Suspect in 1994 cold case indicted on murder charge

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A man has confessed to the killing of a woman in Odessa back in 1994, according to a release from the Ector County District Attorney’s Office. 

Officials say Samuel McDowell confessed to the killing of Denise Christie Brothers in 1994.

According to a listing on the Odessa Crime Stoppers website, Brothers was found dead in a vacant lot about two blocks away from where she was last seen. 

The case had gone cold for investigators in Odessa. However, in 2012 a breakthrough occurred, according to the LA Times, when the U.S. Marshals took McDowell into custody in Kentucky on an unrelated criminal warrant and was extradited back to California. 

While in LA, McDowell was charged with three counts of murder in connection with the deaths of three women in the 1908’s, the LA Times report reads. 

McDowell was serving a life sentence and was most recently being held in Wise County, Texas after being named a suspect in a cold case murder in the county. This case also dates back to the 1908’s, according to the Wise County Messenger.

Since he arrived in Wise County, investigators from across the country have reportedly visited him. 

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said in a news release that McDowell has been cooperating with law enforcement on a number of murder investigations that span from 1970 to 2005, 

The Ector County DA also noted that through the work of the Rangers, the FBI and the Department of Justice, law enforcement were able to obtain information about, “the murders of women across the country from Samuel McDowell AKA Samuel Little,” a release reads. 

Thus far, Sheriff Akin says McDowell has provided details on more than 90 murder investigations. 

An indictment charging McDowell with murder was returned by an Ector County grand jury in July, according to the release from the Ector County DA’s Office. 

Officials say investigators from Texas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, California, Indiana, Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, the FBI and the DOJ are pursuing cases in their respective jurisdictions. 

For now, McDowell will be held in Wise County after a mutual agreement was made with officials in Ector County, according to a release. 

The DA went on to say in the release that McDowell could be, “confirmed as one of, if not the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history.”

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