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2 more deaths may be linked to 'Grim Sleeper'

January 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators are looking into two additional killings that may be connected to the so-called "Grim Sleeper."

Lonnie Franklin Jr., the so-called "Grim Sleeper," is accused of killing 10 women in South Los Angeles over a span of 22 years. His pattern was so habitual, LAPD detectives suspected there may have more victims that didn't hit their radar.

Now there is evidence they may be right, with two cases that may ultimately be linked to Franklin.

"There are strong similarities, the same type of crime, same area, same age range with females, and just has a lot of similarities, but yet we have to keep in mind that we haven't proven anything to connect to Mr. Franklin," said LAPD Detective Dennis Kilcoyne, the lead investigator in the case.

The development comes as investigators process evidence from Franklin's South Los Angeles home and trace his activities over two decades.

A chilling discovery of 180 photos of unknown women was made recently.

Franklin got the name "Grim Sleeper" because of the 14 years he appeared to be inactive. The two new cases are within that dormant period.

"One is in the late '80s, the other one is in the early '90s, the same general area, the same general circumstances," said Kilcoyne.

The two new victims were not among the recently unearthed photos. The two cases were identified from a pile 30-plus unsolved murders.

Kilcoyne said there are several reasons the new cases weren't linked earlier. They happened when there were as many as 1,100 homicides a year in Los Angeles, with a solve rate at 40 percent. And there was more emphasis on emerging DNA technology to catch the killers. It turns out in the recent cases it was ballistics that mattered.

As the investigations proceed, investigators still want to know who all the women are in the photographs. Seventy-two of them have been identified; 62 are unknown. Police say they will accept anonymous tips.

"Anybody that has any information about Mr. Franklin, and/or any of the remaining 62 photographs, we certainly want to hear from them," said Kilcoyne.

The LAPD assures anyone who wants to remain anonymous that their privacy would be protected.