x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

US police issue photos of 180 possible murder victims

Los Angeles police have issued photos of 180 women, some of whom they fear may have been victims of a serial killer.

LOS ANGELES // Los Angeles police have issued photos of some 180 women, some of whom they fear may have been victims of a serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper”.

The photos of the women, most of whom were black, were seized at the home of Lonnie David Franklin Jr. after his July 8 arrest on charges of killing at least 10 women and one man between 1985 and 2007 -- with a 14-year "sleeper" gap from 1988 to 2002.

"We don't even know if they're victims. But we do know this: Lonnie Franklin's reign of terror in the city of Los Angeles... certainly needs to be investigated further," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

"And we certainly do not believe that we are so lucky -- or so good -- as to know all his victims," he added.

The pictures, which almost all show women smiling at the camera, were taken from Polaroid photos, undeveloped film or videotapes found at the suspected serial killer's home in south Los Angeles.

They are cropped as headshots from photographs which were sexually explicit, police said. Only a small handful are not black -- a few white and at least one Hispanic woman. Some of them appear to be sleeping.

Franklin is believed to have sexually assaulted his alleged victims before or after killing them.

Beck urged anyone who recognized someone in the photos -- women between 20-30 years old -- to contact the LAPD.

"If there is somebody's photo among these 180 who is a victim, if there is somebody's identity that we need to establish, if there is some family in this city that goes without justice, then you will help us in achieving that for them," he said.

The pictures, posted online Thursday, triggered a spike in activity on the LAPD website and dozens of calls, although a spokeswoman said it was not yet known whether any of the women had been identified.