Survivor recalls getting in serial killer Rodney Alcala’s car at 8 years old: Part 2

Tali Shapiro was lured into Alcala's car in 1968. L.A. police officer Chris Camacho found her unconscious and critically injured and helped save her life.
10:50 | 01/09/21

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Transcript for Survivor recalls getting in serial killer Rodney Alcala’s car at 8 years old: Part 2
Tali Shapiro was 8 years old, and it was a beautiful, sunny day in September. And this adorable little girl would skip to school each morning, carefree, loving, wearing her little white Mary Janes. And then, the horror story of tali begins. I remember the morning was nice and warm, because I wore the dress that my nanny had crocheted for me. And a car pulls up alongside of her, and the man leans out and says, hm, I have a beautiful picture I'd like to show you. And I guess asked if I needed a ride to school. And I told him I didn't talk to strangers. And he pulled up alongside of her a little farther, kept trolling her. And that's when he told me he knew my parents. And I really didn't want to get in the car. But I was raised to respect my elders. I got in the car. That's when he asked what time my school started. And then that's when he realized we had plenty of time and he was going to swing by and show me a poster. You know, I didn't know to fear people. Well, fortunately, a good citizen looks at this and says, I don't like the looks of this. And he actually follows him to his apartment. The moment I felt danger was when he wanted to go by his place. And I remember wanting to jump out of the car. So, the good samaritan actually followed the car to a residence where the man took the little girl out of the car and walked her inside. And that didn't look right. And he calls the police. Says, you know, this is real hinky looking. I don't like it. There's this little girl. You know, I think you ought to check it out. I don't remember going up to the apartment. And I don't remember anything after that. I was driving down sunset heading toward west Hollywood when I received a call to go see a man about a possible kidnapping. I followed him over to the location. At that time, I thought, okay, I better call in for backup. So I went and call in the and requested a backup unit. I went to the front door and started knocking. I could hear someone running around. So, the man came and he opened up the curtains a little bit and peered out, and said, oh, sorry. I was in the shower. I'll be right there. I see this male person on the other side -- no clothes, not dripping with water, no towel. And I said, okay. You need to open the door right now. I need to come in. He said, wait, let me put my pants on. I said, okay, you got three seconds. I probably waited five seconds and I kicked the door in. To the right was a dining room. To the left was a living room, straight ahead was a kitchen. And here was this little girl. Blood all over the place. Clothes, shoes, and a dress thrown to one side. There was coins on the floor. And she had this steel bar across her neck, which probably weighed two pounds. And there's an image that I will never forget. It's an image of this pipe used to strangle her with, essentially. Pressed it against her throat, and more blood than should ever be able to come out of a little 8-year-old girl next to these Mary Jane shoes on the floor of this witchen. I looked at her. I thought she was dead. She wasn't breathing. The other officers came around. We were looking for the suspect. I went back to check on tali, and I just couldn't leave her there like that. The officer had a sort of a life-or-death decision to make. Chase this man out the back and catch him, or render lifesaving aid to the little girl and save her life. And he chose -- he chose the little girl. And as I went back in the kitchen, she started gagging, tali, so then that put everything into high gear. But when I was yelling the officer that was covering the back door thought I was asking for help, so he ran to the front door to help me. We later found out the suspect escaped through the back door. Tali was bleeding out, literally clinging to life. Fortunately there was already an ambulance racing to the scene. Tali arrived in the emergency room, and the doctor said there was no chance of saving her. After she had been taken by the ambulance, they started looking around the apartment to see if there were any clues as to who the person was. I found his I.D. We determined he was a student at UCLA in the photography department. And the name of the man who attended UCLA was Rodney Alcala. They searched that house. And there are references in reports of hundreds and hundreds of photographs of young women and boys in various stages of dress, in various stages of vulnerability, that were in Rodney Alcala's possession. We had to find this Rodney Alcala. We had to get him off the street. Because if he would do that to a little 8-year-old girl, there's no telling what he would do. You know, it was just by sheer luck that tali didn't die. She should have died but she didn't. She was in a coma for 32 days. Nobody thought that she would survive. Miraculously, she pulled through. She was able to get back on her feet after several months in the hospital. My parents mentioned nothing. It was never brought up. It was never spoken about. I remember walking into my classroom and everyone looking at me like I was supposed to be And her parents had just had enough. They could not stay in California another minute. They moved out of the country shortly after that. They moved to Mexico. The father wanted to give her a better, safer environment to live in. And that's where they stayed for the next many years. Rodney Alcala has gotten away. And now he's fled, and nobody knows where he's gone. I was a police officer with LAPD. This was one of my very first cases, actually. And it was four or five months old at that time. And he was in the wind. I went out and interviewed a number of his professors at UCLA. And one of the things they told me, they said, you know, you got the wrong guy. En why you know, rod Alcala is a super he wouldn't hurt a flea. Really nice guy. The question police wanted to know, who is Rodney Alcala? And why would this well-liked 25-year-old college student so viciously attack an 8-year-old little girl? This is San Antonio, Texas. Home of the Alamo. Rodney Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala buquor on August 23, 1943 in San Antonio, Texas. He had an older brother, raoul. He had an older sister, and then he had a younger sister. His family lived in Mexico for a while. The grandma passed away, and the father left the family. They ended up moving to Los Angeles area to Monterey park. He had everything you wanted, Alcala. He went to catholic schools. He went to private schools. Everyone who knew him said he was a kind boy, a respectful boy, and highly intelligent. Rodney Alcala had every advantage that somebody could have in life. He had a mother who loved him, which is a big deal psychologically. He had friends. He had brothers and sisters who all turned out to be very successful. His older brother was already at west point, so this is a pretty, you know, patriotic family. And then he joined the army in the early '60s. And that's where the trouble really began for Rodney Alcala. So Alcala didn't fare well in the army. He went awol a few times, got in some trouble. As it turns out, this bright, handsome young man with a promising future had these nightmarish urges that he refused to ignore. So in 1963, he gets a pass from the military. He ultimately goes to New York. While in New York, he assaults a girl. He hits her over the head with a coke bottle. That girl was able to run away. He had sociopathic personality traits. He had no shame, and he didn't feel guilty about anything that he did. The military felt that he had a nervous breakdown. That was their analysis of it. The psychiatrist at the hospital felt it was a lot more serious than that, but he was discharged honorably, and not a blemish on his record. So, he ends up coming back to California, where he enrolls in the UCLA fine arts program as a photography major. So, Rodney Alcala is actually attending UCLA and living less than a mile away from the chateau marmont when he attacks tali Shapiro in 1968, and then seems to vanish. I was pretty much convinced he'd gone to Mexico, because he had relatives in Mexico. So, it's been three years now since the rape of tali Shapiro. The FBI eventually became interested in the case and put Rodney Alcala on the ten most wanted list. So, I get a phone call and it's the FBI in New Hampshire. They say, hey, we've got your guy in custody, Rodney James Alcala. It seemed like an open-and-shut case, but it was just the beginning of what would become a pattern of catch-and-release that would

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

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