Please, please,please, will those who have the power to do so take the steps to identify this evil person? Stop trying to get elected by being politically correct, and do it by having the guts to make the hard decisions.
By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Steinhoff also found that Hausmann had been issued a parking ticket in Inglewood around the time of Berthomieux’s death. So in June 2006, a judge issued a search warrant to obtain Hausmann’s DNA. From his lockup in Fresno County Jail, he denied his involvement to the Weekly. DNA tests proved he was telling the truth.
Short-lived media coverage at the time explained that Los Angeles had a serial killer afoot, one who had murdered 10 people. But, last year, he killed again — and Shepard and Kilcoyne don’t believe his gruesome work is done. “Somehow, he has slipped through the cracks,” Shepard says. “I have to think the worst, that he is going to continue. It has been going on for 23 years — at least.”
What stands out most starkly today is how few resources the LAPD’s top man, Bratton, and his City Hall boss, Villaraigosa, have applied to catching the most persistent serial killer in California history. It is shocking to the victims’ families, and to the few who know about it in the community, that an active serial killer continues to operate without political outcry.
“It really hurts my heart,” says Minister Pat Jones. “Come on, 23 years? That’s a lifetime. We need to stop this person.”
Laverne Peters bitterly recalls how, “[The police] went all the way to Aruba,” for the widely covered Natalee Holloway murder investigation. Picking at a salad at a Denny’s in Fontana, the fed-up mother of victim Janecia Peters adds, “You don’t just get into your car and drive to Aruba. ... I am really starting to have a problem with it. ... Why wouldn’t you offer rewards? I guess no council member is really interested. I am just a mother who wishes they would say something about my daughter, like they say about every other kid.”
A little more than a year ago, Bratton finally formed the secret 800 Task Force. Kilcoyne says it was initially kept under wraps because “my instructions from the prior captain” of the Robbery-Homicide Unit, which oversees it, were, “We aren’t talking to the media, and that is that.”
At that time, detectives still needed to “get up to speed on the case,” he says. “A year ago, we weren’t sure if there was going to be a flurry of murders again.” Although not his decision to make, Kilcoyne, pressed by the Weekly as to why the LAPD brass and City Hall have not warned the public, says, “I don’t think it will harm us to acknowledge this. I don’t think we are hiding a secret that there is a ‘Night Stalker’ out there.”
Quietly, during the past year, the 800 Task Force has chased leads as far as Florida and Texas, tailed suspects for weeks who turned out to be dead-ends, and abruptly materialized at autopsies and crime scenes involving at least a dozen newly dumped bodies. Last fall, they arrested a guy who preyed on prostitutes; his DNA wasn’t right. They are combing through evidence gathered from 30 body dumps dating to the ’80s, with a crime analyst inputting each clue into a giant “automated filing cabinet.”
But the detectives’ palpable sense of urgency — their fear that he is killing even now — doesn’t seem to extend to Bratton. Last May, the 800 Task Force’s six detectives were required to move, giving up their space to a cold-case sexual-assault unit. That ate up several days, as the 800 Task Force detectives transported their fat murder books, files and documents to a cramped space five floors below. Inglewood detective Loyd Waters says that unwelcome disruption “threw them off.”
Lately, Kilcoyne says Bratton has grown concerned about the secrecy of the task force, concluding that LAPD has an “obligation to make the public aware.” But if that’s true, Chief Bratton has yet to do anything about it. Bratton has never mentioned the serial killer in a press release.
Kilcoyne says, “I have briefed Bratton four or five times. He is fully aware of what we are going through. He thinks we have our work cut out for us. Every time he sees us he says, ‘Good luck.’”
A Bratton press aide on August 26 told the Weekly the chief was “too busy” to discuss the Grim Sleeper murders, and offered to provide comment from lower LAPD brass. On the same day, although Bratton could not set aside time to discuss the 11 murders in South Los Angeles, he got big media play at a Parker Center press conference — touting the arrest of the Westside’s “Silverware Bandit,” a man who had been stealing cutlery and china.
Meanwhile, the miffed Bernie Parks Jr., speaking to the Weekly from the Denver convention, said with obvious irritation: “We are trying to get answers from them, and hopefully get the right answer soon.”
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