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Body of Woman, Believed to Be Killer's 17th Victim, Is Found

May 27, 1986

The body of a woman who police believe to be the 17th victim of a serial prostitute killer was found by schoolchildren in the stairwell of a South-Central Los Angeles elementary school Monday afternoon.

"The condition of the body, the location and a number of other similarities have caused us to accept this as one of our investigations," said Lt. John Zorn, co-leader of the Southside Prostitute Killer Joint Task Force.

Investigators from the sheriff's and Los Angeles Police Department task force were summoned to the 68th St. Elementary School to investigate the death of the unidentified black woman, perhaps the latest victim of the killer who police believe has strangled and stabbed as many as 16 women, most of them black prostitutes, since September 1983.

The partly clothed body was spotted on the landing of a covered stairwell between the first and second floors. How the woman died had not been determined.

Zorn and homicide Detective John St. John joined detectives from the 77th St. Division at the school, at 68th Street and Estrella Avenue.

Michael Sams, 11, a sixth-grader at the school, said he and two friends were playing at the school about 3 p.m. Monday when they happened upon the body on their way to the roof.

Most of the victims, nude or partly clothed, have been found dumped in alleys or streets.

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