HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Notorious serial killer Samuel Little has confessed to killing another victim in South Mississippi. Now, authorities are asking for help from anyone who recognizes the sketch of the woman Little drew or may remember a missing woman who matched her description.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Department said they received this sketch from Little in October 2019 and have been working since then to try and figure out who the woman is.
Little - who the FBI says is one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history - admitted in 2018 to killing over 90 women throughout the country. He is currently in California State Prison serving three life sentences.
Of the dozens of women Little has said he killed, it is believed he killed at least seven women in South Mississippi between the 1970s and early 1990s. Five of those women were picked up in the Gulfport area, according to Little. However, two of the victims remain unknown to authorities.
The latest victim was killed sometime before 1992, Little told investigators a few months ago. However, few details are known about the victim.
Authorities say Little has told them the victim was an African American woman in her early to mid-20s. Little told authorities he took her at or near a bar in the North Gulfport area sometime before December 1992.
Little disposed of her body someplace outdoors in a grassy area of Gulfport, according to what he told investigators. However, authorities say they have not yet been able to locate the remains of a victim or identify a missing woman that matches that description.
Harrison County Sheriff Department’s cold case division is now tracking down leads and asking the public for help to try and figure out who the woman is. Investigators say that based on Little’s history, they do not doubt he is telling the truth.
“We are working under the assumption that the other two confessions, just like the first three we identified, are true and he’s relatively accurate in his confessions," said Kristi Johnson, a crime scene investigator with Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. "I recognized that first case immediately because he remembered enough details about it and he is remembering specific things and they are turning out to be accurate. So we’re working under the assumption that this girl in this drawing does resemble the victim and the details he remembers are accurate.”
According to Johnson, investigators haven’t been able to determine if the latest victim Little claims to have killed is even dead.
“He could’ve murdered her, dumped her and she hasn’t been found, or maybe she has been found, or maybe he thought she was dead but she survived his attack and he just doesn’t know,” she said.
Authorities are searching cold cases for missing women, homicides and reported attacks. There is also the possibility that the crime was not done in Harrison County.
Cold case investigators are working with law enforcement agencies across the Coast to try and figure out who the woman might be. They are also canvassing neighborhoods, specifically in North Gulfport.
“We’re talking to members of the community and made a flyer with the drawing and are putting it mostly in the North Gulfport area," said Johnson. "He believes that’s where he picked her up from. We’re hoping someone from that community might recognize her or remember a case where a girl went missing and help us identify her.”
“We want everyone to review the information on the flyer, to share it with their friends, family, community, talk about it when they’re out at church or different events, especially with the holidays coming up,” said Johnson. “Think back on your family, your friends. If you know of a case you might recall, even if you don’t remember specifics, we’re asking you to call the sheriff’s office or email us. Just reach out to us.”
At this time, investigators are still trying to narrow down the timeline that a woman may have been killed in Harrison County.
In 2018, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department charged Little with the murders of Alice Taylor and Tracy Johnson, two women who were killed in December 1992. He said he picked them both up on the same day but at different times, murdering each of them separately and then disposing of their bodies.
Authorities say Alice Taylor’s body was found on Dec. 11, 1992, under a pile of tires on the side of the road between Mississippi Avenue and Alabama Avenue. An autopsy showed that she had been strangled. At the time, police were also investigating the disappearance of Tracy Johnson, a close friend of Alice’s who was seen with her on the day before her body was discovered.
Less than three weeks later, Tracy’s body was found on a dirt road off Highway 49 in Saucier. She had been strangled, as well. At the time, investigators believed that the two friends were killed by the same person, possibly at the same time. But all of their leads dried up and the case eventually went cold until Little’s confession.
The latest victim, Little claims, was killed sometime before the two friends. However, Little has not narrowed down a time period for investigators.
“We know it was sometime in the past. [Little] states specifically that he killed this victim before he killed [Alice Taylor and Tracy Johnson],” said Johnson. “We know that was at the beginning of December in 1992. So this victim was attacked and killed prior to that. We are treating it as a cold case. It could’ve been a case we worked in the 70s or 80s. We just don’t know.”
Regardless of the limited amount of information they have, authorities say they have every reason to believe that Little did in fact attack the mystery woman somewhere in South Mississippi.
“It is scary. He does seem very legitimate. I believe the numbers are 93 [murders] he’s confessed to across the country. Somewhere in the 60s have been confirmed,” said Johnson. “Agencies across country are doing the same thing we’re doing, trying to find cases that match these confessions and we’re finding them.”
Little is also a suspect in the death of Melinda LePree, whose body was found in a Gautier cemetery in 1982. He has been charged in that case and is currently waiting for it to before a grand jury so authorities can determine how they want to move forward.
Little also confessed last year to killing a woman in Pascagoula sometime during the 70s. Skeletal remains investigators believe are the woman Little is talking about were found in 1977. The remains have never been identified and neither has the woman.
Little says she was very pretty and weighed around 130 pounds. He also told police that she was from Jackson but was in the area working as a pipefitter at Ingalls Shipyard. A forensic anthropologist believes the victim was better 35 and 45 years old.
Authorities say that Little was in South Mississippi multiple times throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. However, it was hard to pinpoint exactly what he was doing at those times due to his transient lifestyle.
“We have him incarcerated three separate times [in Harrison County] for petty crimes, shoplifting DUI’s, things like that,” said Johnson. “Some of the ways he supported himself was shoplifting and then selling the goods, supporting himself on petty crimes like that. He was extremely transient which is likely one of the reasons he was able to get away with it for so long.”
Little is currently serving three life sentences without the possibility of parole for murders he committed in Los Angeles. The FBI has released 16 drawings by Little based on his memories of his victims.
Now, with this latest sketch and another possible victim, authorities are asking for people to dig deep into their memories and come forward with any information they might have, even information that may not seem significant.
If you have any information on who the woman in the sketch might be or any information regarding Samuel Little, please contact the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at 228-896-0678.