Last Updated Sep 8, 2020 10:52 AM EDT
The FBI has named 80-year-old Samuel Little the most prolific serial killer in American history—and he would have gotten away with the vast majority of his murders, if not for a Texas Ranger.
As Sharyn Alfonsi reportsRanger James Holland had a hunch about Little. Holland suspected that Little might be guilty of far more murders than a recent conviction accused him of, and though Little had never confessed to anyone before, he slowly began opening up to Holland. Over the course of 700 hours of interviews, the tally finally ballooned to its gruesome total: Little confessed to killing 93 people from 1970 to 2005.
Little told Holland he targeted women on the fringes of society—prostitutes and drug addicts whose deaths he believed the police would not work hard to investigate. He remembers each of his victims in startling detail. He can recall a victim's facial features, elements of their conversation, topography of the landscape where he dumped her body—even the last meal she ate.
Law enforcement officials have corroborated dozens of Little's confessions with Jane Doe cases. In just over two years, law enforcement has solved 60 cold cases, all due to the details sifted from the elderly serial killer's memory.
"These were really, truly cases that have been dormant for decades," Alfonsi told 60 Minutes Overtime. "And so now the hope is that there are still some remaining cases. Ranger Holland's hoping somebody might know something that could help him close the rest of the cases."
HOW TO HELP THE FBI
The FBI released several videos of Little talking in detail about murders that police have not been able to corroborate. They hope that, through tips from the public, they will eventually be able to identify the victims.
"We believed if Samuel Little described the victims, where he met the victims, and where he left the victim's body in his own words, it may help a family member, it may help a retired detective, a newspaper reporter, someone who lived in the neighborhood to come forward and provide us with information," Holland said.
The FBI asks anyone with information to call the agency at 1-800-225-5324.
In 1971, Little says he strangled a woman named Linda, a short, thin black woman who "reminded you of a girl, a child really." According to Little, Linda was about 23 years old and 5 feet tall.
Linda lived in a hotel on North Miami Avenue. Little killed her and left her behind the hotel, visible from the hotel windows. Little said the hotel was near a bus station on Biscayne Boulevard.
Outside Miami, 1972
Little says he killed a black transgender woman northwest of Miami in 1972. The victim went by Marian, or some similar name, like Mary Ann or Marianne, and was 5'6 or 5'7. She was 19 years old, lived in the Liberty City section of Miami, and had a boyfriend named Wes. Little met the victim at a bar on 17th Avenue.
Little drove with the victim on US 27 in a Pontiac LeMans. About two miles outside of the Miami city limits, he pulled off the highway into a marshy area of vegetation, where he killed her and left her body.
New Orleans, 1982
Little described a victim he killed in New Orleans as tall—about 5'8 or 5'9—and having "brown, honey-colored skin." He said he met her at a night club, where her younger sister was having a birthday party. After dancing with the victim, they walked outside and got in his Lincoln.
Little drove down Highway 10 and turned off at the Little Woods neighborhood, where he drowned the woman in a canal or bayou. He said he left her body half underwater.
Covington, Kentucky, 1984
In 1984, Little says he met a "hippie" woman at a strip bar in Columbus, Ohio. The woman was white, with short, dishwater blonde hair. She was 25 years old and about 5'7. Little said she asked him to drive her to Miami.
Along the way, the two stopped in Cincinnati before continuing on to Covington, Kentucky, where Little said there was a band playing at a festival. The woman wanted to get out and listen to the music, but instead, Little kept driving. He drove up a winding hill on a rural path, where he killed the woman and left her body partially concealed by vegetation.
Based on this new information, the FBI was able to match Little's story with an unidentified victim found in the area in 1988. Through a skull reconstruction, the FBI created this rendering of how the victim may have looked:
Las Vegas, 1993
Little says he killed a woman in the outskirts of Las Vegas in 1993. According to Little, the "thin, dark-skinned" woman was about 40 years old, between 5'3 and 5'5, and weighed about 110–120 pounds.
He said he met the woman on West Owens Avenue, where she was soliciting sex. The woman's son, who was about 19–20 years old, was nearby, and Little met him and shook his hand.
Little drove with the woman in his yellow Cadillac El Dorado heading south toward Searchlight, Nevada. While still within Vegas city limits, he saw a road leading to a motel, and dumped the woman's body in bushes and brush on the side of the road leading to the motel. He remembers hearing her body roll through the bushes down a hill.
North Little Rock, 1992–1994
Little remembers killing a heavy-set black woman with a gap between her two front teeth. The woman, whose name may have been Ruth, was about 5'7 and weighed about 170 pounds. Little met the woman at a house in North Little Rock where a man was selling drugs.
Little said he and the woman spent a few days together shoplifting. He said he was arrested for shoplifting at a Kroger grocery store, and the FBI says records show the North Little Rock police arrested Little for shoplifting at a Kroger on April 20, 1994. According to Little, the woman continued staying in a car in the Kroger parking lot after he was arrested. The store's manager eventually called the police station and asked them to drop the charges against Little so he could claim his car and get the woman to leave.
After police released Little from custody, he and the woman drove southwest toward Benton, Arkansas. He pulled off a road into a cornfield about 10 miles outside of Little Rock, where he killed the woman and left her body in a pile of cornstalks.
The video above was originally published on October 6, 2019. It was produced and edited by Will Croxton.