Newsweek's Grim Sleeper Cover Story on Christine Pelisek Gets it Right On
If you are among the 100 people left in Los Angeles who did not hear about Newsweek's special True Crime issue (now on the stands, published on Monday), check out their piece, "Eleven and Counting," about the intertwined quests of L.A.Weekly investigative reporter Christine Pelisek and LAPD Detective Dennis Kilcoyne as they search for the Grim Sleeper serial killer.
Award-winning reporter Pelisek is portrayed in the story as a relentless digger with a heart, whose overriding concern is that South Los Angeles residents be made fully aware of the existence of the still-active serial killer.
Newsweek writers Susan Smalley and Jerry Adler put together a classic narrative, weaving together the sometimes-uncomfortable relationship between the cops and the media as both follow the same clues left by this awful psychopath. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Newsweek article:
The Newsweek team, led by Smalley, clearly understands that amazing things can happen when a single, really committed reporter refuses to let go of a story. Pelisek revealed the secret police investigation into the slayer, and she was the first person to inform families that their loved ones -- including some killed in the 1980's -- were the victims of a serial killer.
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Some relatives of the 11 victims told Christine Pelisek that the silence they got from the LAPD, in some cases stretching over 20 years or more, was far, far worse than the awful news Pelisek revealed to them.
We know the cops made this decision -- to keep things quiet, and to keep the families in the dark for years -- in order to avoid alerting this incredibly cunning serial killer to the fact that the cops were onto him.
But ultimately, as the Newsweek story shows, the families had a right to know. Today, an entire website is dedicated to news about the Grim Sleeper, as is a Wikipedia page. The revelations by the Weekly published on August 28, 2008 have unleashed a torrent of tips for the cops, one of which might ultimately lead to the Grim Sleeper.
Oh, and check out the the great photo of Pelisek in the print version of Newsweek, on Page 49. The photo was taken in one of the alleys where a victim was dumped many years ago -- but now, no longer forgotten.