Samuel Little: Remains of woman murdered nearly 50 years ago belong to victim of America's most prolific serial killer

The remains of a woman who was killed nearly 50 years ago belong to a victim of America's most prolific serial killer, authorities said on Thursday.

Yvonne Pless, whose body was found in the city of Macon in Georgia, was around 20 years old when Samuel Little killed her in 1977, according to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Ms Pless had been dubbed "Macon Jane Doe" by The Telegraph newspaper in the city.

By the time of his death in December 2020, Little had confessed to killing 93 people between 1970 and 2005.

In 2018 he confessed to killing two women from Macon, prompting Georgia investigators to travel to Texas in 2019 to interview him.

They were able to confirm that his confessions matched the unsolved cases.

Ms Pless's remains had not been identified until last year when investigators used forensic genetic genealogy to determine who they belonged to.

Police then notified a relative of Ms Pless who connected them with her remaining family in Macon.

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The other woman, Fredonia Smith, who was killed in Macon in 1982, had previously been identified and a family member was notified that she had been murdered by Little.

How Little went undetected for so many years

Most of the serial killer's murders took place in Florida and southern California.

He also killed people in Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, Arkansas and other states.

Little strangled most of his victims, usually soon after meeting them during chance encounters.

Almost all of his victims were women who lived on the edges of society such as prostitutes or drug addicts.

They were people he believed wouldn't be looked for and wouldn't leave much evidence for police.

He wasn't wrong - police around the country initially classified many of the deaths as accidents, drug overdoses or the result of unknown causes.

Kentucky authorities finally caught up with him in 2012 after he was arrested on drug charges and his DNA linked him to three California killings.

When he began recounting the other murders, authorities were astounded at how much he remembered.

His paintings, they said, indicated he had a photographic memory.