Serial killer’s confession leads investigator to fifth possible victim on the Coast

The woman was found in Pascagoula in 1977 but has never been identified

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - He told investigators that she was pretty, in her mid 30s, and had rough hands from her job as pipe fitter at Ingalls Shipbuilding. But, that’s all Samuel Little remembers of the woman he claims to have murdered in Pascagoula back in the late 70′s or early 80′s.

Now a prolific serial killer, Samuel Little has admitted to killing more than 90 people nationwide-- five of them here on the Coast. Four of his coast victims have been identified; Tracy Lynn Johnson, Alice Taylor, Julia Critchfield, and Melinda Lapree. However, one remains nameless.

In December 1977, skeletal remains were found by two rabbit hunters off the side of the road just north of Pascagoula. A forensic anthropologist determined the body had been there since August or September of 1977.

This composite shows what the victim may have looked like. Police have still not been able to identify her. (Photo source: Darren Versiga)
This composite shows what the victim may have looked like. Police have still not been able to identify her. (Photo source: Darren Versiga)

Darren Versiga, a lieutenant with the Pascagoula Police Department, made the connection with Little because of a police report made during one of his arrests.

“I had a file on him that said 8-11-77 (Aug. 11, 1977) and when I found her remains, immediately I said ‘Okay, let me go back and look at that picture.' He was here 8-11-77; she was found 12 (December) of 77, could be him," Versiga said.

Versiga showed Little photos of a forensic sculpture molded from the victim’s skull and adorned with a wig.

“When he first starts looking, he’s not sure, he doesn’t like this picture, he doesn’t like that, but when he gets to that one-- his statement to me - he goes, “How many bodies y’all found out there? If y’all ain’t found one this has gotta be her,” Versiga recalled.

There are some distinct details about the victim that Little can’t recall, but Versiga still believes there are enough similarities between the victim Little describes and the victim found here in 1977 for it to be a match.

Samuel Little is currently serving three life sentences for killing three women in California
Samuel Little is currently serving three life sentences for killing three women in California ((Photo courtesy: Lt. Darren Versiga))

“The hair is plated, he says plated, she wore a wig," said Versiga. “This is a good location, it fits the general location of where he is talking about and when I show him a picture of this right here, he thinks this is it."

While the case seems to fit, Versiga wants to be 100 percent sure. So, now he’s focused on one thing - finding out who she is.

“We’re still not 100 percent and I’m not sure we will ever get there. If we can locate who she is and get her identified...then we will be for sure this is his victim or if I’ve got another victim out there.”

Little revealed details that might help identify the victim, saying she was very pretty and weighed around 130 pounds. He also told police that she was from Jackson but was in the area working as a pipefitter at Ingalls. A forensic anthropologist believes the victim was better 35 and 45 years old.

If you or anyone you know has a family member, friend or acquaintance that matches this description and went missing in 1977, please contact the Pascagoula Police Department at 228-762-2211.

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