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FBI trying to tie serial killer to woman’s 1993 death in Las Vegas

Updated November 29, 2018 - 11:00 pm

Texas inmate Samuel Little has confessed to killing 90 people, and the FBI is working to determine whether one of them was a 40-year-old woman killed decades ago in Las Vegas.

The possible Las Vegas victim has been described by the FBI only as a “black female, age 40, killed in 1993.” The confession has not been definitively corroborated by law enforcement, according to an FBI statement released Tuesday.

In the same statement, FBI crime analysts characterized 78-year-old Little, who is in custody in a Texas prison, as “among the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history.”

Metropolitan Police Department homicide detectives are looking into the man’s claims and are working to trace them back to a cold case, according to spokeswoman Laura Meltzer.

“We’re obviously aware of the claims; however we have not been able to locate any cases,” she said.

A Las Vegas FBI spokeswoman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday that Metro will take the lead in the investigation. Police departments across the country are doing the same in their jurisdictions.

“Police departments are the primary investigative agencies for the individual cases and are leading the investigative efforts to confirm the information provided by Little,” according to a statement from the FBI’s Las Vegas office. “The FBI’s (behavioral analysis unit) continues to analyze, compare and share information derived from the continuing interview process with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify matching cases.”

The FBI has said it is working with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Texas Rangers and dozens of state and local agencies to corroborate all 90 of Little’s confessions, which he offered while trying to obtain a prison transfer earlier this year.

The killings are believed to have happened in states from California to Florida between 1970 and 2005, according to the FBI.

“In exchange for a move, Little was willing to talk,” the FBI said.

Little was convicted in 2014 of three counts of murder and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

He was linked to three unsolved homicides between 1987 and 1989 after Los Angeles Police Department detectives obtained his DNA sample while he was in custody on a narcotics charge, according to the FBI.

In all three cases, the FBI has said, the women had been beaten and strangled before their bodies were dumped.

The FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program was enlisted to conduct a full background check on Little. What the FBI found was an “alarming pattern” and links to many more killings, including a cold case homicide in Odessa, Texas, the FBI said.

“We sent that lead out to the Texas Rangers, who were eager to follow up on the long-cold case,” said ViCAP Crime Analyst Christina Palazzolo, who is working with ViCAP Liaison Angela Williamson.

The interview in which Little confessed to the 90 killings happened in May, the FBI said. Palazzolo and Williamson accompanied Texas Ranger James Holland to California for the interview.

Palazzolo and Williamson since have been working to match evidence to the confessions, and as of Thursday, the team had confirmed 36 killings.

If law enforcement or the public believes they have information connected to Little, the ViCAP tip line can be reached by phone at 800-634-4097 or at vicap@fbi.gov.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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