Times coverage: At least 20 women identified in pictures found at accused killer's home
The Los Angeles Police Department last week released 160 images of women found in a trailer belonging to Lonnie Franklin Jr., the man accused of being the South L.A. serial killer commonly known as the "Grim Sleeper."
The photos and video images were apparently collected by Franklin over the years, and detectives said they needed to know who these women were as they try to determine whether Franklin was responsible for more than the 10 homicides for which he was charged earlier this year.
Detectives said they were concerned about how those images should be presented to the public given that the women depicted were almost all partly or completely nude and striking sexually graphic poses.
"We are just trying to do what is right and decent," said LAPD Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, who heads the task force that arrested Franklin. "We are very cognizant of not causing embarrassment or anguish to the people depicted in the photographs."
Investigators reviewed images in missing-person databases and coroner records looking for matches. Unable to find their subjects, police decided to go public with the images.
Since the release of the photos, detectives have identified at least 20 of the women. Relatives and friends of 15 women have contacted LAPD robbery-homicide detectives to let them know they are alive and well, which investigators said was their primary goal in releasing the images in the first place.
In addition, detectives say they have received 75 tips that could prove important to the Franklin case.
Reporter Andrew Blankstein has more on the story: Grim Sleeper photos: 20 women tentatively identified by LAPD
Photo: Photographs of about 160 women were seized from the home of Lonnie David Franklin Jr. On Dec. 17, the images were posted online by the LAPD to determine whether any of them may have been victims. The photographs were found at Franklin's home after he was arrested July 8 on suspicion of killing at least 10 young women and one man in South Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007. Credit: Ho / AFP/Getty Images