Rodney Alcala questioned for murder but released when no body was found: Part 5

Alcala killed Ellen Hover in New York. He was questioned and released by FBI because no evidence had been found. Alcala killed Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted and Charlotte Lamb in Los Angeles.
9:20 | 01/09/21

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Rodney Alcala questioned for murder but released when no body was found: Part 5
New York City went totally dark last night, and tonight large parts of the city still are without power. Ellen hover's disappearance was a huge mystery. This was a very big deal that this socialite, this young woman, was just gone, missing. There was nothing in her background that suggested that she would have run away. It's in "The New York Times." It's on posters. It's on the news. It's the talk of the town. When the police showed up at her door, they looked inside. Nothing looks like an attack happened there, so they collect evidence and mail, notes, things like that. And one of the things they take is her calendar. There was an entry that said she was meeting John Berger. They research back and they try to I.D. Who John Berger is. You're talking about a woman who goes missing in New York City pre-computer. And so Rodney alcala/john Berger was never really on the radar of the New York City police department. So, Alcala goes back to L.A., and he's there actually trying to find a job. Rodney Alcala gets a job with "The Los Angeles times" working as a typesetter. You have to put this into perspective. On the lam for three years, ten most wanted, two stints in jail, felony. He applies under his own name, Rodney Alcala, and he gets the job. He actually would bring in photographs to show some of the people at his work. A lot of the photos were of nude girls. And I think it was the time when people didn't really question it. You weren't like, oh, my god, you're a pedophile. Instead, they were like, oh, he's just kind of strange. You know, very artsy. Five months after Alcala is returned to L.A., the FBI is actually able to connect the dots between Rodney Alcala, the name John burger, and the notes found in Ellen hover's calendar. So, Rodney Alcala was eventually questioned by the FBI in relation to the disappearance of Ellen hover, and he admitted being with her. Where did you meet Ellen on the 15th? He said he had taken her up to westchester to take her picture. They had a lovely time, and that was it. Never saw her again. I vaguely recall dropping her off, and that was it. At that point, they still had not found a body. Other than him admitting to the crime, saying I killed her, there wasn't enough to arrest him. This is bill Mccarry in north tarrytown, with the discovery of a body of a millionaire's daughter, missing for the past 11 months. Ultimately, she's found. It's almost a year later. She's found up in an area by the Rockefeller estates. They found clothing of hers nearby. They went back to the same site, and they discovered her remains. But it's all skeletal. She's identified through dental comparison. While police are able to positively identify the remains of Ellen hover, there is no forensic evidence that leads them to her killer. 1970s was considered serial killer central. You have the hillside strangler, the night stalker, two freeway killers. You have the bedroom basher. Elsewhere, you have Ted Bundy and John Wayne gay killing people in Chicago. Recently there's been a rash of mass murders. 1977 through 1978, many women were murdered. Police in this era are lacking a lot of the investigative tools they have today. There's no DNA. There's no surveillance camera around every corner. People aren't walking around with a gps in their pockets. All of these things lead to this sort of perfect storm for Rodney Alcala where he's able to remain one step ahead of police and he goes on the hunt for more and there's absolutely nothing to stop him. Jill Barcomb was a 19-year-old girl in New York who was adventuresome and wanted to take a trip with a friend of hers. and so she left New York for Los Angeles. Jill and I were very close as children growing up. We were often mistaken as twins. Jill had a very free spirit about her. Bruce was very sad when she left New York, was very scared for her being so young at 19 years old. So November 10, 1977, I called home and there was crying in the background. They said, you need to come home. You need to come home. And that's all they would say. Jill Barcomb was found off of Franklin canyon road. And it was down the street from Marlon brando's home at the time. She was found bent over, half naked. Her head was facing the dirt. She has multiple ligatures on her neck. It was a brutal crime scene. I came into a house of siblings distraught, righteously so. And heard it from my mother directly that my sister was dead. Her face was unrecognizable. Her brother said at the funeral that he couldn't even recognize his sister. It was so mutilated. I had night terrors the day that Jill's body arrived. It wasn't just murder. It wasn't just rape. It was brutal. It was sadistic. And body could understand why the things happened to her. They thought perhaps this could be the work of the hillside strangler, because that's what the hillside strangler did, strangled women and left them on the side of the road. And it complicated this investigation, because Jill Barcomb had a friend when she got out here to L.A. That was actually abducted and murdered by the hillside strangler. In the end, the police were unable to link the murder of Jill Barcomb to the hillside strangler, and the case just went cold. That meant the string of murders of young girls and women continued. Georgia Wixted was 27 years old. She was absolutely gorgeous. She was a nurse that worked for cardiac care. She was from Los Angeles. She worked out of the centinela hospital and just recently moved to malibu. Every morning, she would pick up another nurse, and they would drive to the hospital together to do their shift. And one morning, she didn't show up. So the police were called to do a welfare check of her in her home. It was discovered that her window was open and the screen was removed. When the police entered her home, there was blood everywhere. Her body was completely naked and strewn on the floor, kind of posed open. The viciousness and the sadism involved in her murder is so disturbing and so profound. There was a handprint that was found on the brass bedding, but there was no one to match the palm print to. And again, that case went cold. The third person who was found dead in the same way as the other two was Charlotte lamb. Charlotte lamb, in 1978, was a legal secretary living in the Santa Monica area. She had called some friends one night to go out and go dancing in Santa Monica. Her friends decided not to go. Her body was later found in el Segundo, miles away in an apartment complex she had no connection to. She had been strangled, and she had been brutally raped and murdered. Her arms had been folded behind her back, which made her back arch to expose her breasts. She had been posed. It's just very disturbing and incredibly sad. I met with Rodney five or six times. I administered assessments with regard to his sexual interests. Many times the rapist, killer, anti-social person will pose dead bodies. And they do want law enforcement and other people to see this. And there's a message in that. The message for Rodney is that I am here, you will remember me. So instead of hiding in the shadows, Rodney Alcala is almost fearless. And he puts himself out there in perhaps the most public way possible. Rodney going on "The dating game" is a great example of him being predatory, him being confident, narcissistic. And, of course, he wouldn't go on unless he would win. Five, four, three -- He always wins. Bachelor number 1 is a successful photographer. You might find him skydiving or motorcycling. Please welcome Rodney Alcala.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"9:20","description":"Alcala killed Ellen Hover in New York. He was questioned and released by FBI because no evidence had been found. Alcala killed Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted and Charlotte Lamb in Los Angeles.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/2020","id":"75144629","title":"Rodney Alcala questioned for murder but released when no body was found: Part 5","url":"/2020/video/rodney-alcala-questioned-murder-released-body-found-part-75144629"}