Map: Grim Sleeper killings, 1985-2007
The series of killings began in South Los Angeles in the summer of 1985 and continued with some frequency until 1988, when a female survivor was raped and shot. She lived to describe her attacker as black, in his 20s, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, about 160 pounds, soft-spoken and articulate, with neatly trimmed hair and a pockmarked face.
For more than 13 years, the killer had no known slayings until the body of a teenage girl was discovered in Inglewood in March 2002, a lull in attacks that led to his description as "The Grim Sleeper." Eventually, DNA and ballistics evidence connected the killings of 10 women and one man from 1985 to 2007, police said.
On July 7, 2010, Los Angeles police arrested Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a 57-year old black man, at his home in South Los Angeles, a location they described as being "right in the heart of it all." Authorities said the landmark use of familial DNA led them to Franklin.
Prosecutors said they have charged Franklin with 10 counts of murder, noting that he is eligible for the death penalty. He has not been charged in the 1986 shooting death of Thomas Steele, a 36-year old black man, although authorities believe Steele's killing is connected to the other cases.
In December 2010, the LAPD released 180 photos found in Franklin's possession in an effort to identify the women pictured.
Since the early 1980s, at least five serial killers, and possibly more, were active in the South Los Angeles area. Click here to see a map of where authorities found the bodies of 53 victims of serial killers between 1984 and 2007.
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