Lonnie Franklin Jr., 59 years old former car mechanic, who is already charged with murder in the slayings of 10 women whose bodies were found on the streets of South Los Angeles over two decades, using DNA evidence, ballistics and a 911 voice recording is now linked to the killings of six more victims.
The new cases raise the tally of potential victims to 16. Detectives are still look for additional victims, taking the unusual step of releasing photographs of dozens of women found at Franklin’s home, hoping the public could help determine if they too were victims, said the sources, who spoke of the condition of annoymity becuse the case was ongoing. “Twenty-eight years is the span of Franklin’s criminal endeavor,” said LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck, at a press conference Wednesday night at the Bethel AME Church in South Los Angeles. “We may never know how many young women Lonnie Franklin killed.”
The new victims, who range in age from 22 to 43, were allegedly tied to Franklin through physical evidence, said a police source with knowledge of the investigation, who requested anonymity because the additional cases have not been made public. In two of those cases, ballistic evidence showed that the bullets used to kill the women were fired from a gun Franklin is accused of using in other killings, while DNA and ballistic tests connected him to a third woman, the source said. Los Angeles detectives discovered the additional slayings after combing through hundreds of unsolved homicide cases and missing-person reports dating back to May of 1976. Franklin’s link to the other three cases is more circumstantial. Police concluded Franklin killed one woman based on a 911 call made at the time of the slaying to report the location of the body.
At the press conference, police identified two of the new victims as Sharon Dismuke and Georgia Mae Thomas. Dismuke was discovered shot in the chest in the restroom of an abandoned gas station in January of 1984. Thomas, who was 43, was found on a sidewalk in the 1800 block of 57th Street, just a block away from where Franklin’s mother-in-law owned a house, in December of 2000. She had been shot twice in the upper torso with a small-caliber pistol. The third victim, Regina Theresa Beaty, was found dead in an alley in August of 1992. Like the other victims, she was shot in the upper torso with a small-caliber pistol. The victim identified last April was Inez Warren. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies discovered her body in an alleyway off Western Avenue on August 15, 1988. She had been shot once in the chest. An anonymous person called in to report her murder. Police said they have since matched the caller’s voice to Franklin.
Please, take a look at the 180 new photos released by LAPD and if you think you can help, please contact the police immediately.