Family breaks their silence after ‘Macon Jane Doe’ was named as the first victim of FBI’s most notorious serial killer, Samuel Little
The first known victim of America’s most prolific serial killer has been identified nearly 50 years after her brutal murder – prompting her family to make a heartbreaking statement.
Samuel Little admitted to killing 93 women in 19 states over a period of four decades before dying in prison in 2020.
As is well known, in addition to drawings of his victims for the FBI, he also described where and when the terrible crimes took place.
The pain he unleashed on his victims and their families can still be felt.
According to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Yvonne Pless was about 20 years old when Little murdered her in 1977.
She was known as “Macon Jane Doe” for 46 years as her identity remained a mystery.
Then, in 2018, Little confessed to killing two Macon women.
He was questioned by Georgia investigators in 2019, who were able to confirm that his confession matched the unsolved Macon case.
A family member of Fredonia Smith, the other Macon woman killed in 1982, was notified of her death, but Pless’ remains had not been identified.
It wasn’t until Little’s confession that police officers made a new connection, and the connection was corroborated by a previously unsubmitted sexual assault kit.
Using forensic genetic genealogy, investigators were able to link Pless’s DNA to that of a relative, which pointed them to her remaining family in Macon.
Pless’ family released a heartbreaking statement Thursday after their identification.
“We are delighted that you are interested in the story of our family member. When Captain Jones and Ms. Hutsell informed us that Yvonne had been identified, we did not know that she had passed away,” they said.
“We are mourning the loss of our loved one and have no comments at this time. We ask that our privacy be respected.”
gone to hell
Before his death in prison aged 80, Little revealed a haunting gallery of the women he allegedly killed.
The FBI released his drawings on its website, along with his descriptions of the location and timing of the murders, so the public could associate them with missing persons and unsolved cases.
If the list of victims is confirmed, his body count would be more than double that of notorious killer Ted Bundy.
The total would mean he had 44 more victims than America’s worst killer in recent memory – Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer.
For nearly five decades, Little believed he got away with his killing spree, which began in 1970 and ended in 2005, when he became too frail to overpower his victims.
In 2014 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of three women. It was then that Texas Ranger James Holland spotted similarities to unsolved cases and set about getting Little to open up.
Speaking from behind bars, Little boasted that he carried out the killings as “protractedly and slowly as possible” – sometimes leaving the women unconscious – and that death gave him sexual pleasure.
“It was like drugs,” Little told Holland in 2018. “I liked it.”
“I wanted their helplessness”
He shared how he targeted vulnerable women who were drug addicts or prostitutes.
Little would herd her to a quiet place and, after surprising her, would knock her unconscious with a single punch. Then he would happily wrap his huge hands around her neck to kill her.
He recalled one victim, 38-year-old heroin-addicted prostitute Denise Brothers, and recounted how he told her, “You’re mine, you’re mine forever,” as she cried in the back seat of his Cadillac.
He said: “I wanted their helplessness. All I ever wanted was for them to cry in my arms.”
He claimed his first victim was a Miami woman with “strawberry blonde hair” around New Year’s Day 1970.
About that first time he said: “She was a prostitute. She was sitting at a restaurant stand, red leather, really nice.
He added it was “like drugs.” I liked it.”
The last woman he allegedly killed was 46-year-old Nancy Stevens in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 2005.
He said he deliberately chose victims whom he felt would be of little interest to the police, and once told New York journalist Jillian Lauren, who visited him in prison several times, “If I killed you, it would be on be in the news everywhere the next day. I stayed in the ghettos.
Little also moved across the country, killing in 19 states. With the women being knocked out first, there was little evidence of a struggle and it wasn’t always an obvious murder.
The FBI stated, “Because there were no stab wounds or gunshot wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides, but were attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes.”
Born in 1940 in a small town in Georgia, Little claims his teenage mother was a prostitute who left him on the side of the road as a baby.
Raised in Ohio under the care of his grandmother, he began committing petty theft to buy drinks or drugs.
During his elementary school years, he had a sexual fixation on women’s necks and had dreams of killing one of his classmates after she touched hers.
Little, whose real last name was McDowell, was sent to a juvenile detention center as a teenager for stealing a bicycle.
From there, his criminal record became increasingly serious and included offenses such as armed robbery, assaulting a police officer, and rape.
Despite his numerous violent crimes, his sentences never exceeded ten years.
In 1982, he was arrested for the murders of 26-year-old Patricia Mount in Florida and 22-year-old Melinda LaPree in Mississippi.
Both women died from strangulation and in both cases Little was found to be in the same brown car near the victims.
But in the first case he was acquitted by a jury and in the second case the charges were dismissed.
He was free to continue killing as he pleased. Three women who were not harmed were two serious girlfriends and his former wife.
Little insists he never killed anyone he “loved” and that he made a conscious effort not to look down their necks.
It wasn’t until 2012 that police began connecting him to historical crimes.
After extraditing him from Kentucky to California on drug charges, Los Angeles police noted that his DNA linked him to three unsolved homicides in the city from the late 1990s.
Barely any sperm was left on the shirt of murder victim Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, in September 1987. And his skin cells were found under the fingernails of Audrey Nelson (35) in August 1989.
In September 2014, Little was found guilty of both of those murders, as well as the murder of 41-year-old Carol Elford.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
Four years later, federal agents discovered that the review of unsolved cases across the US bore a striking resemblance to that in LA.
Back then, Ranger Holland had Little transferred from California to a better prison in Texas so he could get him to open up.
Assistant District Attorney Beth Silverman, who previously charged Little with the three LA murders, watched his chilling confessions.
She previously told The Sun: “It was disgusting. It was very emotionless, but there were some areas where he seemed aroused by talking about some of the victims.”
“He seemed to get the thrill of his confessions. I think he enjoyed it. He recited it as if talking about something you did yesterday. He feels no remorse.”
Silverman believes lives could have been saved if opportunities to capture him had not been missed over the years.
To convince Little – who was confined to a wheelchair with diabetes and a heart condition – to confess to his crimes now, Ranger Holland told him he would not face the death penalty.
Since Little was destined to die behind bars anyway, the Ranger was not driven by a desire to increase his sentence.
Instead, he wanted to bring some form of relief to the victims’ families while Little was still alive to share the details.
The ranger said: “Samuel Little gave me a huge gift, a gift to bring closure to the families of victims who for years did not know what really happened to their loved ones.”