CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Drawings from memory could identify missing persons.
Samuel Little, also known as Samuel McDowell, confessed to murdering over 90 women across the United States from 1970 to 2005. Investigators have confirmed 34 of the 90 killings.
On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released images of 16 victims that were drawings Little drew from memory.
David Thomas, a professor of forensic studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, says as killers choose their victims, they look for distinctive characteristics that will make them easier to remember.
““A serial killer will take that and use that as something he can replay. There’s something about those women that stuck out. Which made it easy for him to recreate, and easy for him to draw. And I would venture to say that they’re probably good representations of what the victims actually look like," Thomas said.
He says since the number of victims was so high, the memories of each victim could be jumbled together in the drawings.
“We remember bits and pieces of that thing so with that we create a memory, so those bits and pieces might be bits and pieces of those individuals, that he has used to make a picture, or what he believes to be that person to be," Thomas said.
Thomas says investigators can use these drawings to match up real missing persons.
“They could take it through a process of age, they can do a cast molding or molding of, they can redo her so they can have an artist recreate that," Thomas said.
Walter Zalisko, president of Global Investigative Group, says since the killings were not tied to one specific location, local law enforcement agencies need to work together to identify the missing vicitms.
“Normally what police agencies do in cases like this is they send out teletypes, they send out bulletins to all law enforcement agencies in the country looking for information on victims or any possible bodies that have been identified," Zalisko said.
Little is currently in custody in Odessa, Texas.
If you recognize these women or have any information to share, the F.B.I. is encouraging to reach out to their Violent Criminal Apprehension Program at (800) 634-4097.