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Jul 15, 2010

Did the Grim Sleeper visit Belize?

lonnie franklin

The Grim Sleeper is the name given to a serial killer in Los Angeles, California, believed to be responsible for ten murders; the victims were primarily prostitutes. Lonnie Franklin was caught earlier this week and is currently in jail awaiting trial. But there was a period when Franklin appeared inactive in the US; that timeframe coincides with a phase when a number of young girls were killed in Belize. Can there be a connection to the unsolved murders since Franklin has ties to Belize? News Five’s Jose Sanchez has been looking for answers and has this story.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

An American serial killer who was recently caught in the Los Angeles area once had strong ties to Belize. Lonnie Franklin, dubbed the Grim Sleeper, was caught through his son’s DNA.  But Franklin was married for decades to Sylvia Castillo, a Belizean.  Could Franklin have been involved in the 1990’s murders of seven young girls in Belize? That is a question that the Belize Police Department is trying to figure out.

Doug Singh, Minister of Police

doug singh

“We will try to get information as to Mr. Franklin’s movement to see if he was in Belize during that period. There is a pattern. He’s called the Grim Sleeper because he has a period where there was no evidence of murders committed in the U.S. that fits his MO. The period matches a period in Belize when those murders were committed. There are about twenty plus murders that the Grim Sleeper is a suspect of, and he’s being charged with ten of those murders.  The victims in those murders were mostly female.  I think there was just one male.  Female, in most cases they were a bit older and involved in prostitution.

Another prostitute, Princess Berthomieux vanished on December twenty-first, 2001, and her naked and beaten body was found three months later with signs of strangulation.  Princess’ death came as the killer rose from his grim decade of sleep.  She was only fourteen years old.

Doug Singh, Minister of Police

“I think there was a fourteen year old princess something, and may have also been a prostitute. The murders in Belize were a slightly lower age group. I believe younger eight years old and about thirteen years old.”

Jose Sanchez

With his targets were willing to go with him because of drugs or prostitution, in Belize that wouldn’t have been easy for him to find?

Doug Singh

“Indeed, Indeed. We’re looking at it from any angle. The first thing is to determine if he was in Belize during that period because the sleeping period, the Grim Sleeper’s hiatus period in the U.S.  There is a pattern where at least the beginning part of that hiatus pattern was during when the murders were occurring in Belize. The first murder was miss Nicholas or Nicholson, I think. It occurred in the late 1998 if I’m not mistaken. I believe that was the first murder.”

The child murders in Belize occurred during the Grim Sleeper’s absence.  In 1998   Sherilee Nicholas and Samantha Gordon were the first two victims.  In 1999 Jackie Malic, Becky Gilharry, Jay Blades, Erica Wills, and Karen Cruz were killed. The youngest victim was nine and the eldest was fifteen, one year older than Princess Berthomieux.  Adelma Malic recalled the morning when her sister, Jackie disappeared.

adelma malic

Adelma Malic, Sister of Murder Victim

“The afternoon we suppose to go home for lunch and the teacher says that one of our friend’s, which the girl that we walk with every morning, she says that  this guy stopped outside the yard and told her to ask for my sister, that he want to see my sister, and she went and she didn’t come back. That was the afternoon. The fourth day they found her 8 miles at the memorial. She was, she had multiple stab wounds.  They drove over her and her left arm was missing. My sister got killed in 1999. Her name was Jackie Malic. We need to find out if Mr. Franklin came to Belize in 1999.”

Jose Sanchez

Sylvia Franklin, her name was Castillo before getting married.  Do you think members of the Castillo co me forward to say whether or not Mr. Franklin has come here?

Adelma Malic,

“When I was a little child like, small, I lived at Neal Penn Road. We have neighbors who were Castillo.”

Crispin Jeffries, Commissioner of Police

crispin jeffries

“The information that he is married to a Belizean is sufficient for us to  begin look at it and we have started that. There is much information being shared amongst police officers. Senior investigators and intelligence officers has been tasked to look at what his out here. And as soon as we’re satisfied that there is enough to go on. We will be looking at our counterparts in the United States, especially those in the FBI who we have information to work with. We have the files in respect to all those child murders in a special place to look at nad we’ll be looking at those things. There may have been some information. There was some effort to collect DNA samples and all those things will become a part of what we do.”

