Los Angeles Police today released the 911 audiotape of a witness that they believe may have actually seen the serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” back in 1987.
The Grim Sleeper. Sounds like bad melodrama, but it is the dark nickname given the serial killer that is believed to have killed as many as 10 women, according to NBCLosAngeles.com (CNN claims 11 victims), and attacked at least one more in the Los Angeles area in a period ranging from 1985 to 2007. The serial killer was dubbed the Grim Sleeper due to the lengthy period of time that would elapse between killings.
All the victims of the Grim Sleeper were black females, except for one black male. All were drug addicts or prostitutes (or both). Some of them had been raped, as was the lone victim who escaped from the serial killer alive. If she had not survived, she would have been his ninth kill. Instead, she became Victim No. 9 and was able to give the police a partial description of the man who attacked her. He was black, seemed to be in his 30s, and drove an orange Ford Pinto.
Detectives say that the 911 caller in 1987 did not identify himself or the person who killed the first known victim, but the caller’s description of the crime scene and the subsequently found van the body was seen being dumped from were exactly as the police found them and documented them. Police decided to release the audiotape in an effort to get people who might know something about any of the killings to come forward. Police say they do not believe that the Grim Sleeper and the 911 caller are the same person. But they do believe that the caller saw the Grim Sleeper and could help them put the serial killer away. The unfortunate upshot of this is that, if the 911 caller had been more forthcoming in 1987, Victims No. 5 through 11 may not have occurred.
Victim No. 4 was Barabara Ware, 23.
The 911 caller described a body being thrown out of a blue-and-white 1976 Dodge van. Then a gas tank was thrown out on top of her, obscuring most of her body. The caller also relayed the license plate number of the van.
The van was found 30 minutes later, engine still warm. It was a church that church members admitted to using up until 11:30 that night. The 911 call came in at 12:19 a.m. on January 10. Police were unable to ascertain whether or not anyone from the church had had anything to do with the slaying. They were also unable to determine who or how many had access to keys to the van in question.
Police say they have the serial killer’s DNA from various crime scenes. It is also known that the killer used a .35 calibre pistol to kill his victims. They have issued a $500,000 reward for information leading to the Grim Sleeper’s arrest.
The Grim Sleeper last killed on January 1. 2007.
Like the Grim Sleeper, other serial killers murdered over a period of years before they were caught and brought to justice. The notorious Green River Killer, Gary Ridgeway, who has claimed to have killed over 90 women, was caught after nearly 20 years of terrorizing the King County, Washington area. He pleaded guilty to 48 killings in 2003.
Dennis Lynn Rader would kill ten women in Sedgwick County (around Wichita), Kansas, from 1974 to 1991. He was arrested in 2005 and subsequently convicted.
There are far too many others…
The Grim Sleeper has been at large for 22 years.
Anyone with information about the killer is asked to call Detective Dennis Kilcoyne at 213-473-0346 during normal office hours, or the tip line: 877-LAPD-24-7.