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Body of Young Woman Found in Trash Bin; Link to Southside Killer Uncertain

August 23, 1986|JERRY BELCHER | Times Staff Writer

The body of an unidentified young black woman was found Friday morning in a steel dumpster trash bin on West 57th Street near Figueroa Street, but although members of the Southside Serial Killer Task Force were at the scene, police said they do not know whether she is one of the multiple slayer's victims.

The so-called Southside Slayer is believed responsible for the murders of 17 women since 1983, nearly all of them black women, most of them said by police to have records of prostitution and most of them found dumped in South-Central Los Angeles.

In an unusual development, the entire steel bin with the body still inside was transported to the Los Angeles Police Department's crime laboratory at Parker Center--in effect, moving both crime scene and corpse to a place where experts could make a more thorough examination than in the field.

The body was discovered by an employee of Echo Printing & Publishing Co. when he looked into the chest-high bin in the rear lot of the establishment at 5701 West 57th St.

Capt. Jerry Bova, commanding officer of the robbery-homicide division, told reporters, "We really can't say one way or the other" whether the latest victim is linked to the serial killings, which he has said in the past may be the work of more than one murderer.

"It is a young--younger--female black, and (because of the) location . . . there certainly is that possibility," he said.

'Absolutely No Evidence'

"However," he added, "there absolutely is no evidence one way or the other, and it's going to be some time before we can have any kind of definitive answer on that."

Bova said there is "no indication of cause of death," and declined to make any further comment except to say that the examination of the body will be conducted in cooperation with the Los Angeles County coroner's office. He indicated that the body probably will be taken to the coroner's office today for an autopsy.

Police spokesman William Booth said this is the first case he can recall in which the body and the dumpster in which it was found were brought to the Parker Center laboratory. He said the body is that of a young woman "probably in her 20s."

He said it will be decided later whether the case will be handled by the special 51-member Task Force, the robbery-homicide division or detectives of the the 77th Street Division.

Workers and residents in the neighborhood said the corner of West 57th and Figueroa is a notorious hangout for streetwalkers and dealers in rock or crack cocaine.

"I'm not surprised," said an 18-year-old student who lives half a block away. "They (prostitutes) are here every day . . . on this corner, about five, mostly the same people."

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