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  1. #1

    NV - Might there have been a serial killer in Las Vegas in the 70s and 80s?


    Basically there are seven unsolved cases from 1971 to 1989 of girls aged 13-18 seemingly abducted off the streets, sexually assaulted, murdered, and disposed of in the nearby desert. If we exclude the one from 1989 the range narrows to six cases from 1971 to 1983.

    I have not looked at the individual cases very closely, so not sure how similar they look.

    I think it's just a question of probability. How likely is it that some of these cases are due to the same perpetrator or perpetrators?

    Arguments for:

    + It seems to be a relatively high number of victims of that sort of stranger abduction killing in a city in the 300k-500k range over a decade. These cases of school girls being snatched off a street, raped, and killed, if that's what these are, are very rare and get a lot of attention when they do happen.

    Arguments against:

    - The argument for is so obvious that maybe we should assume LE has reason to believe the various cases are not connected.
    - It's not THAT many, active serial killers can easily generate one victim every few months. This is much less than one a year depending on how you parse it.

    Other considerations:

    +/- Are there any missing girls from the area as opposed to just found deceased that could be added to the tally?
    +/- If the count seems suggestive but too low for an active killer, it's possible there are victims in another jurisdiction.


    Here is the site I'm getting the cases from:


    Case #: 78-27590
    Victim: Vickie Lynn Brekke
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: East Lake Mead Blvd. approximately 6 miles east of Mt. Hood in the desert area.
    Date: 5-8-1978

    On 5-7-1978 Vickie Lynn Brekke departed from her home at 3612 Braddock Street, North Las Vegas, NV to walk to a friend's house. She had called her friend and was to arrive around 5:30 pm. however she never arrived. On 5-8-78 her body was discovered in the desert area to the east of Sunrise Mountain. The autopsy revealed that Vickie had died as a result of strangulation. Vickie was a 15 yr. old WFJ.


    Case #: 75-23324
    Victim: Gerri Ann Ralston, 15 YOA
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: Henderson Ponds, Pabco Rd. and Hollywood St, Clark County, NV
    Date: May 22, 1975

    On May 21, 1975, Gerri was reported as a missing person to the Henderson (NV) Police department by her father. She was last seen in route to buy cigarettes at the Maverick Service Station on Boulder Highway. On May 22, 1975, Gerri’s body was found in the pond. She was still wearing the same clothing from the day she disappeared. The subsequent investigation determined that Gerri had been sexually assaulted and strangled. It appears her body had been disposed of at the recovery site in a effort to conceal it, the actual murder site was never located.


    Case #:71-11701
    Victim: Susan Rae Perron
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: Desert area approximately 5 miles west of U.S. U.S. Highway 95 off of Lone Mountain Road
    Date: Victim discovered on April 16, 1973

    On June 13, 1971 Susan Rae Perron (WFJ 14 yrs.) left her home to walk to Lorenzi Park to go swimming. It was not determined if she ever arrived at her destination. On April 16, 1973 the remains of a human skeleton was found in the desert area approximately 5 miles west of U.S. 95 Highway off of Lone Mountain Road. Through dental records it was determined that the skeletal remains were those of Susan Rae Perron. Cause of death was determined to be blunt trauma to the head.


    Case #: 71-12531
    Victim: Jody Marie Miller
    Suspect: Uknown
    Location: 150' northwest of the corner of Jones and Lone Mountain Blvd. in shallow grave in desert area.
    Date: Body discovered on 11-2-1971

    Jody Marie Miller crawled through the bedroom window of her house on 6-21-71. She was reported as a missing juvenile and last seen by a female friend on 6-23-71. On 11-2-71 her remains were discovered wrapped in a blanket, lying in a shallow grave in the desert area approximately 150' nw of Jones and Lone Mountain. Jody was 13 yrs. old at the time of her disappearance.


    Case #: 89-72494
    Victim: Stephanie Anne Issacson, 14 YOA
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: Desert Area Northwest of Stewart/Linn
    Date: 6/1/1989


    Stephanie Issacson, a 14 year old Eldorado High School student, left for school at approximately 6:30 a.m., on foot. When Stephanie didn't return home after school her father became concerned. Her father contacted the high school and learned that Stephanie had never arrived. Her father then contacted her friends, they had not seen Stephanie all day. The Police Department was contacted and a missing person report was filed.
    An organized search, of the route she normally walked, uncovered her body in a desert lot near Stewart and Linn. Stephanie had been sexually assaulted and strangled.


