Mary Brosley Was Samuel Little’s First Murder Victim

Missingin.org/FBI Mary Brosley was Samuel Little's first murder victim on New Years Eve 1970. Little said he killed 93 women from 1970 to 2005.

Samuel Little confessed to 93 murders from 1970 to 2005, making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. History, according to the FBI. Little recalled many details about his victims and even was able to sketch many of them, helping to confirm some of his claims.

Investigators have confirmed 50 of his confessions, and FBI crime analysts believe all of his murder claims are credible even though some of his stories have yet to be corroborated.

Little said the first time he killed a woman it was in the Miami area. He was about 30 years old when he met 33-year-old Mary Brosley. By then Little was no stranger to crime, getting involved in criminal activities as a teenager, ending up in juvenile detention centers before he expanded into adult crime and a gypsy lifestyle, never in one place for too long. He was arrested for a string of crimes over the decades, convicted for some, let go on others, and spent 10 years in and out of prisons, all punctuated by murders that he got away over a 44-year span of years.

According to the FBI, Little chose women who were marginalized, such as prostitutes or drug addicts, because he thought fewer people would be looking for them if they went missing.  He also didn’t use weapons — he used his bare hands to kill — so his victims’ manners of death weren’t always obvious. Often their bodies were not identified and their deaths chalked up to overdoses.

Brosley, an alcoholic who was estranged from her family, met Little at a bar in Miami on New Years’ Eve 1970, according to Little’s account. Six months before she met him, she had been reported as missing by her family in Massachusetts. It would be 47-years before they heard anything about her again.


Brosley’s Life was Alcohol Fueled

Mary Brosley

Miami Dade Police DepartmentMary Brosley

Brosley left her 7-year-old son, Darryl Brosley, in Massachusetts in June, 1970, without telling anyone she was leaving. She was reported missing by her family not long after, who last saw her on June 12th, according to the investigation report. Mary’s sister, Claire Coppolino, told detectives that her sister was a severe alcoholic when they contacted her almost 50 years after her sister went missing.

Coppolino said on the night before her sister disappeared, police found her walking along the highway at night. Brosley told them two men had pushed her out of a moving vehicle in Palmer, Massachusets and her shoulder was hurt. The next day she was supposed to take a bus back to Boston where she lived with her parents, but Brosley never came home. Coppolino suspected she hitched a ride with someone somewhere, which was common for her to do.

According to Coppolino, Brosley “would take rides with anyone who would provide her with alcohol,” and she’d been in and out of the hospital with cirrhosis of the liver. Brosley was also anorexic and only weighed 80 lbs at 5’4, her sister told investigators.

Brosley had a rough life, by Coppolino’s telling. Physically, she was sick, but she also endured a hip surgery that left her with a limp and a metal plate and screws in her body that were to become part of confirming her identity decades later. She had a v-shaped scar on her cheek and had a deformed pinky from the time she cut it badly while slicing vegetables but refused medical care, allowing the severed portion of the digit to dangle until it fell off, according to Coppolino. Bronson’s ex-husband beat her regularly during their marriage, Coppolino said.

Things were not going so well for Brolsey when she made her way to Miami, Florida, to start a new life. Six months later, she met the man who would murder her.


Little Remembered Many Details About Brosley Including What She Was Wearing & That She’d Left her Family Due to Issues with Alcohol

Samuel Little Now

Wise County PoliceSamuel Little’s mugshot in Wise County, Texas.

Decades later Little would tell investigators that Brosley said she’d left her family because she had issues with alcoholism, according to CBS Miami. He would also tell them that he remembered that she was wearing a flowered sundress and a chain necklace, which he played with before strangling her to death, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. He remembered she had a limp.

Little always strangled his victims. A former boxer, he told investigators he would punch women to stun them or knock them out, then he would use his bare hands to strangle them.

However, in Brosley’s case, medical examiners were never able to confirm what exactly killed her. By the time a father and his 15-year-old son found Brosley’s body in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Miami on Jan. 24, 1971 during a hunting trip, it had decomposed enough to be unrecognizable, according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s investigations report.

Also, Brosley’s brain still showed an alcohol reading of .29 to .37m which the medical examiner reported if it was the latter, it could’ve been enough to kill her.

But the fact that Brosley was found in a 6 inch deep grave with a portion of one of her legs sticking out made it obvious that someone else was involved. What’s more, according to investigators, Brosley’s mesh panties were put on with both legs through one leg hole.

Miami-Dade Police homicide detective David Denmark interviewed Little about Brosley in 2019. Little told Denmark that Brosley was the first woman he killed. He described her as wearing a colorful sundress and remarked that she wore a necklace he played with while it was hanging around her neck. The coroner’s report confirms Brosley was wearing a long-sleeved v-neck mini-dress with a red, yellow, blue and brown pattern on a white background The necklace was described in the coroner’s report as a large-linked white or yellow necklace with no clasp.

When Little spent days confessing his rapes and murders to investigators, they showed him the necklace Brosley was wearing the night he killed her. Little said he remembered it.

“We believe he choked her to death, Denmark said. “He said he only partially buried her because the ground floor was too hard and he would never bury someone in Florida again because the ground was too hard.”


Brosley’s Family Did Not Know Where She Was Until Her Remains Were Identified in 2018

Mary Brosley

Miami-Dade Police Mary Brosley’s graduation photo.

Brosley’s son grew up always hoping he’d see his mom again. He told the Sun-Sentinel he was raised by a great-aunt and didn’t find out his mother had died until 2017 after her remains were finally identified.

Then he had to find out that she was murdered by a serial killer. He told the Sun-Sentinel the news gave him some closure — at least he knew what had happened to her. But it also left him angry.

Coppolino said it was “an absolute shock” when she was contacted by a detective about her long-missing sister, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. She didn’t know her sister had gone to Florida at all. She told detectives though that she suspected her sister had “met with foul play,” according to the case notes.

Coppolino said initially she was angry when she found out about her sister’s murder and who had done it, but then she said, “but then more pity for him than anything. Pity to think, ‘I don’t know what his background was,’ but to think this man ended up murdering all these women.”

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