TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly a year-to-date after his death, law enforcement officials are still releasing new information on murders committed by serial killer Samuel Little. Authorities say Little was the most prolific serial killer in United States history, with nearly 60 confirmed victims.
In prison, after decades of denying he’d killed anyone, Little admitted to Texas Ranger James Holland that he’d not only killed people, but that he’d killed close to 100 victims between 1970 and 2005.
The confessions started in 2018 and continued until Little’s death in December 2020. Law enforcement officers and investigators traveled from all over the U.S. to speak with Little about cold cases.
Holland had been interviewing Little about a murder he hadn’t committed, and he opened up to him. A series of drawings by Little serve as pictures of some of his victims. Law enforcement included some of the drawings with their victim descriptions.
The Texas Rangers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Department of Justice continue to release information on some of Little’s victims. In a release on Dec. 1, more victim information was released along with some of Little’s drawings. The list included five victims from Florida.
Two of those victims were in the Tampa area and Fort Myers. Three were from Miami, according to Little.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Little killed three in Miami, one in Fort Myers and one in the Tampa Bay area, either in Tampa or Clearwater. The murders in Florida occurred from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s or early 1990s.
Law enforcement officers describe Little as having “a photographic memory” but “lacked the ability to accurately judge timeframes and distance,” leading to some of the years of his killings being inaccurate. “At times, Little was proven to be off by more than 10 years and 40 miles. Therefore, years and distances provided in the linked narratives should not be considered definitive,” according to Texas DPS.
The five victims in Florida listed in the latest report from Texas DPS have yet to be identified.
Texas DPS said the earliest kill from the list of Florida victims was a Miami-based man who Little described as a drag queen. They were killed in either 1971 or 1972, and were either 18 or 19-years-old. Little told authorities they were known as “Marianne” and the two had met at a bar called Pool Palace.
After meeting a few times, Little offered to drive “Marianne” home, where they lived in the projects between Brownsville and Liberty City. According to law enforcement, one of “Marianne’s” roommates asked the two to buy a can of Magic Shave shaving cream, and they went back out on Highway 27.
Soon after, Little told authorities he choked “Marianne” to death after pulling into a driveway, then drove further down Highway 27 to the Everglades, down a dirt road to a swamp, and dragged their body into thick, muddy water. Little did not believe “Marianne” was ever found.
While still in Florida, in a time from 1971 to 1972 or 1978 to 1979, Little said he dated a 26 to 28-year-old “ugly, dark-skinned Haitian woman.”
He told law enforcement officers that he’d picked her up in Homestead, either while she walked up the street or while at a bar off the highway.
She worked as a civilian employee at Homestead Air Force Base according to Little, and he thought she might also have worked as a prostitute.
Somewhere on military property, Little said he took the Haitian woman, who he described as “tough” and killed her. He said he left her body about a block from the main road near the base outside of Miami, or possibly in the woods, not “too far” from water.
While Little said he thought someone would find the body, it’s unclear if she was ever found.
Still in Miami, in the mid-1970s, Little said he killed a Black woman, between 23 to 24-years-old who he said was a prostitute. He’d met her at Pool Palace in Miami, the same bar he described to authorities in his first meeting with Marianne, the drag queen he said he’d killed in the early 1970s.
Little said the woman’s name was “Emily” and that she had a University of Miami student identification card. According to law enforcement, Little drove the woman down Highway 27 to a dirt road in the Everglades, where the two argued. They fought, “wrestling” and she “hit him in his mouth,” according to Texas DPS.
He strangled Emily to death there, after he “snapped.” Authorities said Little dragged her out of his car and onto a trash pile, before putting a discarded mattress that he found laying along the road over her body.
He threw her purse or wallet into a nearby field with tall grass. Despite claiming he was seen discarding her belongings, Little said he never heard that she was found.
In the Tampa area, Little said he met a woman at a bar in either Clearwater or St. Petersburg, between 1977 to 1978 or 1983 to 1984. He described her as a short, chubby Black woman with a dark complexion. Little said she was dancing when he met her.
Little told authorities that he drove her home after they met so she could change clothes. She reportedly had five younger siblings, and they had run out of the house yelling his name shortly before she got back in his car after changing. When the two left the woman’s home, he told her they’d be going to Lakeland.
They went to a beach, Little said, and he got his car stuck in a barbed-wire fence and some sand. He told law enforcement officers that “several ‘white boys’ who were drinking beer helped get him out of the sand.” Then he drove the woman to a grassy or wooded area near the railroad tracks outside of Tampa and on the way to Plant City.
He parked on an “island of grass, round, with a curb around it” and while watching trains over a railroad track nearby, he strangled her to death. Little said he kept her underwear as a souvenir and dumped her body by the track, in the grass. Then he drove through Plant City to get to Lakeland.
In 1984, or between 1990 to 1991, Little killed a Black Fort Myers woman. He said she was between 26 to 28-years-old, with “dark brown skin and a nice body.” Little told authorities he’d met her two years beforehand and used to go to her family’s house with his long-time companion “Jean.”
The day he killed her, Little said he saw the Fort Myers woman outside of a liquor store on Nelson Street. He said she was clean and nice looking and was “mad about her husband or somebody.”
She got in his car and he told authorities he drove her to an island in the road, a wooded tract of land near railroad tracks with the woods nearby.
The “grass isle…wasn’t that afar outside the city,” according to Little’s testimony. He said at the island, the two had anal sex and then he strangled her to death and left her in short grass in a clearing outside the city. Little later told law enforcement he’d set her pubic hair on fire, in a follow-up interview.
Little never gave authorities a motive for the killings, and none of the five Florida victims in the list have been identified. Law enforcement are still working to identify his victims.
All unmatched murders occurred between 1970 and 1997. Anyone with information that could help investigators solve the cases is encouraged to contact the Texas Rangers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-512-424-2160, or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.