Dating game contestant a serial killer
Looking back through this, it was staring me in the face that … Kathy Thornton didn't know the name Rodney Alcala -- but one day, she would. The other love of Robin's life was her mom, Marianne.It was the spring of 1979 -- Rodney Alcala had been back in California for almost two years and 12-year-old Robin Samsoe was enjoying the Southern California beach life. Marianne Connelly: She was probably the most loving child a mother could have. On June 20, 1979, Robin was going to start her first day of work answering phones at a ballet studio in exchange for lessons. Bridget Wilvurt: And Robin had thrown her beach towel and everything into her bag, and she's like, "Well, I'm going to get going." And I go, "Well, take my bike and don't stop." That was the last time anyone saw Robin alive. But finding Alcala was going to be no simple matter. Three years after his attack on Tali Shapiro, Alcala's dark side once again emerged. Steve Braccini: Obviously the cause of death is strangulation. The police focused in on Cornelia's murder, but with almost 2,000 killings in New York in 1971 investigators could not close the case. He landed a job as a counselor at an arts and drama camp for girls. Rodney Alcala was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1943. At 17, Alcala enlisted in the Army, but there were problems: allegations of sexual misconduct and a nervous breakdown. Steve Braccini | Former cold case detective, NYPD: The military realized in 1963 that they had him … In 1969, the FBI put Rodney Alcala on its Most Wanted List. None of his fellow students suspected that their popular classmate had a double life which had the makings of a film itself -- a horror film. There's something stuffed in her mouth, obviously to keep her from screaming. After the murder, he changed his name to John Berger and moved to New Hampshire.Steve Braccini: Based on the autopsy, they declared it a homicide. A fellow that they believe was the last person that she was seen with. Ellen had written his alias, "John Berger" in her calendar. Christine and her boyfriend had a stormy relationship. Soon after Christine disappeared, Kathy Thornton began searching for answers.Alcala, meanwhile, had left New York and was on his meandering road trip back to California. In the spring of 1977, Christine was heading to Montana with her boyfriend to pan for gold. Kathy Thornton: She let my mom know that she was going to be having a baby … She undertook a systematic effort to track Christine and her boyfriend's whereabouts that would last almost 40 years -- through marriage, motherhood, divorce and a career.Matt Murphy: His parole officer saw that and -- and called the detectives and said, "Look, there's a guy that used to be on my caseload. His name is Rodney Alcala."It had been nearly 11 years since Alcala had left 8-year-old Tali Shapiro for dead. He lived with his mother in Monterey Park, a stone's throw from the mountains where Robin's remains were located. That he -- nobody could account for his whereabouts at that time. Rodney Alcala was arrested on July 24 and charged with the kidnap and murder of Robin Samsoe. Pat Ellis | Huntington Beach Police Dept.: At one point he mentions him having a storage locker in Seattle, Washington, that the cops don't know about. Matt Murphy: So at that point, those are all the nuts and bolts that you need for a successful prosecution.
It was bad news for the New York cops who already had their hands full. I didn't think anything of it until a couple weeks -- until it hit the newspapers.Police say a photographer and one-time contestant on "The Dating Game" was also a chameleon and a serial killer -- perhaps the deadliest in U. history -- and investigators are unsure if they will ever know how many victims he left behind In Los Angeles in 1968, 8-year-old Tali Shapiro was walking to school when a car pulled up alongside her. And I had received a call, a beige-colored car with no license plates following this little girl. And they looked up and said, "Oh my gosh, that's Mr. He took the deal, but the judge's sentence stunned those working the case. and the parole board let him go after 34 months after what he did to Tali Shapiro.Chris Camacho | Former detective, LAPD: I was out doing my patrols. Steve Hodel | Former detective, LAPD: A Good Samaritan, a witness, sees the little girl, the little 8-year-old Tali get in the car. Camacho began frantically searching the house for her attacker. So less than three years later, Rodney Alcala was a free man again.Thinks it's suspicious, follows him, and puts a call into LAPD. I need to talk to you." This male appeared at the door. We could see in the kitchen that there was a body on the floor, lot of blood. A.: They say a picture says a thousand words and that image of those little white Mary Janes on that floor with that metal bar that he used to strangle her with, and that puddle of blood, it just looks like too much blood to come out of a-- a tiny little 8-year-old like that. Moments later, he walked back into the kitchen and witnessed a miracle. Matt Murphy: Had it not been for that police officer, Tali Shapiro would have died on Rodney Alcala's kitchen floor. There was a lot of photograph equipment and all of us were amazed at the amount of photographs that he had there of young girls, very young girls. With Alcala in the wind, former Detective Steve Hodel was grasping at thin air. Back then, you know, we didn't have a lot of the forensics you have today. Chris Camacho: I was flabbergasted to say the least. And Alcala had no trouble charming his way back into the swing of things. And he was a registered sex offender during all of that, and nobody ever checked.Former Los Angeles Police Officer Chris Camacho reached the location and knocked on the door. I will always remember that face at that door, very evil face. I got to get dressed." And I told him, "OK, you got 10 seconds." … Chris Camacho: She was gagging and trying to breathe, and I thought one for the good guys. We found a lot of ID, picture ID of a Rodney Alcala. The suspect, 25-year-old Rodney Alcala, had slipped through the officers' fingers. Matt Murphy: He was hired by the Los Angeles Times to work … Even worse, he was chosen to be a contestant on "The Dating Game" TV show -"The Bachelor" of its day.