Hamilton County's prosecutor is working with the coroner's office to identify the body of a Jane Doe in an alleged serial killer case.
Hamilton and Franklin counties are indicting 79-year-old Samuel Little for the murder of two former Cincinnati residents. Little is currently in a California state prison where he is serving three life sentences for killing three women. Authorities believe he is responsible for 93 murders in the United States.
He confessed to prosecutors last week that he strangled women that "wouldn't be missed if they went missing."
Little is charged with one count of murder in the death of Annie Lee Stewart on October 11, 1981. Stewart was killed in Hamilton County but her body was found in a wooded area behind a small apartment complex in Grove City in Franklin County. "Because it was raining, he didn’t want to dump the body here (in Cincinnati)," Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien says. "He put it in the trunk, drove up to the Columbus area and exited 71 North."
If Little is convicted in this case, he would serve 15 years to life. Prosecutors were unable to pursue the death penalty because Ohio didn’t have it during the time of Stewart's murder.
Meanwhile, interns from Hamilton County are going through files at the coroner to identify the second body. According to prosecutors, Jane Doe's body was found within a 20-minute drive of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati. Little describes the victim as a slender, dark-skinned black woman with short hair and glasses.
"He strangled them, that was the way he enjoyed his pleasure and he specifically looked for girls with a specific neck type," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters says.
According to prosecutors, Jane Doe lived in Over-the-Rhine with a street entrance to her apartment, which opened to a staircase to the second floor. She lived with a heavyset Hispanic woman.
"Cold case investigations like this are some of the hardest investigations our detectives undertake," Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac says. "But we never give up on attempting to find those that are responsible."
The alleged killer will be video-conferenced next August for his plea deal.
"This is the fifth serial killer I have dealt personally with since I've been prosecutor," Deters says. "They all have proclivities people don’t understand but the reality is they have a compulsion to kill people. They are not insane. They are evil."
O'Brien says Little is the most prolific serial killer they are aware of.