GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - In order to go forward, sometimes you’ve got to backward. This could mean way back in time, technology, and very deep in the archives.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Kristi Johnson is scouring files on every death in Harrison County from 1976 to 1981 to identify the last victim, who confessed serial killer Samuel Little claimed to have murdered in Gulfport.
“I’m just determined to find out who she is," Johnson said. “I want to put a name to that sketch that he drew.”
She is following the criteria given by Little himself.
“It’s almost like a let-down every time you find one that might be it, and then it’s not.”
This is the first time that the search to identify any of the victims has not been performed digitally.
“It takes a lot of time,” Johnson said. “It takes a lot of patience to go through hundreds and hundreds of files by hand just reading every single one of them.”
The unidentified victim is the last that Little claimed he killed in Gulfport. Three others have been identified. The other victim was apparently taken to Jackson County, where Pascagoula Police are now investigating that case.
“This is a big deal, that Samuel Little’s confessions that he killed 93 women,” she said. “He is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. History. So, finding these cases is important so that these confessions can be validated.”
Even if this search doesn’t yield any clues, the process has helped Johnson with some other cold cases.
Johnson said she won’t give up this case even if it means begging the coroner to grab another set of boxes.
“You know, I have 14 years left until I can retire,” she said. "I’m going to spend those 14 years looking for her.”
If you have any information on this case or any other cold case in Harrison County, contact the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office or go to the cold case tab on it’s website: Harrisoncountysheriff.com.