(Yahoo) – LOS ANGELES — Regina Morris’s sister had been missing for four years before she saw her again—in a photo taken from the home of an accused serial killer.
In 2009, LAPD homicide detectives showed her one of the hundreds of Polaroids from Lonnie Franklin Jr.’s home in South Los Angeles. Police arrested him on July 7, 2010, accusing him of murdering 10 people and attempting to murder of one survivor.
“The picture they showed me was my sister RoRo,” Morris told The Daily Beast, referring to the nickname she used for her older sister, Rolenia Morris, who was 29 when she disappeared on Sept. 10, 2005.
One detail stuck out from the photograph.
“I looked really close and my sister had a tear in her eye,” she remembered crystally. “That’s the part that I’m really like, I really don’t like talking about this man.”
Franklin, a 63-year-old former LAPD mechanic, is on trial for the murder of 10 women and attempted murder of another. Most of them were black and under the age of 35. Franklin earned the moniker “The Grim Sleeper” after he allegedly took a break from killing in 1988 before he resumed in 2002. (Franklin has pleaded not guilty.)
Morris has no doubt that her sister is one of Franklin’s victims, though RoRo’s body has never been found.
“Without her remains they can’t give him counts for that,” Morris said. “And I feel like that’s wrong. She should be counted for.”
No body also means no real closure.
“So many got to bury their people but I can’t bury my sister,” she said of RoRo, who she thought of as more of a mother than a sister.
“She was the shoulder I leaned on. She took care of me and took me shopping… Her kids are taking it hard. But she also has three grandbabies she’s never seen.”
Then she directed her rage toward Franklin himself.
“I want to put her away the way she would want, not the way you left her.”
It’s unclear just how many victims Franklin might have killed. Based on some survivors who have come forward and photos released by the LAPD from Franklin’s home, the expanded death toll could range from 30 to nearly 200.
In other words, the Grim Sleeper may never have slept.
As the trial began, prosecutor Beth Silverman of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said the accused murderer had an advantage by striking in South Central L.A., which was overrun by gangs and crack cocaine in the 1980s and ’90s.
“Someone who knew where the drug-addicted women and perhaps prostitutes would congregate and who knew how to lure potential victims into the darkness and the isolation of a vehicle through the promise of crack,” Silverman said.
Then she showed what happened next:
A series of gory crime scene photos of some of Franklin’s alleged 10 murder victims, most of whom were stripped, pulverized, raped, and killed by strangulation, gunshot, or both.
The visuals proved too overwhelming for one father.
Despite four eye surgeries and admittedly “blurry” vision, Porter Alexander removed himself from the courtroom as the images were splashed on a monitor.