CA CA - Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, 7 girls/young women, 1972-1973

burblestein

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To build post #18, I began with geographic forensics--two body drop sites in the same obscure rural neighborhood. As the victims all are, or seem to be, Caucasian adolescent girls, the pattern of similar victims establishes the connection between them. The killer's modus operandi is to torture, strip and discard his victims. His signature is souveniring earrings.

Once I took all this into consideration, my response was to wonder just what motivated an adult male to torment, murder, (and probably rape) adolescent or pseudo-adolescent females. So yes, I naturally speculated on his motivation for such horrific and evil crimes. But I'm no shrink. My psychological analysis concerning murderers amounts to, No one commits murder while in their right mind. Or to put it even simpler: all murderers are crazy.

In the meantime, I wish you luck in pinning a random selection of cold cases to a single serial killer 45 years after the fact. If you can do that, you will have out-Sherlocked Holmes himself.
 

burblestein

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Re post # 141:

As memory serves, the article I found said police located her. I have done considerable searching for the reference, but there are eight threads on this case. All I can recall is, it's somewhere in there. I have tried the Search function here, with no luck.
 

burblestein

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I just found that those first interviews of serial killers used to start the FBI profiling began in 1978, some two years after the FBI report above. My source? "Night
Stalker", by Philip Carlo, page 133.
 

Murder Inc

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I just found that those first interviews of serial killers used to start the FBI profiling began in 1978, some two years after the FBI report above. My source? "Night
Stalker", by Philip Carlo, page 133.
And? The question is why the FBI linked those specific murders. You don't need to be Mindhunter to recognize a pattern.
 

MissLaura

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Lisa Smith's case is an interesting and puzzling one. She has a thread here on Websleuths.


Lisa Smith, age 17

LINK:

CA - CA - Lisa Smith, 17, Santa Rose, March 16th 1972


I posted this over in the Lisa Smith thread, but I'll post it here too.

The Unresolved podcast recently did a 5 episode series on the SRHM. At the beginning of part one, he touches on Lisa Michelle Smith and the other woman who said her name was Lisa Smith:

The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders — Unresolved

Lisa Michelle Smith was a 17-year-old that ran away from her foster parents' home on March 16th, 1971. Lisa was last seen hitchhiking in Santa Rosa, California - the county seat of Sonoma County - about 55 miles north of San Francisco and approximately 100 miles west of California's capital, Sacramento. While Santa Rosa is now known as an affluent city in Wine Country, just an hour or two outside of the tech-based Silicon Valley, the city had a much smaller population back in the early 1970s... which is when this young woman decided to run away from home.

Lisa's foster parents would report her missing a short time after her disappearance, and would later learn that she was spotted hitchhiking a short distance away from their home, along Hearn Avenue, at around 7:00 PM on March 16th. At the time, she was wearing a white blouse with ruffles, a dark pea coat, green bell-bottom jeans, and cowboy boots. This would be the last known sighting of the young woman, with neither of her foster parents - nor her boyfriend - coming up with many theories about why she remained missing. Despite there being no reason for her to have done so, police labeled her a runaway.

On March 26th, 1971 - nearly two weeks later - a woman matching Lisa's description leaped from a moving vehicle traveling approximately 55 miles per hour along Highway 37, just past the Petaluma River, en route to Napa. A passing motorist would describe the incident to authorities as the young woman was rushed to a hospital in Novato - a small city about 30 miles south of Santa Rosa - where she was treated for a skull fracture and multiple severe abrasions.

While speaking to police at the hospital, as well as nurses, the woman identified herself as "Lisa Smith," and claimed to have been hitchhiking from San Francisco to Sausalito. She said that she had gotten a ride from a man driving a red-and-white late-model Ford truck, which had a horse-like hood decoration, who had started to assault her, demanding sex in exchange for a ride. Since the man wasn't planning on stopping to let her out, this young woman decided to take matters into her own hands, leaping from the vehicle amidst high-speed traffic... leading to her current injuries.

Hospital staff would describe this young woman as looking 21 or so, and - as I mentioned - she used the name "Lisa Smith," which is about as common a name as possible. Despite her giving up very little specific information about herself or her travels, authorities would begin to link her case to the still-missing 17-year-old from Santa Rosa with the same name - who had disappeared about ten days before this young woman was hospitalized - and local newspapers would begin to report that they were one and the same.

