57-year-old Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was arrested Wednesday morning in front of his home on 81st street in South Los Angeles.
The arrest ends a 25 year investigation into the deaths of 11 people dating back to 1985.
Police say Franklin was linked to the crimes using a relatively new and controversial forensic technique known as ‘Familial’ DNA searching.
“Familial” searching allows investigators to look for close DNA matches in relatives when the suspect’s DNA profile is not in the state database.
According to police, a DNA sample from his son was found to bear a close resemblance to DNA found on the victims.
Cooley said detectives then used a piece of discarded pizza with Franklin’s DNA to make the link.
Franklin is a former city trash collector who at one time worked as a garage attendant at an LAPD station.
His arrest came as a shock to neighbors.
“He’s the neighborhood mechanic” said neighbor Eric Robinson, 47.
“He volunteers at the park. A very good man. His daughter just graduated from college, I believe. He’s a good mechanic, worked out of his garage. I’ve been here since 1976; that’s how long I’ve known him. I’m not pretty shocked, I’m all the way shocked.”
The ‘Grim Sleeper’ is believed responsible for the murders of 10 women and one man from 1985 to 2007.
After 1988, the killer did not commit any known homicides until 2002.
He last struck on Jan. 1, 2007.
A 12th victim escaped after she was shot and raped.
The 14-year hiatus between the two distinct sets of killings correspond to a time when Franklin was on disability, a law enforcement source said.
All the bodies were found outdoors, often in alleys a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
The victims were shot, strangled or both, usually after some kind of sexual contact.