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Authorities seek help identifying people in serial killer's photos

From Gabriel Falcon, AC360
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Serial killer had photo stash
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of portrait-style photos found in Rodney Alcala's storage unit
  • Authorities suspect some of the subjects could be victims of Alcala
  • Alcala was convicted of murdering child, four women from 1977 to June 1979

(CNN) -- Hoping to solve numerous cold cases, authorities on Thursday released more than a hundred photos of unidentified women and children found in a storage unit that belonged to a serial killer who appeared on "The Dating Game."

Investigators are trying to determine if some of the people in the pictures were victims of Rodney Alcala, 66, who was convicted in February of murdering a child and four women between November 1977 and June 1979.

A jury this week recommended a death sentence for Alcala, who appeared on the popular dating show in 1978 as Bachelor No. 1.

"We balanced the privacy concerns of those depicted in the decision to release these pictures," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement. "Although we hope that the people depicted are not victims, we believe the release may help solve some cold cases and bring closure to victims' families."

Contact Information
Anyone with information regarding the identities of the women and children in the photographs is asked to contact Huntington Beach Police at 714-375-5066 or the Orange County District Attorney's Office at 714-347-8492.

See all the photos

A few pictures of men were also found among the portrait-style photos that were discovered in a storage unit that Alcala kept in Seattle, Washington, said Susan Kang Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. The locker also contained earrings that belonged to 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, who Alcala abducted and killed in 1979, Schroeder said.

The discovery of the earring in the locker has raised speculation that there may be other victims or that the photographs were trophies to Alcala, she said.

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"The idea is to figure out if these are other victims that belong to other cold cases and if they are we can hopefully bring some closure to these victims' families," she said. "We know that Mr. Alcala used his photography as a ruse to get close to his victims."

Authorities already believe that Alcala may be responsible for deaths in New York, Schroeder said.

"It's very possible," Schroeder said. "Mr. Alcala is a predatory monster and we believe that he destroyed many lives everywhere he went."

According to the Orange County District Attorney, Alcala was convicted in 1972 of kidnapping and molesting a child in Los Angeles County in 1968. After serving a 34-month sentence, he was released.

In November 1977, Alcala raped, sodomized and murdered Jill Barcomb, an 18-year-old New Yorker who had recently moved to California, the district attorney said.

"The defendant used a large rock to smash in the victim's face, causing blunt force trauma, and strangled her to death by tying her belt and pant leg around her neck. He then left the victim's body in a mountainous area in the foothills near Hollywood."

The body was discovered soon after, and biological evidence was collected, but DNA technology was not yet available to find her killer.

The following month, Alcala raped, sodomized and murdered 27-year-old nurse Georgia Wixted, according to the district attorney. "The defendant used the claw end of a hammer to beat the victim and smash in her head. He strangled her to death using a nylon stocking and left her body in her Malibu apartment," according to the district attorney's Web site.

Again the body was discovered and biological evidence was collected, but no link was made to Alcala.

All this occurred before Alcala charmed "Dating Game" contestant Cheryl Bradshaw in 1988. Though Bradshaw chose Alcala as her date, she reportedly refused to go out with him.

Alcala may have appeared likable to viewers at home, but Bachelor No. 2, Jed Mills, said he was the complete opposite when they sat together in the green room before the show.

Mills said he had an almost immediate aversion to Alcala.

"Something about him, I could not be near him," Mills recalled. "He was very obnoxious and creepy -- he became very unlikable and rude and imposing as though he was trying to intimidate. I wound up not only not liking this guy ... not wanting to be near him ... he got creepier and more negative. He was a standout creepy guy in my life."

Mills said he still has a difficult time discussing Alcala.

"Just talking about it, I get a tightness in my stomach," he said, "It kind of sinks in slowly. What this guy did, it's hard to express. He kind of haunts me a bit."

Two more slayings followed the year after Alcala appeared on the show. In June 1979, he raped and killed 21-year-old Jill Parenteau in her Burbank apartment, the district attorney said.

"The defendant strangled the victim to death using a cord or nylon. Alcala's blood was collected from the scene after he cut himself crawling through a window. Based on a semi-rare blood match, Alcala was linked to the murder," the district attorney's Web site said.

Though he was charged with killing Parenteau, the case was dismissed after his first conviction in the Samsoe case.

In that case, Alcala approached a 12-year-old at the beach in Huntington Beach and asked her to pose for pictures, after which she rode off on her bicycle toward a dance class, the district attorney said.

She did not make it. "The defendant kidnapped and murdered Samsoe and dumped her body near Sierra Madre in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains," the district attorney's Web site said.

Alcala was convicted for Samsoe's murder in 1980 and sentenced to receive the death penalty, but the conviction was overturned by the California Supreme Court.

A second trial in 1986 resulted in a death sentence, but it was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As he awaited a third trial, Alcala's DNA was linked to the murder scenes of Barcomb, Wixted and Lamb. He was charged with the four Los Angeles murders, including Parenteau's.

Anyone with information regarding the identities of the women and children in the photographs found in Alcala's storage locker is asked to contact Huntington Beach Police at 714-375-5066 or the Orange County District Attorney's Office at 714-347-8492.

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