Akron mother murdered in 1991 was victim of serial killer Samuel Little

The Lorain native has confessed to killing 93 people, including 7 from Ohio, between 1970 and 2005.

Akron mother murdered in 1991 was victim of serial killer Samuel Little

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Police now confirm the 1991 slaying of an Akron woman was at the hands of convicted serial killer Samuel Little.

Roberta Tandarich was a 34-year-old mother of two when she went missing on Sept. 1, 1991.

Her body was discovered in a wooded area of the Firestone Metro Park on Sept. 30, 1991.

Little, who is from Lorain, has confessed to killing 93 people between 1970 and 2005, including a woman in Akron. In March, he drew a sketch of his victim inscribed with the words “Akron Left In Woods 1990-1."

Samuel Little's sketch of a woman he says he killed in Akron in 1991.
Samuel Little's sketch of a woman he says he killed in Akron in 1991. (Source: CBS News)

On Thursday, Akron Police Captain David Laughlin told 19 News that the statement provided by Little regarding Tandarich’s death is consistent with the information they have from the initial investigators.

“If anyone in the public witnessed anything, or heard anything from someone who was a witness, it would be of value to supplement the investigation," Laughlin wrote in an email.

According to investigators, Tandarich’s cause of death was not determined. Shortly after her body was found, detectives told the Beacon Journal Tandarich’s remains were going to be taken to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. where forensic anthropologists could try to determine how she died.

Capt. Laughlin said based on the information they have from Little, “DNA technology is not being considered at this time.”

In Cleveland, Little has confessed to killing 21-year-old Mary Jo Peyton in 1984 and 32-year-old Rose Evans in 1991.

Mary Jo Peyton and Rose Evans were murdered in Cleveland by convicted serial killer Samuel Little.
Mary Jo Peyton and Rose Evans were murdered in Cleveland by convicted serial killer Samuel Little. (Source: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office)

Little has also confessed to killing another woman in Cleveland in the late 1970s and dumping her body in a wooded area off of a highway about 30 minutes outside of the city.

That woman has been matched to a Jane Doe found in 1983 off of I-271 in Willoughby Hills. The case remains under investigation.

On Sunday, the FBI confirmed Little is “most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.” He is currently serving three life sentences for murders out in California in the 1980s.

Little has pleaded guilty to four cases of murder here in Ohio. He will avoid the death penalty as a part of his agreement to confess to his killings.

Little grew up in Lorain and started out his life as a petty criminal, carrying out shoplifting and robbery offenses. He later began strangling and killing prostitutes and drug addicts - women he said wouldn’t be missed by society.

“For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims,” said FBI Crime Analyst Christie Palazzolo. “Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim—to close every case possible.”

At least seven of the 93 victims he has confessed to killing were from Ohio. However, one of those confessions has not been confirmed by law enforcement.

Little claims to have killed a 25-year-old woman he met outside of a strip club in Columbus in 1984. He says she approached him and asked for a ride to Miami, Florida, saying her mother lived there.

Little said he took the woman from Columbus to Cincinnati, killed her and dumped her in Covington, Kentucky on a dirt road on a hill.

“When I left her up in there, in that little road up there on the side of the road, she was like partially concealed by the vegetation,” Little said.

Little remembers the victim as being 5’6” - 5’7” tall and 130-170 pounds, and describes her as having short blonde hair and blue eyes with a “hippie” appearance.

Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1984. Met victim in Columbus, Ohio. Body disposed of somewhere in Northern Kentucky (city unspecified).
Unmatched Confession: White female killed in 1984. Met victim in Columbus, Ohio. Body disposed of somewhere in Northern Kentucky (city unspecified).

If you have any information, you can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

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