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'Time Is Running Out': New Details Released On Unidentified Victims Of Serial Killer Samuel Little

New information about 31 unsolved murders that serial killer Samuel Little has confessed to has been released in hopes that members of the public will recognize the victims.

By Gina Tron
The Samuel Little Case, Explained

New information regarding unidentified victims of serial killer Samuel Little has been released this week in hopes that of solving more of his many murders.

The FBI, the Department of Justice and Texas Rangers released new information on Wednesday on 31 unidentified victims of Little, whom the FBI has previously called “the most prolific” serial killer in U.S. history. Before his death in 2020, he claimed to have killed 93 people between 1978 and 2005 as he drifted across the country. Of that number, 62 murders have been confirmed. 

Now officials want to confirm dozens more and give his other victims their names back.

“The information contained in these narratives could be the missing piece to solving some of these murders,” Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said in the Wednesday release. “It’s critical that anyone with information comes forward, as time is running out.”

For each of the 31 victims, there is now a comprehensive narrative of how Little met and killed them. Each story includes details about the victims that could possibly ring a bell to anyone who once knew them.

Of the victims, there is a Black woman he met at Tam’s Hamburger in Los Angeles in 1996 whose name may have been “Shela” or “Sheila.” She was a lesbian with “medium short” hair. Another was “Marianne,” a “drag queen” he met in Miami in either 1971 or 1972. He met Marianne at a bar called the “Pool Palace” and knew that the victim had an ex-boyfriend named “Wes.”  

Much of the information appears to be based upon transcriptions of interviews between the serial killer and Texas Ranger James Holland, recorded from mid-2018 until Little’s death.

“Little had a photographic memory and was able to ​describe where he met and killed the victims, where he left their bodies and what the victims looked like,” law enforcement noted in the announcement. “Little lacked the ability to accurately judge timeframes and distance. At times, Little was proven to be off by more than 10 years and 40 miles. ​Therefore, years and distances provided in the linked narratives should not be considered definitive.”

All the victims, minus two whom he drowned, were strangled. 

Several of the victims were initially misclassified in autopsy reports and listed as drug overdoses or natural deaths. And Little’s crime spree remained under the radar for decades as, by his own admission, he targeted women he felt nobody would care about or miss. He preyed on marginalized people, mostly drug-dependent Black sex workers. 

Joe Berlinger, executive producer of "Confronting A Serial Killer" — a docuseries on Samuel Little and the injustice his victims suffered for so long —  told Oxygen.com earlier this year that denying anyone of dignity creates the conditions that made it possible for Little to keep on killing for so long.

“[People should have] an awareness that when we don’t treat every victim with equality, whether it’s a college student at a prestigious university or someone who makes a living in the sex trade in the south, all victims should be treated equally because that’s what our foundation of our society is about, what our criminal justice system should be about and when you don’t treat victims equally you create monsters like Sam Little,” he said. “He could have so easily been apprehended decades earlier and he created so much pain.”

Anyone with information on any of the unidentified victims is urged to contact 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), tips.fbi.gov, or james.holland@dps.texas.gov

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