MCSO detectives close 36-year-old cold case
Today in Marion County — theres one less cold case on the Sheriff’s Office Books. There's still more than 30 left...but one more family has closure.
Rosie Hill, who was 21 years old at the time, was seen leaving a bar with a stranger, and was never seen alive again. Four days after she went missing, Rosie Hill’s body was found off of County Road 326.
Her murderer, Samuel Little was found days later in Alachua County, and had Rosie Hill’s clothes in his car, but he was never charged with her murder.
Little traveled the country, killing women from Florida to California. Since he was incarcerated in 2013, he has given information to detectives about more than 80 murders he says he committed.
"We got together in 2003, with several other agencies from across the state and country," said detective Michael Mongeluzzo, a Sergeant with the MCSO Major Crimes Unit, "And discussed everybody's cases, it was determined that Samuel Little was a suspect in more than just Rosie Hill, there was 20 more cases that he was responsible for. It's reported that there could be possible over 90, but right now he said there was 84."
When Mongeluzzo asked Little why he did it — he said "God put him on this earth to murder Rosie Hill."
"I feel elated, specifically for the family," Mongeluzzo said, "I know this has been on their minds since august 16th, 1982. Today I spoke with them and hopefully this gives them some closure."
Little is serving three life sentences right now. He is 78 years old. Due to his age, he will not be charged with this murder.
Rosie hill’s family never lived in Ocala, they live in Memphis, Tennessee. After 36 years of wondering, they finally have closure.
Full marion county press release:
Marion County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives have closed the 1982 homicide case of Rosie Hill (DOB: 01/13/1962) after serial killer Samuel Little (AKA Samuel McDowell) confessed to her murder. Little, 78, is currently serving three life sentences without the possibility of parole for the violent deaths of three California women he murdered in the 1980s. Since his incarceration, Little has provided information on more than 90 murders that he’s committed during his travels across the nation, including Rosie Hill in Ocala, Florida.
On Monday, August 16, 1982, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Rosie Hill’s remains were discovered in a wooded area off of County Road 326 in the vicinity of a hog pen. During the investigation, it was determined that Rosie was either strangled or suffocated by her attacker. Several witnesses came forward saying that Rosie left a bar with an unknown male and was not seen again. The witnesses gave a description of the suspect and his vehicle, which matched Little’s. In December 1982, Little was arrested for the attempted murder, aggravated assault and rape of two prostitutes in Pascagoula, Mississippi. MCSO detectives interviewed Little there and he claimed that he did not know Rosie and he invoked his right to an attorney.
MCSO detectives did not have enough evidence at the time to charge Little with Rosie’s murder and ultimately, he was never charged in the Pascagoula case. In 1983, Little was arrested and ultimately acquitted, in Alachua County, Florida for the homicide of Patricia Mounts. After his acquittal, Little continued his killing spree and ended up in the state of California, where he was arrested in 2012 for three homicides that occurred in the late 1980’s.
As a result of the California trials, Samuel Little received three life sentences and in 2013, several law enforcement agencies from around the country, including the MCSO, met to discuss unsolved murders, specifically those involving females in the 70’s and 80’s. On October 9, 2018, MCSO Major Crimes Detective Sergeant Michael Mongeluzzo traveled to the Wise County Jail in Decatur, Texas, where Little was incarcerated. During their interview, Little confessed to killing Rosie Hill and dumping her body. Additionally, Little told Sgt. Mongeluzzo that he killed Rosie because God put him on this earth to do it.
Due to his three life sentences and recent indictment in the state of Texas for murder, the MCSO and the State Attorney’s Office for the Fifth Judicial District will not be pursuing murder charges against Little in the death of Rosie Hill. Little was recently extradited from California, and has been charged with the 1994 murder of Denise Christie Brothers that occurred in Odessa, Texas. He is currently being held in the Ector County Jail in Odessa.