'Dating Game' Killer's Photos Could Solve More Murders
Families of missing could help L.A. police solve scores more serial killings.
March 17, 2010— -- Dozens of families have called California police to say they recognize missing loved ones in nearly 2,000 photos taken by convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala.
Three photos reportedly show people who have been missing for decades, and police are trying to determine if foul play is involved.
The photos -- many sexually graphic -- were part of a stash of images found in 1979 that may help police solve scores more unsolved murders committed by the so-called "Dating Game" killer.
Alcala was convicted Feb. 25 in the 1979 rape and murder of 12-year-old Huntington Beach ballet student Robin Samsoe, and the strangulation of four other women between 1970 and 1979.
Police released the photos March 10 to the Orange County Register in an effort to find out if there were more victims.
The photos were found more than 30 years ago in a storage locker in Seattle that had been rented under Alcala's name. They included dozens of subjects, most of them women and young girls in candid and posed shots, sometimes engaging in sexual acts.
"The calls are basically along two lines," Huntington Beach Police Detective Patrick Ellis told ABC's Seattle affiliate KOMO. "No. 1: 'Yes, that's my photograph. I am alive and well,' and giving us details of Mr. Alcala way back when, 30 years ago.
"Or, the calls saying, 'Hey, my sister, mother ... was reported missing back then, and I think her photograph is on the Web site,' and they're providing us with information as far as the person's name, where they were last seen alive," he said. "Some people aren't positive, but they're pretty sure.
"Until we talk to the victims' families, get other photographs for comparison purposes and more details on where their bodies were recovered -- if they were recovered at all -- we can't really say at this point," Ellis said. "We just don't know."
Police recovered the stash of photos in 1979 but were unable to release them until now because of legal proceedings.
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