Photos dating game killer
Police have been overwhelmed with calls since they released more than 100 photos found in a serial killer's storage locker, more than 30-year-old pictures of unidentified girls and women in bell bottoms, bikinis and Farrah Fawcett hair.They look like long-lost sisters, mothers and daughters to bereaved callers across the country and from as far away as Denmark.Police have gotten more than 400 phone calls in a little more than a week.The photos had been in the possession of Rodney Alcala, who has been in custody since 1979 and was recently convicted of murdering four young women and a 12-year-old girl. Prosecutors say Alcala used his camera to lure his victims, and he was seen taking pictures of the girl before she disappeared.They fear some of the unidentified people in the photos released last week may have fallen victim to Alcala as well."The first thing is, 'Oh, my God, I hope these girls are OK,' and the next thing is, 'I wonder if any of them are victims.' Everyone has that question," prosecutor Matt Murphy said.
One photo shows a baby in a saggy diaper toddling near the shoreline, and another shows two young children in swimsuits washing off in an open-air shower on the beach.Detectives have withheld about 900 pictures because they are too sexually explicit, while others have been cropped for release, said Huntington Beach police Capt. He said he didn't know why his predecessors didn't release the photos years ago.Releasing the pictures during Alcala's recent trial could have influenced the jury pool or could have jeopardized the verdict and death penalty recommendation on appeal.Chasing leads Alcala was previously convicted and sentenced to death twice for the murder of Samsoe, but both convictions were overturned on appeal.In 2006, investigators refiled the case and linked Alcala to four previously unsolved murders from Los Angeles County using DNA technology and other forensic evidence.During the latest trial, prosecutors outlined Alcala's penchant for torturing his victims: One had been raped with a claw-toothed hammer, another had her skull smashed in with a 7-inch rock and one was strangled so fiercely the pressure broke bones.Several of the victims were posed nude in sexual positions after their deaths.A jury convicted Alcala, a 66-year-old UCLA graduate, of five counts of first-degree murder last month and took just an hour to return a recommendation of death after the penalty phase earlier this month.Alcala, who represented himself at trial, did not respond to a request for a jailhouse interview about the newly released photos.Police are now chasing leads from Seattle to Phoenix to Orange County, Calif. are also combing through cold cases, looking for similarities between their unsolved murders or missing persons reports and Alcala's victims.Even before the photos were released, Alcala was a suspect in several cases in New York City, where he lived from 1968 to 1971, and in New Hampshire, Murphy said. 'Absolutely horrible' Detectives are fielding heart-wrenching calls from mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of women who disappeared years ago, never to have their killer found.