On April 1st, 1971, the Press Democrat, a newspaper based out of Santa Rosa, would report that 17-year-old Lisa Michelle Smith had been reunited with her family back home in Livermore, having run away to spend a couple of weeks with her friends in San Francisco. It would appear to put a bow on this saga, proposing a happy ending for the young woman at the center of this story, who endured a horrifying situation but was able to survive... making it home to her loved ones.

However, the truth is that it's unknown what happened to these young women... not only the woman from the hospital calling herself "Lisa Smith," but the missing teenager from Santa Rosa, whose fate remains unknown to this day.

A 2011 article in the same newspaper (Santa Rosa's Press Democrat) would offer up a different perspective on the story, claiming that there had been no reunion for Lisa and her loved ones: that she had never returned home in March of 1971, and was still missing more than forty years later.

This article would detail how the original missing person report from 1971, as well as the young woman's medical records from the hospital in Novato, had gone missing over the years. The officers that had handled the missing teen's case back then - as well as the medical personnel that treated the young woman who leaped from the moving vehicle weeks later - were unable to verify the information reported in various newspapers decades beforehand. Too much time had passed, records had been lost, and those with information about these cases had either passed on or were unable to shed any light on either.

Attempts to recover any kind of record, in this case, had been exhausted, and both Lisa Michelle Smith (the missing teenager from Santa Rosa) and the young woman calling herself "Lisa Smith" (at the hospital in Novato) had proven impossible to track down. What made investigators' task even more difficult was that no one in the original newspaper reports was named (such as Lisa's foster parents or boyfriend, or the witness that had seen the young woman leap from the moving vehicle). And since "Lisa Smith" is one of the most common names on the planet, trying to track down either woman seemed like an impossibility decades later.

It's now widely believed that the article from April 1st, 1971 - detailing how this young woman had been returned to her family in Livermore - was a hoax, played out for some unknown reason. Perhaps someone had fed the reporter in-question false information, but there was no way to verify that this case was closed in any regard.

Speaking in 2011, Detective Jesse Hanshew would tell the Press Democrat about the still-missing Lisa Michelle Smith:

"We can't conclude she was ever found. She may be living well somewhere. We hope she is."



Nearly five decades after this young woman went missing, several questions remain unanswered in her case. The same goes for the possibly-related case that took place less than two weeks later, just miles away. Because none of these questions have been unanswered, investigators believe that this may have been the first victim attributed to a serial killer that hunted young women - primarily, young hitchhikers - in this region of northern California throughout the 1970s.

This is the story of the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders.
 

Benoit Bawles

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In post 77 of the Kamahele thread, UncoolNegated discovered a newspaper article describing the arrest of a 28 year old southern california psychiactric tech who I'll call "M" for the crimes of "rape and sexual perversion" against a Santa Rosa girl.

CA - CA - Jeannette Kamahele, 20, Santa Rosa, 25 April 1972

Doing a google image search for M turned up an obit for a woman I'll call "G", who was a resident of Kenwood, CA. The obit lists a son with the same name as M who lived in southern California. She would have been about 20 when the psychiatric tech was born if he was 28 in 1973. There is also an obit for a man, "J" who was married to G and had a son with the same name as M. A whitepages.com search of M yields a few results, mostly younger people in other stated but there is an individual whose age in 2020 corresponded to being 28 in 1973. Cities of residence are in the same general area as the M in the parental obits. This person could be a wholly innocent individual who happens to have the same first middle and last name and birth year as the psychiactric tech arrested for rape. Its also possible it could be the same person who was arrested for sex crimes in the middle of the SRHM series and has a family connection to Kenwood which is right in the SRHM's killing grounds. If the rape suspect was in custody during any of the murders that would be a rule out. Could be nothing but could be worth a look.

There's a lot we don't know about the local investigation and what detectives knew. However, I think we can find other 1970's era cases where investigators were focused on a suspect, and that suspect moving away from the area was enough to "close the case" if the evidence they had against him was weak or circumstantial. "He's gone, he's not our problem anymore". And we can probably find cases where a person stopped their crimes after being rattled by a police interview.
 

