How Many Victims Did Serial Killer Sam Little Actually Have?

Notorious murderer Sam Little terrorized women across the United States for over a quarter of a century, and he is believed to have been the nation's most prolific serial killer, according to the FBI. Authorities have confirmed that Little was responsible for the deaths of at least 60 women, although they believe the true number to be much higher than that. Despite his initial insistence that he was innocent, Little ultimately confessed in 2018 to having murdered 93 women across the country before he was finally apprehended.

The FBI believes his confessions to be credible, and are still seeking any information that may help confirm Little's connection to several unsolved murder cases, in the hopes that they will be able to provide closure for those remaining victims and their families. The FBI also believes that some of his victims' bodies have never been found, which has further hindered their efforts to verify Little's claims.

Little turned to crime in his 20s, and was arrested multiple times as a young man for offenses ranging from burglary and theft to drug violations. Beginning in the 1970s, Little's crimes became more violent, and he was soon picked up for assault, armed robbery, and attempted rape across over a dozen jurisdictions, according to the Star Advertiser.

Little was only convicted of three murders

In the early 1980s, he landed in prison for two-and-a-half years for the kidnapping and beating of two young women, per the Washington Post. However, after he was released, he went on to beat and strangle at least 10 more victims. Authorities believe he may have avoided detection for so long because many of their deaths were attributed to accidental causes or overdoses, rather than murder, according to the FBI.

His murder spree went on for almost four decades, before he was finally caught for good in 2012. Initially picked up on a narcotics charge in Kentucky, Little was eventually extradited to Los Angeles after DNA evidence tied him to two unsolved murder cases there, according to NPR.

Although he may have killed close to 100 people, Little was convicted of the murders of only three women, who were killed in California in the 1980s: Carol Ilene Elford, Guadalupe Duarte Apodaca, and Audrey Nelson Everet (via the Los Angeles Times). Little was sentenced to life in prison without parole and died while incarcerated at the California State Prison in Los Angeles County in 2020.

Little is the subject of the multi-part documentary Confronting a Serial Killer, hosted by Jillian Lauren, which begins airing April 18 on Starz.