There were already four bodies to his name when he popped up on national TV, smiling with perfect hair.Rodney Alcala, one of the most infamous serial killers in U. history, would eventually be arrested and sentenced to death in 1980 for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe.Following his 2010 conviction, Huntington Beach Police investigators publicly released a series of photographs of women that was found in Alcala’s Seattle storage locker in 1979, in the hopes of identifying other potential victims.According to Sweetwater County officials, a relative of Thornton who had been searching for her since her 1977 disappearance was looking through those photographs in 2013 when they recognized the young woman.The Seattle, Washington-area storage unit also held earrings that belonged to Alcala’s youngest victim, 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, and which helped link him to the crime.
Anyone with information about the case, particularly anyone in contact with Thornton or Alcala during 1977, is asked to call 307-922- 5295.
Evidence linked Alcala to four other murders while he was awaiting a third trial, but it was not until February 2010 that he was convicted of killing all the woman.
Besides Samsoe, the other victims were Jill Barcomb, 18; Georgia Wixted, 27; Jill Parenteau, 21; and Charlotte Lamb, 18. In some cases Alcala beat them with various blunt objects as well.
He had somehow got on the popular game show The Dating Game despite a 1972 conviction for raping an eight-year-old girl.
Tali Shapiro was raped and beaten with a steel bar, but because her parents refused to let her testify at Alcala's trial, he was paroled in 1974 after spending 34 months in jail on a lesser charge of child molestation. Alcala enjoyed photographing his victims – mostly attractive young women – after murdering them and putting their corpses in distorted, grotesque poses.