Police seek help to ID 1981 Chattanooga victim of serial killer

Tennessee

Investigators on Tuesday said are seeking the public’s assistance as they try to identify the victim of a 1980s serial killer who said he killed in Chattanooga. 

The FBI said in November that convicted murderer Samuel Little claimed to have killed 90 women across the country, including three reportedly from Tennessee.

A joint investigation by Hamilton County District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation began in August after the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program reached out to Hamilton County DA Cold Case Unit Supervisor Mike Mathis with information about the homicide of a young black woman in 1981 thought to have been committed by Little. 

Supervisor Mathis reached out to the GBI after the victim’s description did not match local records. The two agencies were able to determine the description given by little matched that of an unidentified homicide victim found in Dade County, Georgia just across state lines from Chattanooga. 

Mathis and GBI Special Agent Steve Rogers traveled to Texas in December to interview Little about the suspected homicide. 

He described the victim as a light-skinned black female, with a big build, in her early to mid-20s. Little said he met the woman at a nightclub on Chattanooga’s Ninth Street, now known as Martin Luther King Boulevard. He claimed the two left the club together before he strangled her on a remote roadway and rolled her body off an embankment. 

In Little’s words, the body kept rolling, implying he was on a steep ridge.

Investigators say additional info provided by Little confirm he was the one responsible for killing the unidentified woman found in Dade County in 1981. They believe the victim was from the Chattanooga area, northwest Georgia or northeast Alabama.

The GBI said they had begun to create a facial reconstruction based on the woman’s skull before the interview with Little. 

If you recognize the woman, call the Cold Case Unit tip line at 423-209-7470, or email tips to: coldcases@hcdatn.org

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