Benoit Bawles

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The seeming consensus on the SRHM case:

Kamahele - unknown, body not recovered

Trimble + Grahm - Horvarter, per George Gray. Not 100% certain but Grey makes a compelling argument.

Kim Wendy Allen - The art teacher had a known obsession with her and apparently commuted along her hitchhiking route. He was also a pretty eccentric character. Could be a one off.

The canonical 6 - Sterling, Weber, Kursa, Davis, Walsh, Unknown found near Kursa. Very tight cluster in time and geographical area. Some similarities in MO. Could all be the work of the same person.
 
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Murder Inc

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I disagree about Allen, she has always been considered a SRHM victim and was murdered one month after Sterling & Weber. But I also say these are 100% GSK murders
 

Benoit Bawles

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Interesting, how do you link James DeAngelo to this case? I'm of the mind that the group of six might be the work of a single individual not tied to other murders, whose name is not known, or LE had an idea but the name never went public.
 

Murder Inc

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Interesting, how do you link James DeAngelo to this case? I'm of the mind that the group of six might be the work of a single individual not tied to other murders, whose name is not known, or LE had an idea but the name never went public.
DeAngelo stole single earrings from his victims and poisoned dogs (strychnine). There's an account suspected to be DeAngelo's who made a comment about the SRHM taking single earrings on the EAR forum in a thread called "EAR's storage unit"
 

Benoit Bawles

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Those are some interesting commonalities. The MO is a little different, JDD seemed to favor home invasion and attacking people in their residence. I'm not aware of cases where he picked up hitchhiking teens and dumped bodies down ravines.

If he could be linked to the Santa Rosa area that would be compelling evidence. I believe in 1973 during the SRHM series he moved from Citrus Heights to Exeter.
 

Murder Inc

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Those are some interesting commonalities. The MO is a little different, JDD seemed to favor home invasion and attacking people in their residence. I'm not aware of cases where he picked up hitchhiking teens and dumped bodies down ravines.

If he could be linked to the Santa Rosa area that would be compelling evidence. I believe in 1973 during the SRHM series he moved from Citrus Heights to Exeter.
DeAngelo was an intern cop with Roseville PD starting in June 1972 then got a job in Exeter in May 1973. So only one SRHM victim was after his move to Exeter and just before Xmas 73. After DeAngelo became a cop in Exeter, Jennifer Armour was murdered and thrown in a canal in Exeter in 1974 and Donna Richmond was murdered and left in an orange grove in Exeter in 1975.
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Benoit Bawles

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I know SHRM threads have been going on for a long time on this forum so you'll have to forgive me if this has been discussed before. I stumbled across this thread: https://zodiackiller.net/community/non-zodiac-crimes/srhm-carolyn-davis-greta-modecke-etc/paged/3/
The forum moderator Seagull claims to have had personal discussions with retired detective Butch Carlstadt and wrote this post about Carlstadt's theory of the SRHM case:

Quasar's two person theory is certainly not anything new. Detectives at the time felt that the murders could have been four different events. Retired Detective Butch Carlstadt felt that Kursa's death was an accident and her mother and stepfather dumped her body because they were both on thin ice because of other criminal activity. They had probation revocation hanging over their heads if they messed up again.

Jeannette Kamahele's boyfriend was thought to have killed her. His actions after her disappearance led to that conclusion. He did not try to help find her and left the area for Hawaii within a week of her going missing.

Kim Allen and possibly Theresa Walsh were thought to have been killed by Fred Manalli.

Weber, Sterling and Davis were thought to have been killed by a group of people, not sure exactly how many people but Richard Anderson was said to have been part of that group. Carlstedt told me that Anderson committed suicide after he was pressed for the names of the others in the group. Apparently Carstedt had questioned Anderson a number of times.

I have posted all of this in the past both at our old forum and at ZK.com's forum. It's really no secret. The March 5, 1989 Press Democrat article about the murders quotes Carlstadt as saying he believed two different men were responsible for the murders. That article has been posted, too.
 

Benoit Bawles

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I've read a couple times about a sex offender that comitted suicide after being interviewed by police but could never find a name. Aparrently that was Anderson. I have not been able to find any information about him. In another post on the same page Seagull links a couple of articles about executed serial killer Stephen Peter Morin who lived in Novato in the 1970s and wonders if Morin might be involved in other area slayings.
 

