How LA Law Stalked the Elusive Grim Sleeper Serial Killer
For two decades he brutally murdered dozens of prostitutes and other women on the society’s margins. Here's a look at Christine Pelisek's book about the manhunt and the victims.
So many celebrities have passed through the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, you’d think the city of stars would have located it in a better part of town. Instead the next to final resting place for the likes of John Belushi, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson is at the end of a rundown row of auto-body shops and cheap taco joints, two miles east of downtown.
On a cold morning in January 2006, I parked Maude Jr., my beat-up red ’94 Toyota Tercel, in the office lot and headed into the coroner’s investigative division hoping for my next big headline, but already resigned to leaving empty-handed. Once inside the wood-paneled lobby, I buzzed the reception desk.
“I’m here to see Assistant Chief Winter,” I told the receptionist. Five minutes later, she let me in. I didn’t need directions to the office of Ed Winter. As a crime reporter for the L.A. Weekly, an alternative paper modeled on New York’s Village Voice, I had been there many times, following up on gang murders, robberies gone awry, organized crime hits, and the like. The unluckiest victims always wound up here. So did the bodies of departed Hollywood celebrities and has-beens. With more than fifty dead people a day passing through the busiest coroner’s office in the U.S., there was usually a story to be told, if Winter was in the mood to tell it.