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Unsolved Samuel Little Murders

Samuel Little, AKA Samuel McDowell

New Details Released in Unsolved Samuel Little Murders

AUSTIN – The Texas Rangers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, and the United States Department of Justice are releasing new details in more than a dozen unsolved murders committed by serial killer Samuel ​Little, AKA Samuel ​McDowell, in hopes of bringing closure to these cases.

“The information contained in these narratives could be the missing piece to solving some of these murders,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “It’s critical that anyone with information comes forward, as time is running out.”

Little was interviewed extensively by Texas Ranger James Holland from June 2018 to shortly before his death in December 2020. During these interviews, Little confessed to committing 93 murders between 1970 and 2005. Officials have matched more than 60 of Little’s confessions to victims through DNA evidence and extensively corroborated interviews.

Little had a photographic memory and described what the victims looked like, where he met and killed them, and where he left their bodies. However, little could not accurately judge timeframes and distance. At times, officials proved that Little was off by more than ten years and 40 miles. ​Therefore, years and distances provided in the linked narratives should not be considered definitive. Little stated he strangled all of his victims, except two that he drowned, and was adamant he never shot or stabbed them. Investigators say how Little killed his victims was more reminiscent of suffocation than strangulation. Several of his victims did not have broken or fractured hyoid bones in the throat. Multiple victims’ ​deaths were misclassified in autopsy reports and listed as drug overdoses or natural deaths.

Authorities incarcerated Little during the below periods (six months or more): 

  • 05/28/1971 – 03/14/1972
  • 11/25/1982 – 01/18/1984
  • 10/25/1984 – 02/01/1987
  • 06/05/1988 – 04/11/1989
  • 06/20/1990 – 12/09/1990
  • 01/15/1998 – 04/26/2002

All unmatched murders occurred between 1970 and 1997. It includes five cases in Florida; two cases in Louisiana; one case in Cincinnati, Ohio; one case in Knoxville, Tenn.; 16 cases in Los Angeles, Calif.; one case in Las Vegas, Nev.; one case in Charleston, S.C.; one case in Gulfport, Miss.; and three cases in Georgia.

You can find detailed information and photos for these cases on the DPS website.

If you have any information you believe will help investigators solve any of these cases, please contact the Texas Rangers at rangers@dps.texas.gov or 1-512-424-2160 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.