Suspected victim of prolific serial killer Samuel Little ID'd decades later

The woman's body was discovered alongside a Georgia freeway in 1981.

October 11, 2020, 4:02 PM

The remains of a woman found slain and dumped alongside a Georgia freeway nearly 40 years ago has been identified and investigators say they suspect she was the victim of one of the nation's most prolific serial killers.

The victim was identified on Friday as Patricia Parker, who was a 30-year-old mother from Chatanooga, Tennessee, and authorities said they believe she was killed by Samuel Little, the convicted mass murderer dubbed the "Choke and Stroke Killer," according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Little, now 80 years old and serving consecutive life sentences for murder, confessed in 2018 to killing 93 women and offered investigators chilling details of the deaths that officials say match up with evidence in at least 60 of the grisly slayings.

Little, a former boxer from Ohio, has freely shared the names of his victims he could remember, places, details of how they died and even sketches he made of the women, according to authorities. As investigators followed the trail of bodies he claimed to have disposed of in 16 states dating back to the 1970s, a stunning FBI report described Little as possibly "the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history."

PHOTO: Samuel Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, leaves the Ector County Courthouse after attending a pre-trial hearing in Odessa, Texas.
Samuel Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, leaves the Ector County Courthouse after attending a pre-trial hearing in Odessa, Texas. Little, who has confessed to killing more than 90 women across the U.S. has been indicted in Cleveland for the strangulation deaths of two women decades ago.
Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP, FILE

Parker was identified through DNA samples taken from her son, who contacted investigators last year when they released a sketch and a clay rendering of a victim known then only as Jane Doe.

"Her family has been looking for her for 30-plus years and the comfort in her son ... to know that his mom didn’t leave him, that she was actually killed and that’s how she left his life, that to me was the best part of this case," Joe Montgomery, the GBI special agent in charge, said at a news conference on Friday.

Parker's body was discovered on Sept. 28, 1981, dumped alongside Interstate 21 in Dade County, Georgia, near the Tennessee border, officials said.

"Since 1981, the GBI maintained an open investigation into these remains; however, over the years the case grew cold," GBI investigators said in a statement

Little gave the Texas Rangers information in 2018 about a murder he committed in Chattanooga in the early 1980s of a young, Black woman, and investigators later learned of the unidentified body found nearly four decades earlier in Dade County, officials said.

On December 19, 2018, GBI Special Agent Steve Rogers and Mike Mathis, supervisor of the Hamilton County, Tennessee, District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit, interviewed Little at a Decatur, Texas, jail, and Little provided the investigators with more details that led them to suspect the remains found in Dade County were the woman Little had met at a Chattanooga bar and killed in Georgia, officials said.

But investigators still didn't have a name to go with the remains.

During a news conference in March 2019, investigators unveiled a clay model depicting the victim's head and asked the public to help identify the woman. Montgomery said numerous friends of Parker and her family members immediately came forward with her name.

“I think it was such a good example of what Ms. Parker looked like at the time that it helped and revived all those memories of people that knew her and her family," Montgomery said.

The case has been turned over to local prosecutors in Georgia, who are deciding whether to charge Little, who is in poor health and will likely die in prison, in Parker's murder, officials said.