CNS–Los Angeles police are taking DNA samples from johns arrested in South Los Angeles prostitution stings in an effort to find a man who has killed 11 young black women since the mid-80s, it was reported.
"It's a needle in the haystack, but there is a needle out there somewhere and someone is going to find it," Los Angeles police Lt. Dennis Ballas told the Los Angeles Times.
While detectives have had the killer's genetic profile on record for years, they have been unable to make a match through law enforcement databases and have few other clues as to his identity. They know he typically shoots his victims with a handgun, sexually abuses them and dumps their bodies in alleys along Western Avenue. Detective Dennis Kilcoyne heads the squad stalking the elusive killer.
"We have a beautiful picture of what this guy looks like–it's a dot, a dash and a line on a screen," he said.
"We just don't have a name to go with it."
Though a $500,000 reward in the case has produced some promising leads, none has panned out. The killer, most active in the 1980s, seemed to stop killing for 13 years, only to resurface in 2002. His last known victim was found early last year.
Twenty years ago, his lone surviving victim described him as a black man in his 30s, according to Kilcoyne. DNA dragnets, as the strategy is called, were first employed in Europe, where authorities have swabbed thousands of people and solved dozens of crimes. German authorities collected samples from 16,400 people in the search for a man who had raped and killed an 11-year-old girl. They found him.