The case of a suspected serial killer who terrorized the Los Angeles area beginning in 1985 is back in the news today as frustrated detectives again make a plea to the public for any tips that might help them solve these baffling murders.
Popularly known as “The Grim Sleeper” case, it revolves around at least 11 unsolved murders, all believed to have been perpetrated by one person. Because detectives have thus far been unable to name a suspect, they refer to the mysterious serial killer as The Grim Sleeper.
This latest plea by detectives comes with the release of a recording from a 911 call placed in 1987. A man called the emergency number to report seeing a van dumping a body. The body turned out to belong to one of the Grim Sleeper’s victims, 23-year-old Barbara Ware. Through this tip, police were able to track the van down, but the trail once again went cold from there.
Los Angelenos are not unfamiliar with notorious, unsolved killings; The Black Dahlia case is one good example. That case captured the area’s imagination and attention more due to the victim’s youth, beauty and grotesque mutilation than anything else. The victim in that famous case, Elizabeth Short, does not appear to have been part of any kind of serial killing.
But other unsolved serial killings have been in the news in recent years. The most notorious still-unsolved serial killer case, also from California, was brought back to popular attention through the big screen when “Zodiac” came out in 2007. That film revolved around the “Zodiac Killer”, a serial killer who taunted the press with cryptic letters and is believed to be responsible for five confirmed, and up to 37 claimed, killings.
The Grim Sleeper case also recalls the still-unsolved, much disputed case of five young men in La Crosse, Wisconsin who some say were victims of a serial killer or even a gang of serial killers responsible for up to 40 area deaths. All of those deaths involved young men who were found drowned and the cases have received a lot of attention from the local media.
Because the most recent victim of The Grim Sleeper was killed in 2007, detectives do feel they have a good chance of yet apprehending the killer. As these other frustrating cases show, however, serial killings are not always easy to solve. With any luck, the release of the 911 tape by Los Angeles detectives will spark a memory in someone and help detectives bring a depraved serial killer, finally, to justice.