New Grim Sleeper Victims Killed During "Sleep" Period
Franklin was arrested in July 2010 and charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for crimes allegedly committed from 1985 to 2007. He was given the name “Grim Sleeper” because it appeared he had taken a 13-year break from killing between November 1988 to December 2001. Franklin has now been accused of 16 murders and two attempted murders over the course of a 28-year period.
LAPD detectives believe there may be more victims and Chief Charlie Beck praised the community and the police department for not giving up.
“We may never know how many young women he killed, but we will do our best to find out,” Beck said during a press conference at Bethel A.M.E. church in South Los Angeles. The church sits blocks away from where many of the victims were found.
In December 2010 the LAPD released 180 photos of women that were found in Franklin’s home and asked for the public’s help in identifying them. As of Wednesday, 48 women had yet to be identified.
“They mean something, there may be victims’ faces in these photos,” Beck told the crowd.
Detectives believe one photo is of particular interest.
“Due to where her photo was found, we don’t think it will be a happy outcome for that young lady,” Det. Dennis Kilcoyne said, but he would not elaborate further.
Two of the newly identified victims were killed prior to the first known victim. Sharon Dismuke was found on Jan. 15, 1984 and a second woman who wished to remain anonymous survived an attack in May 1985. Debra Jackson was previously considered the first victim. Her body was found in August 1985.
According to officials, Regina Beatty and Georgia Mae Thomas were killed during the “sleeper” period. Beatty was found on Aug. 8, 1992 and Thomas was found on Dec. 28, 2000. Detectives say Franklin was linked to Thomas’ murder by DNA and ballistic evidence.
The two remaining victims have not been found. Police say they discovered the IDs of Ayellah Marshall and Rolenia Morris in Franklin’s home. Neither women have been seen since 2005 and Kilcoyne said they are presumed dead.
Kilcoyne said detectives are looking at cases from May 1976, when Franklin returned to the Los Angeles area after being discharged from the army, to his arrest in July 2010 – a 34-year period.
When asked if he thought Franklin would assist the authorities in identifying more victims, Kilcoyne said he wasn’t optimistic.
“We’re open to listening and discussions if that door opened for us but I don’t think it will happen,” Kilcoyne said.
Franklin has not been charged in the six new cases but that does not mean he will escape those charges, or others, in the future.
“We will sit with the prosecutors once the investigation concludes. We don’t want to stop the clock on the legal process that has already begun,” Kilcoyne said, acknowledging it may be years before the case is closed as detectives continue to sift through cold case and missing persons files.
Beck added, "Every life is of equal value, there is no hierarchy of murder investigations in the LAPD."
For more information on the Grim Sleeper case or to report a tip, visit the LAPD website.
Reach executive producer Christine Detz here.
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