Jose Sanchez

This morning I spoke to a sister of one of the victims, Jackie Malic’s. I told her the name of the wife was Sylvia Castillo. I asked her if there were any Castillo’s in the area where quite a number of Castillo’s that lived down the street from where she lived when she was eleven years old. Is that something of interest?”

Crispin Jeffries

That is of interest to us and we will check on it.”

Another important detail that officers will find interesting is the blue and white van believed to be used in one of the Grim Sleeper murders 1987.  A 911 caller reported seeing a suspect move a body from the van, later identified to be Barbara Ware.   No evidence could be lifted from the van at the time. A U.S. detective said that a search of DMV records indicated that the van was sold and sent to Belize.

Adelma Malic, sister of murder victim

“I think, I don’t think my sister deserved to die that way. But if anybody sees anything, hears anything, or whatever, just come and call Channel Five or the police. I don’t think that is impossible but say something. Those girls did not deserve to die that way.”

Reporting for News Five Jose Sanchez

In Los Angeles, neighbours say they never suspected Franklin to be the Grim Sleeper and described him as just another person on the block.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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29 Responses for “Did the Grim Sleeper visit Belize?”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    I hope this woman did not choose to look the other way & allowed that animal to go home with her to lie low after the police questioned him years ago. If she did, she needs to be prosecuted.

    Most Americans cannot find Belize on a map, the van ending up in Belize & the child having neighbors with that last name is cause for suspicion. I think it’s time to shake up some of those adults that are a part of the Castillo family to find out what they knew or suspected & how much he paid them to shut up.

  2. maddyvandijk says:

    I would not be surprised if the search on this monster revealed that he had much to do with those children that was murdered in Belize.
    Check airports records, neighbours, family, borders, do anything that is needed to bring some closure to famalies of these murdered victims.

    Sylvia if you are watching, or listening to the crys from Belize I urge you to come forward and help the police with this case.

    I think you owe it to the Belizean kids to help solve this case in Belize, no one is blaming you for what he did.

  3. Proud Belizean says:

    Well said maddyvandijk. Its time for Belize to unite for this cause…

  4. Charlie says:

    In 1999 Michael Williams was charged with Jackie Malic’s murder. What happended to that situation????

  5. Empress says:

    this man don’t need no kind of court action take him torcher him let him speak and after that kill him and that woman he live with she must know what was going on she need to be torch the same way and get them out of the world………..

  6. Concern belizean says:

    I agree with what u both are saying. I strongly believe Sylvia is involved too, not to point fingers but she probably is the one who convinced to go into the vehicle. If anyone now anything please come forward for these families to get closure and have a heart.

  7. common sense says:

    Discussing this a while back – theorized that the serial killer is either a cop, politician or a sick american…..sadly, it looks like this theory may be correct. Years have flown by, no answers, someone is covering something. Justice will come, either in this life or judgement day.

    Allah strengthen the parents of the missing children, provide closure and justice in this life at least.

  8. Ang says:

    You know I am residing in US rt now and when I saw it on the news that he had been here the same premonition crossed my mind a bit eerie.

  9. Urban Skr3am says:

    nice spelling of FAMILIES maddyvandijk

  10. Urban Skr3am says:

    I do agree with you though, its time for the police department to start acting on REAL leads and stop roaming the town and CHASING crime, instead of stopping them… (sorry for double post)

  11. hmmm says:

    Serial Killer update: police took 650 items from his house and vehicles from his house and wife’s house. authorities will reinterview the wife soon. then we will know if Belize and Lonnie crossed paths.

  12. RedBwai says:

    He sounds like Jack to me, if he sent his van to Belize and was involved with a Belizean citizen then i’m pretty sure he has been here one too many times. Nowadays all the psycho Americans are being found here in Belize anyways so this doesn’t surprise me on bit…

  13. Jason Guerrero says:

    I too have been following the case in Los Angeles. It is imperative that investigators pursue this lead with utmost detail so as to present the strongest case possible. On it’s face it appears that this animal named Franklin may be the best suspect thus far. I am concerned however of the differences in the way his victims in L.A. were killed: they were shot. The modus operandi seems to differ between the two countries. Most of his victims in L.A. were working prostitutes who were shot as opposed to the primary school-aged children who were stabbed/blugeoned in Belize. Off course there is a chance he changed his modus operandi given the difficulty in finding prostitutes in BZ. One similiarity I found is that many of his victims were apparently from the region of Western Avenue while here in BZ most victims were from Queen Square.

