Samuel Little Linked to Cold Case Murders of Mary Jo Peyton & Francis Campbell

Samuel Little Caught and Arrested

Getty The FBI has said that Samuel Little is the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Samuel Little told investigators that he killed 93 women over 44-years, leaving behind scores of unsolved cases involving murdered women in multiple states.

In exchange for immunity from the death penalty, Little sat through weeks of interviews with detectives in 2018 where he told detailed stories of the killings he committed and even drew the women’s likenesses.

Some of the confessions led to decades-old cold cases being solved, including the cases of Mary Jo Peyton in Cleveland in 1984 and Frances Campell who was killed the same year in Savannah, Georgia. Both of those cases were only solved when Little started talking to investigators in 2018.


Little Said He Met Mary Jo Peyton at a Bar then Strangled Her & Dumped her Body in a Stairwell

Mary Jo Peyton

TwitterMary Jo Peyton’s cold case was solved when Samuel Little confessed to her murder 35 years after getting away with it.

Mary Jo Peyton’s case took 34 years to solve, and for eight of those years police didn’t even know the name of the woman that was found decaying at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell.

According to Cleveland Magazine, factory workers were trying to find the source of a foul smell when they discovered the body of a woman wearing only “a sandal on her right foot. Her sweater and bra had been pulled around her shoulders. She wore a ring on her right pinkie and was nude from the waist down.”

Investigators tried to identify the woman using her fingerprints, but mistakenly entered her fingerprints to the Cleveland Police database and not the national database. In 1992 a detective realized the mistake and sent her prints to the FBI who got a match, and identified the woman as Mary Jo Peyton.

Peyton had a history of prostitution as early as 18-years-old in 1981, with a few more arrests on that charge over the years according to Cleveland Magazine. Still, there was no cause of death ever determined by the medical examiner.

But the case was solved when Little told investigators what happened the night Peyton was killed.

According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office:

The investigation by CCPO’s Cold Case Unit and Cleveland Bureau of the FBI learned that Little walked into a Cleveland bar one night located near E. 105th St. and Euclid Ave. between May and June 1984.  While at the bar, Little met a 21-year-old woman named Mary Jo Peyton.  After leaving the bar, Little drove her to what appeared to be an abandoned factory and strangled her to death.  To avoid detection by law enforcement, he dragged her body out of the car and threw her down to the bottom of a basement stairwell. On July 3, 1984, two employees of a nearby business discovered her body.


Frances Campbell was Missing For Over a Year After Little Strangled Her & Dumped her Body at a Construction Site

According to WSAV, Little told investigators that he met Campbell at a bar in 1984 and the two left together. Campbell would never be seen alive again. She was missing for an entire year before her body was found at a construction site.

Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap said, “Mr. Little had stated that he left the woman in the 80s after he strangled her on a pile of construction material. Sgt. Robert Santoro (of the Savannah Police Department) found the information, was able to send the picture — site unseen — they sent it out to Mr. Little. They did not tell who it was from, what state, and he identified Frances Campbell.”

The cold case was solved, but with Little already serving life without the possibility of parole in a California State prison for 4 other murders, along with his confessions leading to the resolution of other open cases, Heap told the Savannah Now “there are other jurisdictions ahead of Chatham County, and they’ll have to wait in line,” saying “I don’t know if we’ll ever get him back.”

Campbell’s sister Diane Williams told Savanna Now that she was pregnant with her daughter when Campbell disappeared. She named her child for her sister.

“The last time we saw her, we dropped her off home and she confessed her life to God — hadn’t been to church in years. It’s like she knew something,” Williams said. The year that Campbell was missing culminated in any parent’s worst fear — that their child had been murdered and whoever killed their daughter was running around free as far as they knew.

Willams told Savannah News, “It was very rough, especially for my parents, for my mom. She raised us very well, my dad also. It really just broke her spirit. … It’s bittersweet. It was the not-knowing, and now that we know, it makes a big difference. I wish my parents were alive to see it.”

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