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Yosemite Investigation Expands

Law enforcement officials are looking at a former motel handyman, who confessed to murdering a park worker last week and three Yosemite sightseers six months ago, as a possible suspect in other, unsolved murders, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

Cary Stayner, who described the details of the four murders to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has said enough to investigators to warrant reopening other murder cases. The cases include the killing of his uncle and the slaying of a woman whose headless body was found five years ago in Calaveras County, near Yosemite.

Investigators say they have independently verified evidence supporting Stayner's confessions.

Joie Armstrong
CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports Stayner told the FBI that for 30 years he'd had fantasies of torturing and killing women and had finally begun to act on them. Psychologists say if that is true, he may have been responsible for other crimes.

Although questioned in the disappearance of the three tourists last winter — Stayner was never considered a suspect. It wasn't until the body of Yosemite Park naturalist Joie Armstrong was discovered near his motel that investigators took a second look.

It's a familiar trait in serial killers, says criminologist Mike Rustigan, "The rage was deep, it was intense — but he was able to fool a lot of people."

Until Stayner's arrest, investigators had said that those responsible for the tourists' murders were already in custody on other charges. Now, with Armstrong's murder and Stayner's arrest, it's clear those reassurances were tragically wrong.

"It was an ongoing current contemporary investigation that was going to come to a conclusion at some point," said retired FBI agent Rick Smith. "Unfortunately there was another murder in the middle of it."

Silvina Pelosso, Juli Sund and Carole Sund

Investigators have not said what finally led them to suspect Stayner in the murders of three female tourists killed near Yosemite in February. Carole Sund, 42; her daughter, Juli, 15, and family friend Silvina Pelosso, 16, were last seen having dinner at the Cedar Lodge Motel.
A reporter who interviewed Stayner quotes him as saying he wishes he could have controlled his impulse to kill. "I am guilty," he told a KBWB-TV reporter. "I did murder Carole Sund, Juli Sund, Silvina Pelosso and Joie Armstrong. None of the women were sexually abused in any way."

He said he thought he had gotten away with the crimes andid not leave the area for fear of drawing attention to himself. That changed when he met Armstrong last week and struck up a chance conversation with her. He said he could not resist the urge to kill her when he realized she was alone.

Behind closed doors, Stayner 's father seemed dazed and confused — wondering if a troubled past had led his son to do the unthinkable.

"He's a very nice person," said Stayner's father, Delbert. "I still love him and I'll always love him. I'm behind him 100 percent."