Dating game serial killer photographs
After Kathy Thornton saw the picture, in 2013, she called the source – Huntington Beach police.
From there, investigations and DNA testing of Thornton’s family eventually tracked the remains to a federal database that included information about a then-unidentified body in Wyoming.
“This wouldn’t be solved if he didn’t have a hunch,” Handy said of Ellis.
“This is a case of a detective who was super passionate.” ALCALA REACTION The new murder charge against Alcala might not change his status.
“I had a gut feeling there were more out there,” said Huntington Beach police Detective Patrick Ellis, who said he played only a small role in the initial investigation but was part of the decision to make the photos public.
The pictures, Ellis added, came with an unspoken message: “Here it is, and here we are.” HOW SHE WAS DISCOVERED One of those photos was of a pretty 20-something woman, wearing a yellow top and flip-flops and looking to be about six months pregnant, sitting atop a Kawasaki 500 motorcycle.
After years of saying he was innocent of murder, Alcala pleaded guilty in 2013 to killing two young women in New York state.
When investigators in Wyoming saw the picture, they didn’t recognize the woman but they did notice the background looked like Wyoming.
They eventually linked that background to a spot near where a woman’s body had been unearthed decades earlier about 6 miles north of I-80, according to the warrant.
In all, about 200 Alcala photos were released to the public by Huntington Beach police in 2010, after Alcala was sentenced to death for five sexual assault slayings committed in the 1970s.
Detectives said Tuesday that they released the photos for that exact purpose – to be seen by people who might be connected to other possible victims.