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Convicted Killer Confesses To 1991 Murder Of Florida Waitress, Saying He Had 'Hatred For Women,' Authorities Allege

Linda Little disappeared on Oct. 11, 2991 after finishing her shift at a Daytona Beach restaurant. Authorities now say that Michael Townson has confessed to the killing after finding religion behind bars.

By Jill Sederstrom
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A convicted killer allegedly has confessed to killing a 43-year-old Florida waitress who vanished after leaving work more than three decades ago, telling authorities he murdered her after a “random” meeting at a hotel bar because of a “hatred” he had for women.

Michael Townson, 53, was indicted Monday by a Volusia County Grand Jury for first-degree murder in the 1991 cold-case killing of Linda Little, according to a statement from the State Attorney’s Office.

Townson — who is already serving a life sentence for beating another woman to death inside her home with a steel pipe — allegedly confessed to Little’s October 1991 killing after finding God behind bars.

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“The Lord placed it on his heart to confess and since he was transferred back to Volusia County, that is what ultimately compelled him to confess,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said during a press conference streamed by WOFL.

A police handout of Linda Little

Investigators now suspect Townson may be a serial killer; authorities said he also admitted to other killings in central Florida and Tennessee before his current conviction in 2008.

Those cases are being investigated — but in Little’s case, authorities say they were able to confirm his confession through details he provided about her disappearance and death.

“We’re just extremely grateful that we’re able to provide closure for the family,” Young said of solving the 31-year-old cold case that has baffled investigators for decades.

Little disappeared on Oct. 11, 1991 after finishing her shift as a waitress at the Chart House restaurant in Daytona Beach around 1 a.m., according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. She was seen riding off on her beach cruiser bicycle across the International Speedway Boulevard Bridge before disappearing.

She was reported missing three days later on October 14, 1991 after a friend had been unable to reach her.

A police handout of Michael Townson

Daytona Beach Police Det. Dave Dinardi said Monday that authorities now know that at some point after leaving the restaurant, Little crossed paths with Townson at a hotel bar in Daytona Beach.

“They met, they were enjoying a few drinks together and something happened that in his words just caused him to snap,” Dinardi said at the press conference.

Townson allegedly told authorities he had been living in Orlando at the time and liked to come to Daytona Beach to go to the beach or visit a specific bar around his birthday.

“He did give a full confession and unfortunately it just appears that it was a random meeting,” he said. “Unfortunately, on the wrong day and the wrong time, Linda just met the wrong person."

Townson also allegedly provided investigators with information about where he put Little’s body — which has never been found — but authorities have yet to find the remains and continue to search.

While providing the confession, Townson told investigators that he often targeted women because of his own traumatic past, Young said.

“Townson tells investigators that he was sexually abused by his father and grandfather as a child and blames his mother and the other women in his life for not protecting him as a child and as a result he developed a hatred for women,” he said.

He was found guilty by a Brevard County jury of first-degree murder in the beating death of Sherri Carmanto in 2008 and given a life sentence, prosecutors said.

Little’s sister Wanda Henson thanked law enforcement Monday for “staying on this case and never ever giving up.”

“Just one man’s actions has affected generations now,” she said of the impact of her older sister’s disappearance.

Little never got to see her granddaughter grow up or meet her great grandchildren. Yet, despite the family’s heartache, Henson said she has forgiven Townson, who she thanked for finally providing the family with answers.

“This is an answer to prayer,” she said. “I’ve been praying for closure and God works in mysterious ways.”

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