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But first, she planned to play on the beach for a few hours with Bridget. " And man, he -- he took that camera, turned his head down, and you could almost see like smoke coming off his dress shoes. Robin's ballet teacher called when she did not arrive for her lesson later that day. Marianne Connelly: It was probably the most horrifying time of all, you know, not knowing.
Matt Murphy: From all outward appearances Rodney Alcala was a handsome, charming, smart young man -- that wouldn't hurt a fly.I mean he -- he honed in on us, like, really like a -- like a shark in the water, honing in on a seal. Bridget Wilvurt: And I -- I said -- I go, "it was the man, that man that took our picture." On July 2, 12 days after Robin last said goodbye to her friend and rode off on her bike, a fire crew found the body of a child.Marianne Connelly: I said, "Let's go see her." He said, "We can't do that." I said, "That's my baby, of course, I'm going to see her. " He said, "Because it took us three days to identify her." I said, "What's wrong with you people?Mary Ellen O'Toole | Former FBI profiler: He was constantly in predatory mode. that is behavior that involves hunting human beings and that's part of a serial sexual killer. is often as exciting as the actual homicide and sexual assault. Kathy Thornton contacted police departments, federal agencies and hospitals. Kathy Thornton: This is a letter I sent to the FBI.At the same time Rodney Alcala was on the road, a 29-year-old woman from Texas, Christine Ruth Thornton, was traveling through the West with her boyfriend. In 1989 I contacted the Department of Human Services …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.In 1977, Rodney Alcala was out of prison and living in New York.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. Leon Borstein |Cornelia's boyfriend: She had a beautiful face. Leon Borstein: I was living with her temporarily while she was getting her own apartment -- right around the corner -- to share with another stewardess. When Borstein came home from work, he was surprised to find her door locked. Melissa Mourges | Manhattan prosecutor: When her boyfriend -- was trying to reach her, and was unable -- the police came. Prosecutor Melissa Mourges was struck by the ferocious nature of the killing. We didn't have the forensic tools that we have – today … Matt Murphy: Two girls went to their local post office and they looked and there was Rodney Alcala's photo on the FBI Ten Most Wanted list. With no main witness, prosecutors had no choice but to offer Alcala a deal: plead guilty to a lesser charge of child molestation and register as a sex offender. Matt Murphy: Rodney Alcala after raping and -- and almost killing Tali Shapiro, he fled to New York. JUNE 1971 His next victim: Cornelia Michael Crilley, a 23-year-old flight attendant for TWA. Martha Bashford | Manhattan prosecutor: They had no real leads. There, he made a lasting impression on the campers. I get a phone call from the FBI saying we've got your man in custody. Police in California were eager to charge him for Tali Shapiro's brutal assault, but her family had left the country.