least 11 murders in South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007. Dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” by the LA Weekly, the suspect has killed nine people in the city of Los Angeles, one in Inglewood and one in an unincorporated area of the county in the last 23 years. Fifteen suspects have been eliminated as the serial killer, said LAPD Capt. Denis Cremins.
“This individual committed several homicides from 1985 through 1988, and then there was a 13-year hiatus. What accounted for that gap we still don’t know,” Cremins said.
The Los Angeles Police Department established a cold case unit in 2001 to investigate unsolved homicides. It was not until 2006 that detectives discovered the 11 murders were connected through DNA and ballistics evidence. One of the victims was 18-year-old Monique Alexander.
During a Thursday morning news conference at City Hall, Alexander’s parents asked for the public’s help in finding the person responsible for the slaying.
“Monique was my baby girl,” said Mary Alexander. “She just loved everybody—animals, people ... it’s very hurtful when I see my nieces and her friends and all growing up and I think about what would she have been like. It’s very hard.”
Ten of the victims were young, Black women. Their bodies were left in a corridor along Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. Authorities believe most were working as prostitutes, and some of the victims had been sexually assaulted, the LA Weekly reported.
One woman—identified as Victim No. 9—survived an attack by the Grim Sleeper. The woman was shot in the chest and raped. The bullets removed from her chest matched the gun used on the first eight victims.
Victim No. 9 described the killer as a 30-ish Black man with short hair, driving a rust, red or orange Ford Pinto, according to the Weekly. One route the LAPD has not yet been able to try is comparing the serial killer’s DNA with samples in the criminal database in search of one of his close relatives. According to the Weekly, crime-scene analysts discovered traces of the killer’s dried saliva on victims’ breasts. The “familial searches”—decried by some as an invasion of privacy require the permission of the state—attorney general, whose office has not said whether such a search would be approved.
“They have linked these cases as having common threads of
evidence—ballistics, DNA and a variety of other forensics,” said City Councilman Bernard Parks, who sponsored the reward.
The city offered a maximum of $500,000 in reward money. If an individual provides information that solves all of the Grim Sleeper crimes, the most that person can collect is $200,000. If multiple people provide information, up to $500,000 is available.
Anyone with information on the murders was asked to contact LAPD Robbery-Homicide at (213) 485-2531 or (877) LAWFULL.