It all started back in 2017 when Lauren was researching her crime novel. LAPD homicide detective Mitzi Roberts told her about catching a serial killer: Little, who was serving three life sentences for murder at California State Prison, having killed three women in LA.
Prior to turning 35, Little had an illustrious criminal record: he was arrested 26 times in 11 states on an assortment of charges, including fraud, theft, assault and attempted rape. His 2012 arrest on a drug charge linked him to the murders of Carol Ilene Elford, 41, Guadalupe Duarte Apodaca, 46, and Audrey Nelson Everett, 35, whom he’d strangled. At the age of 74, he was sent behind bars to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Roberts was convinced he was responsible for other murders, so Lauren decided to start writing to him and asked for a visit. ‘I told him I was writing about violent crime and was interested in his story, and that I thought he was very important – I played to his ego,’ she told The Sun.
Amazingly, he replied. ‘The letters back did not disappoint. Each one had a little drawing that he did of himself, a monstrous caricature that was either crying or happy. If he was crying, it meant he was angry with you. We exchanged letters for several months before I got clearance to visit,’ Lauren said.
They met a year later. ‘I almost had a heart attack when he was wheeled up behind me. When he grabbed me, I could feel his strength. It made my skin crawl. Those hands had strangled so many victims,’ she continued, recalling him staring at her and rasping, ‘You’re my angel from God. He sent you to me.’ However, ‘there was nothing behind his eyes’.
Lauren made Little a simple offer from the get-go. ‘If you tell me your story as truthfully as you can, I will not desert you. You won’t have to die alone. I’ll be your friend until the end of your life,’ she told him. While he insisted his innocence at first, the confessions soon poured out.
‘We reached a point where he was talking about a woman he’d known and I could tell he was talking about a victim. He stopped, stared into the distance, and then said, ‘Okay, missy, you got me. What do you want to know about the first one?’,’ she said.
‘After that, the floodgates opened. On that one day, he told me details about 13 women he’d killed. The next weekend, he told me about 25 more. I had to call law enforcement to share what he was telling me.
‘The confessions never stopped, but despite the horrors of what Little was revealing, we developed a kind of friendship. I felt disgust at what he’d done and hated him for it, but during the times we were talking about ordinary things, he could be good-humoured.
‘Sometimes he’d get wistful and say: ‘If only I’d met a woman like you.’ And I’d say: ‘If you’d met a woman like me, you would have killed me.’ And he would say: ‘Yeah, probably.”
Little ended up confessing to 93 murders, at least 50 of which were then verified by the FBI, making him the worst serial killer in US history.