This post deals with rape and violence and might be triggering for some readers.
Janecia Peters’ four-year-old son had a Christmas present for his mum.
He’d wrapped it himself, in aluminium foil and red rope. But the little boy never got a chance to give his mum the present.
Janecia’s body, naked except for a gold heart pendant, was found in a skip bin by a homeless man looking for cans.
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It was January 1, 2007, in Los Angeles. Janecia was the latest victim of a serial killer who’d been murdering young women in LA since 1985. But the police didn’t hold a press conference to announce that Janecia’s body had been found. They didn’t even let her family know that she was the victim of a serial killer.
The following year, Janecia’s mother Laverne spoke to investigative journalist Christine Pelisek at the LA Weekly, pointing out that police had gone “all the way to Aruba” to investigate the Natalee Holloway murder, but hadn’t even offered a reward for finding her daughter’s killer.
“I am just a mother who wishes they would say something about my daughter, like they say about every other kid,” she said.
It was only through the LA Weekly’s article in 2008 that people in LA found out there was a serial killer in their midst.
The article gave him a name, the Grim Sleeper, because he’d started his murder spree in the 1980s and then, apparently, taken a 14-year break before starting up again.
His seven known 1980s female victims included 18-year-old Alicia Alexander, who’d been an ice skater and a cheerleader at high school, 26-year-old Mary Lowe, who her family remembered as a “free spirit” and a great dancer, and 34-year-old Henrietta Wright, who had a young daughter, Rochell.
They’d all been dumped like trash after being murdered, some wrapped in old carpets or hidden under discarded mattresses in alleys.