SEATTLE (CBS) Three families have come forward to say that they believe their missing loved ones are among the dozens of subjects in serial killer Rodney Alcala's archive of photographs, a police detective said Friday.
Detective Patrick Ellis said that investigators must now confirm the initial identifications by comparing other photographs from family members, and are trying to determine where and how the young women disappeared, according to Seattle station KOMO.
More than 2,000 photos were discovered in a storage locker in Seattle 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.
Alcala was convicted and sentenced to death March 9 for the rape and murder of Robin Samsoe in 1979, and the murder of four other women between 1977 and 1979. He was convicted and sentenced to death twice before for Samsoe's murder but both convictions were overturned on appeal.
Detective Ellis said detectives recovered the photos in 1979 while searching storage lockers rented under Alcala's name but were not able to release them until now because of the ongoing investigation and court proceedings. Ellis said they are now asking for help from the public in identifying the women and children in the photos to determine if there are more victims out there.
Prosecutors told the jury during Alcala's murder trial that Alcala posed as a professional photographer to gain his victims' trust and that witnesses remembered a man fitting his description taking pictures of Samsoe minutes before she disappeared.
"We'd like to locate the women in these pictures," prosecutor Matt Murphy told the Orange County Register. "Did they simply pose for a serial killer, or did they become victims of his sadistic, murderous pattern?"
Since release the pictures on March 10, police have received dozens of calls from people who recognize the subjects in the photos, some from the subjects themselves saying they are alive and well.
Anyone with information about the women in the pictures is asked to call Huntington Beach Police Detective Patrick Ellis at 714-375-5066.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
March 11, 2010 - Are There More Rodney Alcala Victims? Police Reach Out to Public with Hundreds of Photos
March 10, 2010 - "Dating Show" Bachelor Rodney Alcala Sentenced to Death, Will He Slip Away Again?