Possible Hazing Incident May Have Crossed Criminal Lines
Notes from the February 24, 2009 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

Serial Murder Case Update Grim Sleeper Responsible for 12 Victims between 1985 and 2007

Los Angeles:  Robbery-Homicide Detectives are asking the public’s help in identifying a serial murder and attempt murder suspect who has been nick named “Grim Sleeper Serial Killer”.

In one of the murders which occurred on Saturda
y, January 10, 1987, at 12:19 a.m., an anonymous male caller notified LAPD Communication Division that 30 minutes prior to his call he witnessed a male suspect removing a body from a blue and white van, California license plate number of “1PZP746”, and dumping it in the alley to the rear of 1346 East 56th Street.  The body, later identified as Barbara Ware, was then covered with trash and a gas tank placed on top.

click hear for audio

The caller had described the Barbara Ware crime scene exactly how responding uniformed officers and detectives documented the scene.  

Detectives located the van approximately 4.5 miles from the body, at 6075 South Normandie Avenue.  The location and registered owner of the van was the “Cosmopolitan Church”, which is no longer in service.  The hood of the van was still warm to the touch and people inside the church said that they had used the van earlier in the evening.  Several church members were interviewed and the van was processed for evidence for some connection to the crime and/or Barbara Ware.  No evidence was ever determined.

The City of Los Angeles continues to offering a reward for up to $500,000 for information leading to the identity, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for the murder and attempt murder of Los Angeles area victims.  The crimes occurred primarily in South Los Angeles.  There was also one crime in unincorporated Los Angeles County and one in the City of Inglewood.  The murders began in 1985 and continued through 2007.

Anyone with information concerning these crimes of violence is asked to call Robbery-Homicide Detective Dennis Kilcoyne at 213-486-6830, during regular business hours.  During off-hours calls may be directed to our 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “CRIMES” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web Tips.  When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Comments

The LAPD made a very bad decision by releasing the voice of this caller to the public, if they believe he is merely a witness, one who did the right thing by reporting a crime to the police, and not the perpetrator of the crime.

I always (wrongly now, I see) assumed that phone calls made to the LAPD weren't saved, especially when made from a pay phone. As a resident of a bad part of LA, I have called in tips in the past - never from my home phone or mobile, but always from a pay phone. Now that I know my voice could be saved for 22 years and then broadcast all over the media with pleas to identify me as the anonymous witness, I will never ever ever be a helpful phone witness to the LAPD again.

This is as troublesome as finding out that the rape id kits are stacked up going back years, sometimes with evidence not even being tested until long after the statute of limitations has expired for criminal prosecution. If I was a victim of a violent crime, I would seriously consider not even reporting it, knowing how the LAPD treats both crime victims and Good Samaritan witnesses.

THE KILLER TOOK 14 YRS OFF BECAUSE HE WAS DOING TIME. CHECK FOR CONVICTS PAROLED IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS. HE SHOULD BE A AFRICAN
AMERICAN MALE IN HIS LATE 40'S TO
MID 50'S. HE PROBABLY SERVED TIME FOR RAPE. CROSS REF YOUR LEADS WITH THAT PAROLED LIST AND YOU WILL CATCH HIM.

Edwina...
Attitudes like that are exactly why the area you live in is a bad area. If residents would start taking the lead instead of ignoring crime, your area might get better. Don't blame it on the police because you don't have the morals to stand up for whats right.

Based on voice inflection and stress analyzation, the person on the tape is NOT the killer. He is a local resident. He has a voice consistent with that of an African American with a distinct Los Angeles accent, age 38-42, possible smoker. Given that this is from 1987 when LAPD and the black community were at odds, he likely waited 30 minutes to call because he was simply afraid. I agree, bad move by LAPD to release tape. This is not someone reporting a fender bender, this is a major murder case and any veiled hint of the caller being a suspect can instigate a witch hunt, putting the caller at risk. The killer is likely to travel by bus and rail. LAPD should check simple harassment and disorderly persons offenses against females taking place on the public transit system.

Oliver,

This mope that made the phone call wasn't scared, in fact, he was quite the opposite.

It probably took him 30 minutes to find a working payphone. Remember, this call was made "pre-cellie".

WOW! Dan Davis must be a real Detective to come up with a statement like he did. Ha-Ha at least you have a good imagionation. Maybe you should apply for the department. Just don't give them your theory on serial killers.

Hi,

I'm Larry Harnisch and I run the Daily Mirror blog at the L.A. Times. I've enhanced the audio and made a transcription that I'll be posting tomorrow at 6 a.m.

Question: Did the original detectives photograph the front of the van? I'm curious as to whether it had a front plate. The caller seems to have had excellent vision to be able to make out the make, color and license plate of the vehicle in that alley about midnight.

And whoever parked the van hopped the concrete bumper and ran it into the wall. Take a look.

Edwina, don't use 911 for your tips and you'll be fine.

Dan, how did you come up with that? What does a Los Angeles accent sound like? Have you ever heard recordings of serial killers? They don't register stress because they have different moral codes that don't make them feel guilty (stress). I do agree that he could have been in prison or he could have gone out of state/area. Maybe other jurisdictions have similar crimes during his hiatus.

Larry, good point on the ability to see the license plate. Also, was the pay phone in a position so the caller could have even seen the van?

The WPD waited almost two years before they released the recording of BTK calling in a homicide. Once the recording was played BTK disappeared for 25 years. When he was captured they learned his wife and his barber both recognized his voice, but didn't make the connection. Of course they should release the voice of the caller. Odds are at least 50/50 it's the voice of the killer. The fact that he disappeared for years may only mean something scared him into thinking he might have made a mistake. That's what happened with BTK, and maybe this killer too. The fact that he's killing what he seems to think are bad girls is a BIG clue. They need to take this tape to every church and ask that it be played at the Sunday service. No warning ahead of the recording. Ask people to bow their head and listen for a moment. That way there's not the mental block beforehand like BTK's wife and barber had.

Also, the fact that no DNA even possible matching a relative might suggest not only is the killer's family law abiding, but the killer might seem that way too.

How about setting up a sting operation where several women LAPD are puposely on the Western Ave. at night? Any one soliciting them should be taken in for that. Hopefully the Grim Sleeper is caught that way...

I would like to know what date the church became no longer in service, and if the preacher and congregation have moved to a new location?

Love the comment section. Hate the fact that no one comes in and addresses or questions and concerns.

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