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LAPD On The Hunt For Serial Killer


An elusive serial killer, linked to 10 murders in South Los Angeles and Inglewood over nearly two decades, resurfaced early last year to kill again. Over years, it’s been unclear that a single man was behind the slayings. Police linked those cases and tied the latest slaying after conducting DNA analysis in May 2007.

“The day those tests came in, we realized we had a serial killer on our hands who has been active for 23 years,” said LAPD Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, who heads a task force of seven detectives charged with solving the killings.

Except for one black man, the killer has targeted young black women. He sexually abused the women, detectives said, and left almost all of their bodies in a corridor along Western Avenue in South Los Angeles, often in alleys. Detectives suspect that most of the women were working as prostitutes at the time they were killed.

The first known attack came in the summer of 1985, when 29-year-old Debra Jackson was shot three times in the chest, at a time when widespread cocaine use, rampant crime and vicious killings were afflicting South L.A. Overwhelmed by the violence, police did not realize they were confronting something larger until three years later, when ballistics tests showed that the same handgun had been used in seven other killings.

The last known murder linked to this serial killer happened on the first day of 2007 when a homeless man found the body of Janecia Peters, 25, on South Western Avenue. She had been shot and covered with a garbage bag.

Investigator checked the killer’s DNA against a federal DNA database of known criminals but found no matches. One promising route was to try comparing the serial killer’s DNA with samples in the criminal database in search of one of his close relatives.

The possibility of a match had raised hopes among LAPD detectives that they would catch a break in a case that has stymied the department for years. However, search of DNA databases for the killer’s family members came up empty. The task force is now left to continue with ongoing efforts to revive leads from old cases, search for missed clues and hope someone with knowledge of the killer comes forward.

We were hoping,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, who is overseeing a task force of detectives working to solve the case. “Police work is very much about exploring every avenue. We went down this one and it didn’t turn out to be fruitful.

-article by Joel Rubin and Richard Winton, rewritten and adapted by administrator-


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