LAPD releasing photos in 'Grim Sleeper' killer case

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Suspected killer Lonnie David Franklin Jr., dubbed the 'Grim Sleeper' for a 13-year break between his strings of 11 murders, is pictured during his arraignment in Los Angeles Criminal Courts on July 8, 2010.

Bracing for a flood of tips from the public, detectives released dozens of photographs of unidentified women that were found at the home of the suspected "Grim Sleeper" serial killer.

Detectives hope members of the public will recognize some of the roughly 160 subjects in the photos and let authorities know of their whereabouts.

"Now that we know who he is and what type of activity he is involved in with women, we are very concerned for everyone in these photographs," Detective Dennis Kilcoyne said. "We don't know what we are going to learn today."

Detectives found the photos, along with hundreds of hours of home video, when they searched Lonnie Franklin Jr.'s South Los Angeles home in July. The 180 or so photos depict about 160 women, since some women are shown in more than one photo.

Franklin has pleaded not guilty to the murders of 10 women from 1985 to 1988 and from 2002 to 2007. The apparent 14-year pause in the alleged crimes led to the nickname "Grim Sleeper," though detectives suspect Franklin could be involved in many other deaths.

However, authorities have said they don't know whether there may be other victims.

The women in the photos appear to be a wide range of ages, Kilcoyne said.

In the photos, some of which are sexually explicit, the women appear to be willing participants, he said. Only closely cropped versions of the photos are being released.

"It baffles me how he is so successful at getting women to do what he asks them to do," Kilcoyne said. "It's not like we have pictures of him holding a knife to someone's neck."

Kilcoyne said investigators found photographs throughout Franklin's house, including many in his garage and cars.

"Some looked like they were purposely put in areas so the family didn't find them," Kilcoyne said. "Some were fallen behind items - cabinets and walls - others had been purposely secreted away."

All of Franklin's alleged victims were killed within a few miles of his home, where neighbors knew him as a talented backyard mechanic.

Police also have said they suspect Franklin of killing a man who may have discovered he was a killer. In addition, they are reviewing more than 30 other cold-case files to see if they can tie Franklin to other slayings.

Franklin was taken into custody last summer after his son was arrested and swabbed for DNA. Using a technique known as a familial DNA search, the sample came back as similar to evidence in the serial killings, ultimately leading police to Franklin.

In a different case, Huntington Beach detectives in March were inundated with hundreds of phone calls and e-mails after they released more than 100 photos discovered in serial killer Rodney Alcala's storage locker after his 1979 arrest.

The photos were released after Alcala was convicted of the murders of four women and a 12-year-old girl. He later was sentenced to death.

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