HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. Relatives and friends of four women who have been missing since the 1970s told investigators they recognized their loved ones in photos found in the locker of a convicted serial killer, police said Tuesday.
Huntington Beach police received the calls after releasing more than 100 photographs they believe were taken by Rodney Alcala in the 1970s.
Alcala, 66, an amateur photographer, was convicted last month of killing four women and a 12-year-old girl between 1977 and 1979. A jury has recommended the death penalty.
Police suspect he may have killed other women who posed for him.
Even before the photos were released, New York City police were investigating Alcala in three other cases, while law enforcement agencies in New England were taking a look at five other cases, Huntington Beach police Detective Sgt. Aaron Smith said.
Police have received more than 50 calls about the pictures, police Capt. Chuck Thomas said. The leads stretch from Alaska to Phoenix.
Some of the calls came from relatives and friends of at least four women who disappeared or were killed in the 1970s. Police are working to confirm any possible connection to the pictures and establish a timeline of Alcala's whereabouts during that decade.
Dozens of photos of unidentified girls, young women, boys and even some babies were found in a storage locker in Seattle rented by Alcala before his arrest in July 1979. He has been in custody ever since.
Police did not release all the pictures because some were sexually explicit.
Alcala was convicted of murdering 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, who disappeared on June 20, 1979 while riding a friend's bike to ballet class in Huntington Beach. It was Alcala's third conviction in the case. Two death penalty sentences were overturned on appeal.
Alcala was also convicted of murdering four Los Angeles County women.
Witnesses testified that Alcala was seen snapping pictures of Samsoe and her young friend on the beach just minutes before she disappeared.
Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com