Here's What We Know About Serial Killer Sam Little's Childhood

Serial killer Samuel Little claimed to have murdered 93 women in the United states from 1970 to 2005, according to the FBIWhile investigators haven't been able to corroborate all of Little's confessions, in 2019 the FBI reported that law enforcement had so far verified 50 of Little's stories, which he told in great detail — even drawing picture of his victims for detectives. 

Though investigators believe Little killed as many women as he claims he did, per the FBI, he was only ever convicted of three murders after DNA evidence in those California cold cases led to him in 2012, according to Biography. In 2014 he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

 It's not clear why or how Little became such a prolific killer, but as is often the case with serial killers, ("The Causality of Serial Killers' Crime in Early Childhood," posted at Diamond Scientific Publications), maybe his childhood had something to do with it. Cleveland Magazine reported Little told detectives during a recorded interrogation that he developed an affinity for women's necks during childhood. Later, manual strangulation would be his go-to method of murder. He said he would choose a victim based on how attractive her neck was to him, saying, "....A woman got a smooth neck. As a child, I got attracted ..." and slid his hand around his neck. The detective asked, "To the neck, the neck part?" Little said, "Yeah."

Samuel Little's childhood was tumultuous

Cleveland Magazine reported that Samuel's mother, Bessie Mae Little, was a teenage sex worker who lived with her grandmother the year Little was born in June 1940. The census from that year said Bessie Mae worked as a maid. His father was 19-year-old Paul McDowell. At birth Samuel's last name was also McDowell. Biography reported "authorities believe" Bessie May gave birth to Samuel while in jail.

Little told journalist Jillian Lauren from New York Magazine in an exclusive interview that his mom abandoned him on the side of the road when he was a baby. Cleveland Magazine reported that his grandparents ended up raising him in Lorain, Ohio. By middle school he got in trouble for stealing and was sent to a reformatory school for teenaged boys when he was 13 years old, in 1954. His mother was listed on the booking card as "whereabouts unknown." 

Little ended up with 47 disciplinary reports in the year he was there, per Cleveland Magazine. By age 16 he was drifting around the U.S. and was arrested for burglary in Omaha. From there he was in and out of reform schools and jails for various types of theft charges throughout his teen years and into his 20s. 

By the time Little was released from a stint in Mansfield Prison, his mother had resurfaced. Bessie Mae had an address in Miami, so according to Cleveland Magazine, Little headed there in the late 1960s, and it was in Miami, reports Heavy, that he would kill his first victim, Mary Brosley, in 1971.