    Case #: 83-26198
    Victim: Catherine Tighe
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: Desert area north of Indios and east of Mountain Vista, Las Vegas, NV
    Date: Between 02-07-1983 and 03-02-1983

    The 17 yr. old victim was last seen at Chaparral High School on 2-7-83. On 3-2-83 the victim was discovered in the desert area near Indios and Twain, covered by debris. The parents of the victim had filed a missing persons report when Catherine failed to return home from school on the 7th. The coroner's office listed the cause of death as manual strangulation. No suspect has ever been identified.


    And this last one is an outlier, she was a college student back home for the holidays rather than a school girl.

    Case #: 83-91138
    Victim: Diana Rae Hanson
    Suspect: Unknown
    Location: Desert area Spring Mountain and Buffalo
    Date: Between 12-30-1983 and 12-31-1983

    Diana R. Hanson, home for Christmas vacation from College, left her parent's home, 6400 block of Desert Inn, around 4:30 p.m., December 30, 1983 to participate in her daily jog. Diana never came home. Her parents reported her missing at approximately 6:00 p.m. On December 31, 1983, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a construction worker reported a dead body in the desert area near Spring Mountain and Buffalo.

    Diana was identified by her parents. An extensive investigation was undertaken. It appears that the suspect abducted Diana somewhere along her route and drove her to the area where she was discovered. Diana was sexually assaulted and murdered. There were signs of a struggle in the immediate area and Diana's clothing was located near by. In spite of the extensive investigation no viable suspects have been identified.


    During this five year period (1979-1983) the population of Las Vegas grew from 413,000 to 525,000. Seems to me five girls aged 13-15 and one aged 18 being abducted and killed in that period is unusually high. Also the girls tend to resemble one another, judging from the pictures. All white, almost all brunettes. (I'm not including the outlier case I mention in these observations.)
    Last edited by sillybilly; 03-28-2016 at 10:12 PM. Reason: removed reddit (not allowed) references but post is ok as info is actually from LVMPD

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Fairfield, Nelson Co, Ky USA
    I think a (single) serial killer could have definitely killed both Miller and Perron. Both are young teenagers and went missing within days of each other and not far from each other.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bflocket View Post
    I think a (single) serial killer could have definitely killed both Miller and Perron. Both are young teenagers and went missing within days of each other and not far from each other.

    I hadn't noticed how close together those two cases were. Pretty remarkable.

    One was discovered five months later and the other 22 months later so the connection might have seemed less obvious at the time (both initially being possible runaways). I wonder if the newspapers connected them at the time. I'll see if I can find something online.

  4. #4
    Unfortunately I couldn't find any Las Vegas newspapers online going back that far. I would like to know if the possible of a serial killer was at least discussed. I don't like feeling like a crackpot but the number of apparent stranger kidnapping/assaulting/killing cases of similar types of girls seems disproportionate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Fairfield, Nelson Co, Ky USA
    Regarding the Reddit stuff...

    I found a story regarding a thread I started yesterday in my local paper. But I couldn't find it online. I was too "lazy" (tired of typing) at the time so I just gave the basic info without citing the paper. That was very irritating since I get the paper paper yet don't have access to it online. Actually, I don't know how many of the smaller stories are put online.

    I've seen some stuff on Topix (the haven of BS) that corresponds to some cases. Sometimes there's purported "facts" there that aren't mentioned elsewhere. I'll only mention that info if it either corresponds/contradicts something "official" that I've seen and doesn't sound like complete BS.

  6. #6
    From googling a bit I found out that this exact same topic has been broached more than once on Websleuths. Someone will start a thread about one of the cases I listed and then it will turn to speculation that it is connected to some of the others. There was a thread from 2008 about Amanda Fravel (not among the cases I listed) and a 2011 thread about Jody Miller.

    I also found an article by John L. Smith "Vegas Killers" from 2001 and a blog post from a retired crime lab worker in LV, both indicated that more than one Las Vegas detective has speculated about some of these cases being connected. And finally there is a woman with an e-book on Amazon, quite badly reviewed, that is based on the speculation that the exact set of cases I picked out from the LVPD website are the work of one killer. (Based on the reviews her primary source was the same website).

    So I'm at least satisfied that it's a reasonably likely premise. I don't anticipate being able to go anywhere further with this. But certainly would be eager to read any other thoughts about the topic.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    New England
    I doubt if the one who was shot and buried is related, but the ones who were assaulted, strangled, and left in the desert do sound shockingly similar.
    Opinions expressed are strictly my own (who else would they belong to???)

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