Forty-Year Cold Case Solved After Woman Identified as Victim of Serial Killer Samuel Little

A cold case which languished for nearly four decades has finally been solved after detectives identified the slain woman as a victim of prolific serial killer Samuel Little.

The 30-year-old woman has been named as Patricia Parker after Little confessed to murdering a young Black female in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the early 1980s.

The reveal was part of a "breathtaking number of confessions" the killer made to a Texas Ranger in 2018, the FBI said.

Investigators then matched this information with cases that remained unsolved in the states of Tennessee and Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a statement on Friday.

A match was finally found relating to unidentified remains found in Dade County from 1981.

A lengthy investigation led by Hamilton County, TN District Attorney's Office Cold Case Unit Supervisor Mike Mathis, gave detectives enough information to go back and interview Little from prison in 2018.

Little "provided investigators with more details that led them to believe the remains found in Dade County were the woman Little had taken in Chattanooga and killed in Georgia," the statement continued.

Included in Little's prison-cell confessions were hand-drawn portraits of his victims.

Three months later, the GBI unveiled a forensic reconstruction of the female's skull at a press conference which proved crucial in solving the case.

"As a direct result of that press conference, a family came forward stating they believed the woman was their family member," the GBI said.

DNA profiles from the family were sent to the GBI Crime Lab for comparison, leading to a positive identification.

According to the FBI, Little is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history after confessing to strangling at least 93 people between 1970 and 2005, mainly women.

Of these confessions, 50 have been verified, with many more pending final confirmation.

Little targeted women from vulnerable groups, including those involved in sex work or suffering from drug addiction.

For this reason, many of his victims' deaths were originally ruled overdoses or attributed to accidental or undetermined causes and some bodies were never found.

Little was born in Ohio but became a drifter, leading a life on the road where he frequently traveled between states, targeting victims from Georgia to Nevada.

Investigators exploited Little's "phenomenal" memory, when they found out he enjoys drawing, asking him to sketch portraits of his victims to aid investigations.

In an interview with CBS, Little suggested a faith in God may help explain why he made his recent confessions.

"Probably be numerous people who are—been convicted and sent to penitentiary on my behalf. I say, if I can help get somebody out of jail, you know, God might smile a little bit more on me," he said.

"For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims," ViCAP Crime Analyst Christie Palazzolo said.

"Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim—to close every case possible."

The FBI believes Little would stun his victims with a punch and then strangle them, leaving few solid clues behind.

Parker is one of five women whom Little has confessed to killing in the Georgia-Tennessee area. Now aged 80, he is currently serving three life sentences in California.

Since our last #update on 2/13/2019, 10 additional drawings by Samuel Little based on his memories of his victims have been added to the map and story, and one of the original 16 images has been replaced. Help law enforcement identify Little's victims: https://t.co/EzjQHit8Cd. pic.twitter.com/PxEnsYTB6v

— FBI (@FBI) April 2, 2019

#ICYMI 78-year-old man in prison in TX may be among the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history. FBI is working w/ Texas Rangers, @TheJusticeDept’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, & state & local partners to match the killer’s confessions w/ cold cases. https://t.co/me7Z2jXYbD

— FBI (@FBI) February 13, 2019
Samuel Little
In this handout photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serial killer Samuel Little is seen in a composite image depicting multiple mug shots/booking photos from 1966-1995. FBI