Diana Ware's daughter Barbara never came home the night of Jan. 10, 1987. Instead, her body was left in a South Los Angeles alley.
It took 23 years and 10 more victims before the Los Angeles Police Dept. could identify and arrest a suspect.
Wednesday, the L.A. City Council praised the decades of work that put Lonnie Franklin Jr. behind bars. Franklin was arrested as the "Grim Sleeper" serial-killer suspect.
"These detectives have made more proud of anything I've done in the city of L.A.," said L.A. City Councilman and former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks.
Parks was praised Wednesday for starting the cold-case unit that would persist in the search for clues, even before there were such tools as electronic fingerprinting and DNA analysis, which ultimately led to Franklin's arrest.
"I got that call two weeks ago from Dennis Kilcoyne, and he says, 'We got him,' and I says, 'Oh, thank God,'" said Diana Ware.
Ware says she's learned a lot about homicide investigations, like how some leads lead to nothing.
A 911 phone call made the night of her daughter's death was never traced to a caller, despite many appeals through the media.
Ware was also shocked as she handed out fliers where bodies were turning up in South Los Angeles. Despite billboards, a half-million dollar reward and so much news coverage, many people were clueless that a killer was lurking.
"It was very surprising that people in the neighborhood did not know about this," said Ware. "We went door to door, knocking on doors and businesses, and people did not know."
Now she has a new message to share: "If you do something, and you keep doing it long enough, you're going to get caught. Even if you don't do it long, you're going to get caught. So just don't even think about doing it in the first place."