Practically Unknown Samuel Little Could Be America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Ever


The face of a monster: Samuel Little has taken responsibility for 90 murders.

A man convicted of three murders that landed him a place in prison for life may be responsible for far more than what his former convictions state.

Samuel Little, also known as Samuel McDowell, has admitted to being responsible for murdering 90 women across the United States between 1970 and 2005. If all the murders are proven to be tied to him, Little could be the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history, rivaling the Green River Killer Gary Ridgway who has been the proven murderer of 49 women but is suspected to be responsible for over 90 deaths.

In 2014, Little was convicted of three killing three people in the 1980s. Shortly afterwards, his name appeared in the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, or ViCAP. He was connected to “an alarming pattern and compelling links to many more murders,” the FBI says. This occurrence led the FBI to believe he was connected to a vast series of unsolved murders throughout the country.

Through the entirety of his trial, Little claimed innocence despite the women testifying against him describing how they survived his attempts of murder. The FBI released a statement, saying “In all three cases, the women had been beaten and then strangled, their bodies dumped in an alley, a dumpster, and a garage.” Ultimately, Little was found guilty.

After a more recent murder in Texas, Little was questioned by authorities and FBI crime analysts. Little was very much willing to talk, in exchange for being moved to a different prison. Little ended up giving more information than what investigators were expecting.

That interview, occuring in May, consisted of Little giving investigators the number of people he killed per state. Thirty-four of the killings have been confirmed, while the other majority of confessed killings are still under investigation or have evidence contradicting his admittance of being responsible for the crimes.

From the interview, ViCAP crime analyst Christina Palazzolo reports some of  his murders per slocation: “Jackson, Mississippi—one; Cincinnati, Ohio—one; Phoenix, Arizona—three; Las Vegas, Nevada—one”.

Police from Prince George’s County, Maryland, interviewed him as well after becoming skeptical of a possible murder conducted by him there. The interview enabled police to close a 1972 cold case. PGPD Detective Bernie Nelson recounts how Little revealed the details of a specific murder of an unknown victim. After the victim and Little pulled over to the side of the road to have sex, he attempted to strangle her. After she fled from the car, he caught up to her and strangled her to death.

Nelson’s thoughts of Little after the interview? “I can truly say that Samuel Little is a monster,” Nelson says.

Little has an extensive criminal record dating back to the 1950s. Charges of assaulting or killing several women in the 1980s is another set of charges, but none of which he was convicted of.

Over 60 years after the first series of murders that started a long list of casualties, there is finally an answer as to who committed them. The news came as a surprise to the world, a breakthrough to the FBI, and a relief to the survivors of his attempts.