About 20 women identified in "Grim Sleeper" photos

19:21, December 21, 2010      

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Police said Monday that they have identified about 20 women depicted in 180 photos seized from the home of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer in Los Angeles.

Most of the identified women are alive and well, a few have died of natural causes and a few have been determined to be missing, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said.

"We are grateful for the public's continued response to the release of the images," the LAPD said in a statement. "It is our fervent hope that with this response, coupled with the tireless efforts of our detectives, the women depicted in these images will be positively identified."

Police found the photographs at the home of Lonnie David Franklin Jr. after he was arrested on July 8 last year on suspicion of killing at least 10 young women and one man in South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007.

Police posted online 180 photos on Friday in hopes of identifying the people in them and ensuring they were not possible victims of the "Grim Sleeper."

Franklin remains jailed without bail. He is charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

DNA and ballistics evidence have connected Franklin with the killings of the victims, police said.

The killer was billed as "Grim Sleeper" because he took a 14-year hiatus in his crimes after 1988. The suspect began to kill again in 2002. He last struck on Jan. 1, 2007.

The photos were 20 to 30 years old, and those depicted -- if still alive -- would have aged accordingly, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said earlier.

The LAPD's website has experienced "a tremendous amount of activity" since the photos were posted and detectives have received dozens of telephone calls, police said.

But the LAPD has also met with criticism for releasing the photos.

A group called the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders issued a statement on Monday, calling the release of the photos "deeply disturbing and a shock."

The coalition contended that the release of the photos "can only risk smearing the women in the eyes of their children, partners, other family members, co-workers and neighbors."

"We have asked the LAPD, elected officials and members of the media repeatedly to stop referring to the victims of the Grim Sleeper as prostitutes and drug addicts," the coalition said.

"We protest the label because it is used to segregate the victims from other women, devalue their lives and reduce them to a stereotype. It paints a false picture of who the women were and it is upsetting to their loved ones and to our communities."

Source: Xinhua
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