8th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Bernard C. Parks will lead Clear Channel and members of the Los Angeles Police Department on Monday morning (November 3) in unveiling a billboard on the corner of Western Avenue and 98th Street that will display pictures of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer’s 12 victims and the $500,000 reward being offered for information leading to his conviction.
Because of the urgency of this case, Clear Channel donated the billboard.
After L.A. Weekly broke the story of the “Grim Sleeper”, Parks offered the $500,000 reward in September in hopes that it would expedite the capture of the man who has murdered 11 Los Angeles-area people, all African-Americans, in the span between 1985 and 2007. There is only one known survivor of the “Grim Sleeper’s” attacks.
If an individual provides information that solves all of the “Grim Sleeper” crimes, the most that person can collect is $200,000. If multiple people provide information, up to $500,000 is available.
As Chief of the LAPD in 2001, Parks ordered the department to begin delving into a backlog of unsolved cases from the 1990s, ’80s and earlier, testing bits of hair and skin saved from cold crimes. His action led the LAPD to find matches between the latest killings of the “Grim Sleeper” in 2002 and 2003 and old human traces left at eight Western Avenue shootings in the ’80s.
Anyone who has information regarding these crimes should contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-LAWFUL.
The Grim Sleeper’s Victims
• On August 10, 1985, Debra Jackson, 29, a cocktail waitress, left a friend’s home in Lynwood to take a bus back to her apartment in South-Central. Days later, her decomposing body was found in an alley near West Gage Avenue. She had been shot in the chest three times with a small caliber pistol.
• On August 12, 1986, Henrietta Wright, 35, was found dead in an alley south of 2514 West Vernon Avenue. Her mouth had been gagged with a cloth. She had been shot twice in the chest.
• Two days later, Thomas Steele, 36, was discovered dead in the middle of the intersection of 71st Street and Halldale Avenue, with a single gunshot wound in his head. The San Diego native had come up for the day to visit his sister.
• On January 10, 1987, Barbara Ware, 23, was found dead in an alley at 1356 East 56th Street, shot once in the chest. According to the autopsy report, neighbors saw a man remove Ware’s body from a vehicle and hide it in a heap of trash.
• On April 15, 1987, Bernita Sparks was shot in the chest, strangled and beaten. Originally listed as Jane Doe No. 25, she had told her mother that she was going to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes. She was found in a trash bin the next morning, covered with garbage, on the 9400 block of South Western Avenue.
• On October 31, 1987, Mary Lowe, 26, told her mother, Betty, she was going to a Halloween party. “I said she was crazy to go out in the rain like that,” recalls Betty. “She kept on walking.” Lowe was found the next morning, in an alley near bushes behind the 8900 block of Western Avenue. According to Betty Lowe, a neighbor saw Mary Lowe get in a car with a young black man driving a rust or orange Ford Pinto.
• On January 30, 1988, Lachrica Jefferson, 22, died from two gunshot wounds to the chest. She was found in an alley north of 2049 West 102nd Place in Lennox by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies. A napkin placed over her face had the word “AIDS” written on it.
• On September 11, 1988, Alicia “Monique” Alexander, 18, asked her father if he wanted anything from a liquor store on 68th Street and Normandie Avenue, then she vanished. Her father, Porter Alexander, remembers, “I woke up and asked my wife where she was. She said she hadn’t come back. … I never saw her again.” Alexander was found dead a few days later, in an alley around 43rd Place and Western Avenue. She had been shot once in the chest and sexually assaulted.
• Just before a 13-year gap in these related cases, in November of 1988, a young black man driving an orange Ford Pinto picked up a young black woman in South Los Angeles, shot her in the chest and raped her. She persuaded her attacker to allow her to escape, and she is the only known eyewitness survivor of the Grim Sleeper. She is not being named by L.A. Weekly.
• On December 21, 2001, Princess Berthomieux, 14, vanished, and was found March 19, 2002, strangled and beaten in an alley behind 8121 South Van Ness Boulevard in Inglewood.
• On July 11, 2003, Valerie McCorvey, 35, was found dead by a crossing guard in an alley west of Denker Avenue between 108th and 109th streets. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted. Police initially suspected her boyfriend, but he was ruled out when DNA found on her body matched DNA found on Berthomieux, killed in 2002, and Mary Lowe, killed in 1987.
• On January 1, 2007, Janecia Peters, 25, was found dead by a homeless man near 9500 Western Avenue. She’d been shot in the back and placed in a garbage bag. Her death barely registered with the local press, which even misreported it, calling it a stabbing.