  14. Envy says:

    @ Jason Guerrero. I must agree with u. I noticed the same things but my thoughts were that maybe with the slim possibilities of him finding prostitutes in Belize it was young girls. He was a bit older. With young girls his fight may not have been as hard with. With older women and prostitutes @ that they were possibly a harder target. Prostitutes are use 2 the streets and tricks they may have had weapons and he knew that. With younger girls they were unsuspecting. Just my thoughts… Regardless, I’ll be following the case. I’d like 2 c how the American police will handle this.

  15. belizean says:

    Sick..Sick..Sick…..poor children who perished in the hands of this monster…Thank you God who sees all things he will surely not get away not from the hands of his maker…..

  16. tim says:

    send he …z dah belize and let’s torture him to death!

  17. hmmmm says:

    Even if he didn’t kill these particular girls in Belize. Anyone that was killed during a trip to Belize should be investigated to see if Lonnie was close enough. He is called A SERIAL for a good reason.

  18. what says:

    Not sure but I heard that the Grim Sleeper is from Belize, he came to the US when he was eight years old. So, not only was her married to a Belize woman, but he is from Belize. I would definately look into where and if this psycho ever travel to Belize.

  19. Elgin Martinez says:

    Eye for an Eye dah weh the Grim Sleepa need.

  20. soso says:

    My heart goes out to the victims families. And victims. God bless you. Lonnie was my neighbor and was around my kids alot. He was alwas kind and good. Hes not a monster i believe they have the wrong man. Innocent until proven guilty. God bless you.

  21. HomeJustice says:

    If he kills,he must die.Let justice live.Anywhere in the world you kill someone.They should kill you
    in the most cruel way.Cut of the hands you kill with,then the feet and body part slowly.So that
    creature of the devil die in pain for his evil doing.Am talking to you Grim Sleepa.Belize is my home
    and all Belizean children are our Children.You must pay for this.

  22. Gods Love says:

    This man may well be innocent! Shame on you all! The truth will come out but for Gods love lets hear the facts before we fly off the handle accousing people. These are horrible crimes and if after hearing the facts then we understand. I know Lonnie and he has been around my kids lots and he has small grandkids he is a good man not a monster. God bless all the victims and their families. May God give you Peace and reveal the truth to us all.

  23. gods beloveth says:

    To SoSo with all that has been brought forth (Evidence) you have the nerves to say he’s innocent you need help too god sits high and looks low. Have you lost your mind too wow. You need to have a talk with a real man (God)

  24. soso says:

    To Gods beloved i actually know Lonnie and you dont! So you can tell your lips to hold your tongue. He never hurt me or my kids and he is a good man what if the DNA evidence is wrong ! I know God you hypocrite do you? God is going to judge you just like you judge Lonnie. You dont even know the facts talking out of the part of you where the brown stinky comes out. Shame on you .

  25. yes yes says:

    we can definitely but that predator on the spot theres sufficient evidence to put him in those killings hope the police work on it and dont just speak about it.

  26. beli says:

    why h asn’t the police found out the information about lonnie franklin’s trip to Belize as yet?

  27. sharonbze says:

    First i would like to say these are the reasons belize is so back wards. Doug Singh cant even get the victim names correct. Shame on you. As for jefferies. Sayin that the evidence is in a “special place”. That i dont believe. They were dragging their feet from the beginning. Authorities could have found out along time ago about this. I watch law and order. I knew it was a foreigner. The families need closure. Now the stupidest thing i notice is that they asking the victim if they knew any castillo..dont u stupid @$$ police ever heard of random killings. It cud be he was just cruising looking for victims. My advice…to belizeans all over. Research who u r with. Ms castillo must have seen signs. A angry person like franklin must have showed signs. He killed those girls brutally so she would have seen something. If she did know, she is just as guilty for bringing an wild animal and let it loose on our innocent children.

  28. sharonbze says:

    @ soso and gods love. U can take up for the grim sleeper all u want. Put ur head on the block for him man! See if it no get chop off. That ugly @$$ ……..er. he need to be hanged. A coward. His victims are drug addicted prostitutes and kids. I hope he knows what they will do to him in jail. And he deserve it.

  29. My Business says:

    He walked up our street one day in 1972-73 and Sid he needs to change his name. He’s got a lot of names and property. He had anyway. They took all of it where he was burying people on it.

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