Dating Game Killer’s Photo Stash Released


Police are asking for help in identifying the subjects of photographs which were found stashed in a storage unit used by the so-called “Dating Game Killer.”

Rodney Alcala, 66, was convicted last month of murdering one young girl and four women between 1977 and 1979. He appeared on the television show “The Dating Game,” as Bachelor No. 1 in 1978. Now hundreds of photographs, mostly of women and children, have been released in the hopes that some of them will be identified and used to solve cold cases of other murders.

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. Officials believe that items like the earrings and the pictures may have been trophies to Alcala.

Alcala has a history of using photography as a ruse to approach his victims. Upon seeing Samsoe at the beach, he asked if he could take some pictures of her. She refused and tried to ride her bicycle away, but she never made it to the dance class that was her destination. Instead, her body was found in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, where Alcala dumped it.

In 1980, Alcala was convicted of murdering Samsoe, but the conviction was overturned by the California Supreme Court. Another trial, six years later, also ended with a death sentence, but again the conviction was overturned. 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 each case, the victim was raped and strangled. In some cases Alcala beat them with various blunt objects as well.

Alcala had kidnapped and molested a child in Los Angeles in 1968. Convicted for the crimes in 1972, he served a 34-month sentence and was released. Authorities also believe that he may be linked to rapes and murders in New York.

Only a few pictures of men were found in the collection of photographs found in Alcala’s storage locker.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas issued a statement describing his office’s struggle in determining whether to release the photographs or not. “Although we hope that the people depicted are not victims,” the statement said in part, “we believe the release may help solve some cold cases and bring closure to victims’ families.”

A jury has recommended that Alcala, once again, be sentenced to death for his crimes.


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