New composite sketches have gone up on billboards across Los Angeles as police intensify their hunt for the “Grim Sleeper,” a serial killer suspected of murdering 11 women since 1985.
“It’s just another creative effort to try to shake loose some information because we believe he’s still around and in the southern L.A. area,” said LAPD Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, who has been tracking the case for years.
Kilcoyne said police have been flooded with calls since the new billboards and sketches went up, but they've had no concrete leads. Kilcoyne said regular sightings are expected when new sketches go up, and he hopes one of them could lead them to their man.
For two decades the “Grim Sleeper” – nicknamed for the length of time between his attacks – has been targeting black women, some who worked as prostitutes, police say.
Police have the killer’s DNA and his fingerprint, but haven’t been able to make a match to a suspect. A 911 call made in 1987 reporting one of the murders led police to a van they believe was involved. But the trail went cold.
Officials have struggled to find new leads partially because the changing makeup of the neighborhood where the crimes were committed makes it unlikely that any possible witnesses are still around.
“We could not find anyone,” Kilcoyne said.
Investigators are hoping the sketches, along with a $500,000 reward offered by the Los Angeles City Council, will turn up some leads. The suspect is described as a black male with black or graying black hair and between 45 and 60 years old.
In one of the sketches the man’s face appears worn and aged, and in another he is a bit heavier. The third photo is based on the description given by the only woman known to police to have escaped the “Grim Sleeper’s” grasp when she was attacked in 1988.
“She got a look at the guy and sat down with an artist and gave a composite of a young man,” Kilcoyne said of sole survivor. “We took that and had one of our artists with the police department here give us his version of what he would look like now.”
Kilcoyne hopes the new sketches and the seven billboards scattered plastered southern L.A. as well as two digital ones on the 91 Freeway in Compton may finally bring the killer to justice.
Still, Kilcoyne continues to pull at the threads of the case, which has frustrated him for years. He is notified any time victims similar to the Grim Sleeper’s have been found dead. He tries to cross-reference them to see if they are connected. So far, he’s had no luck.