BDHOLLAND

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I believe I have managed to utilize what we have gleaned from EARONS and BTK to develop a pattern for something I call the Northern California Dog Poisoner (1960 - 2000) who used strychnine, a controlled substance. You read the full article here.

He was active at the time Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders (1972-1973) and victim Carolyn Davis was poisoned with strychnine.

The cases are too close to be ignored—same place, same time, literally a few months.

It is looking like he didn't know how much poison he would need to kill a human. The dogs were all given well over the lethal dosage, enough to kill a child. He was expecting a child to be poisoned but the papers revealed to him what the lethal dose for a human would be on the 20th April 1973. Carolyn Davis disappeared on July 15th, 1973.

So strychnine was used to murder a child in the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker crimes within the same time frame that strychnine was used to kill pets in the area.

If you read more about the SRHM crimes the working hypothesis was that a drug addict's fixing could be how strychnine was obtained and that a drug addict carried out that crime.

In my model, that SRHM crime and the dog poisonings are connected to the same offender. That this is stronger than the drug addict hypothesis.

I am surprised this connection to the SRHM crimes was not identified in the newspapers, nor in subsequent public information. Maybe there are articles but I haven't found them in my research yet.

So I am putting forward this alternative because we know more about some serial killers today. That some had a past involving activities around harming animals. This is different however from any claim that harming animals causes serial killers. I am not saying that. I am saying this all lines up far better than any other hypothesis so far because of the timing, location, crimes, and use of strychnine.

I hope this is the important point people would be interested in. I think it is a new pathway and might be the lucky break needed. Strychnine was a controlled substance at the time as covered in the newspaper articles.

I don't believe JJD is responsible for those crimes, BTW. However, like BTK, an analysis of JJD and these crimes seems fruitful in explaining Carolyn Davis through connections with offenses against dogs.

In addition for those that are interested in this and the hypothesis it's also the Zodiac killer...

Zodiac called Santa Rosa PD threatening school kids

Donna Lass Pines Card, 13 Hole Card, Exorcist Card and Eureka Card Solve in One

My POIs are Santa Rosa and twins
Farley Zodiac car parked outside his tire shop
PFr7yOM.jpg

q6pL6nT.jpg
 

Benoit Bawles

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The only part of Butch Carlstads theory I disagree with is Theresa Walsh. I think they linked her to Manalli because she profiled similar to Allen, older and more adult physique. IMO, Kim Allen was a one off and Manalli isn't linked to other missing persons. Walsh looks to have been found downstream of where the Anderson group was dumping bodies on Franz Valley Road and could have been part of that series. The Jane Doe found near Kursa is probably also an unrelated, one off and was found there because that turnout on that particular stretch of road happens to be a good private place to abandon a body. It is sad she will probably never have a name and a story.

I still think Mr. M---'s family ties to Kenwood and local sex crime are worth looking into. Was he one of Anderson's group of three? A psychiatric tech would have access to syringes and a copy of the Merck Index giving the LD50 for strychnine. Maybe his career and the people he worked with fueled a morbid interest.
 

orangesandapples

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I've read conflicting reports on almost every single crime linked to SRHM and was wondering if anyone has sources for the claim that a specific 'hog-tie' form of restraint was responsible for the 'slow strangulation' as COD for I believe two or possibly three victims linked to SRHM. I am of the personal belief that probably there were at least two different killers operating in the same area, as the younger victims are a pretty different MO than the older ones, aside from being found 'thrown' over embankments in many cases. Since the area is essentially made up of steep grades and mountainous terrain I'm not sure I consider that to be enough of a linking factor, nor do I consider hitchhikers as victims to be enough to link them. Though I do not believe it was him due to timing, location, etc. Ed Kemper is a pretty close match in terms of MO, and if you believe the theory that there must have been at least two unsubs because the victims were 'thrown too far' his size would surely allow him to do exactly that with such small women and children.

So the actual question I have is- can anyone confirm that there was a specific restraint used? I've found some reports from LE that say one victim was found with a rope binding her ankles to her neck, and another claim that a partially skeletonized victim was found in a similar position but no way to back this up. I think it would make Fred Manalli, a large man himself, a very logical suspect in most ways. Thanks in advance if anyone can clarify.
 
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