LOS ANGELES, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Using a new technology to match DNA samples, the Los Angeles police have finally succeeded in catching the man they believe is the serial killer who slain at least 11 people in the Los Angeles area for 22 years.
Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 57, was taken into custody in his South Los Angeles home on Wednesday morning. He is believed to be responsible for the killing of 10 women and one man from 1985 to 2007. Billed as "Grim Sleeper," the suspect was given the moniker because he took a 14-year hiatus in his crimes after 1988.
The suspect, a former city trash collector who at one time worked as a garage attendant at an LAPD station, was linked to the crimes using a relatively new and controversial forensic technique known as "Familial" DNA searching, police told local TV channel KTLA 5.
"Familial" searching allows investigators to look for close DNA matches in relatives when the suspect's DNA profile is not in the state database. A DNA sample from his son was found to bear a close resemblance to DNA found on the victims. Detectives then used a piece of discarded pizza with Franklin's DNA to make the link, according to the report.
The victims, mostly female, were from the city of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of L.A. County. They were all black and most were apparent prostitutes or drug addicts who were sexually assaulted before being fatally shot. The "Grim Sleeper" then dumped their bodies in alleys and trash bins.
A 12th victim escaped after being shot and raped. A survivor in 1988 described her attacker as black, in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall (about 175 cm), about 160 pounds (73 kg), soft-spoken and articulate, with neatly trimmed hair and a pockmarked face, The Los Angeles Times reported.
In February, the LAPD released a 911 tape of a call made more than 20 years ago by a witness who reported having seen the killer dispose of a woman's body in South Los Angeles. Authorities in May had put up six billboards in South L.A. and two digital billboards on the 91 Freeway in Compton in their renewed efforts to catch the suspect.
The Los Angeles City Council had also offered a 500,000-dollar reward leading to the capture and conviction of the suspect.