NEW YORK (CBS/AP) In a sudden about face from their stance Tuesday, the New York Police Department has decided to release over 200 photographs believed to have been shot by convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala.
Just yesterday, an NYPD spokesman said the department's cold case squad had received the photos from police in Hungtington Beach, Calif., but declined to say when - or even if - the pictures would be made public.
That position had baffled ex-Huntington Beach detective Steve Mack, who said, "They should be released. There are people who will identify their missing loved ones."
In 1979, more than 2,000 photos were discovered in a Seattle storage locker rented under Alcala's name, featuring dozens of subjects, most of them women and young girls in candid and posed shots and sometimes engaging in sexual acts. A few of them depicted young men in sexually suggestive positions.
Huntington Beach police decided to finally release the photos after Alcala's conviction in March -- his third -- for the 1977 murder of California 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, in hopes that the public might be able to identify the subjects as missing persons. Alcala was also convicted March 9 of the murders of four other women who were linked to him by DNA.
Huntington Beach police said they sent hundreds of unreleased photos to the NYPD because the background in the photos suggested they were taken in New York.
Alcala is reportedly a suspect in at least two cold cases in New York. One of those is the June 12, 1971, rape and strangulation of Cornelia Crilley, a 23-year-old TWA flight attendant whose body was found in her Manhattan apartment on 83rd Street. Authorities say Alcala's DNA matches genetic material found at the crime scene.
He was also questioned in connection with the case of Ellen Jane Hover, 23, a restaurant heiress who disappeared in 1977 after leaving her Manhattan apartment. A year later, her bones were found in a shallow grave in a rugged section of the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County, about 100 feet from a spot where Alcala allegedly brought another young woman for a photo session.
Alcala has long been a suspect in the death of Hover because he was the last person to see her alive.
Please contact the NYPD's Crimestoppers' Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS if you recognize any individuals in the photographs.
March 11, 2010 - Are There More Rodney Alcala Victims? Police Reach Out to Public with Hundreds of Photos