Serial Killer Rodney Alcala

Rodney Alcala was one of the most feared serial killers in the United States. He murdered by killing his victims’ majority of whom were women. During his conviction, he narrated how he used to rape women before killing them and hiding their bodies so that he could not be recognized for his actions. He was born in San Antonio, Texas and grew up normally just like other kids in the neighbor grew. He was later forced to relocate to Mexico for a short while at the time when he was working in Mexico.  Growing up life was a bit challenging for Rodney Alcala because his family faced challenges in terms of parents living separately, he was not fortunate enough to enjoy the love of the father who most of the time was at work.

Rodney Alcala secured a job at the age of seventeen years when he joined the army of the United States where he worked for four years. The working at the army was short-lived after he faced health challenges including the nervous breakdown (Smith, 2017). His life overturned when he was dismissed from the army on the grounds that he faced health challenges. The grounds for his health was argued that he had the antisocial personality disorder that would make him face challenges while interacting with colleagues.  Some people believe that the disorder contributed to the activities that he engaged in killing innocent people.

Rodney Alcala growing up was not involved in crime, and therefore no one would suspect that he would later become a serial killer. The crime began in the form of abuse where he has been accused of raping young female daughter (Smith, 2017). He used to lure little girls into having fun, but later on, he used to rape the girls. He would lure most of his victims that he would either assist them in one thing or the other and the girls would accept the offer. The victims never suspected that Rodney Alcala would be planning to harm them to the extent of killing them. Once the victims got into the house of Rodney Alcala, he used to begin by raping them and threatening them to give away all their valuables. He had some military background; therefore he never faced a challenge in killing his victims.

The actions of Rodney Alcala to kill innocent people and hide their bodies in a manner that could be difficult to find the body. People never used to suspect him; therefore he never used to have difficulties in hiding the truth and the bodies that he had killed. Majority of the people whom he killed have ever been seen up to today because he never used to keep the bodies of the victims on one location making it hard to trace the location of the people who got lost.

One victim, Cornelia Michel Crilley, was a Trans World Airlines flight attendant who was raped and strangled in her Upper East Side apartment in 1971; the other, Ellen Jane Hover, an aspiring orchestra conductor who disappeared one summer day in 1977 — and whose remains were found nearly a year later on the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County.

The two women, both 23 at the time of their deaths, most likely did not know each other. But according to law enforcement officials, they had at least one connection: both were killed by Rodney Alcala, a photographer and one-time contestant on “The Dating Game” who is on death row in California for killing a 12-year-old girl and four women in the late 1970s. He has been in prison there since 1980.

When luring the victims, Rodney Alcala would pretend to be a nice person to their victims whom he wanted to either kill or rape. Seven years earlier, in 1971, he was arrested for the rape and attempted murder of eight-year-old Tali Shapiro. Tali and her family had left the country after her attack, so with no prime witness, Rodney was only charged with child molestation. Bearing in mind that Rodney Alcala was a former soldier with the army of the United States he thought that he was bright enough that he would ensure the bodies of the victims that he had murdered. Rodney ensured that no one knew his paths and easy to avoid unnecessary attention from the people that might consider him a suspect of the people that had gone missing.

The investigative bodies did not consider that Rodney would become a serial killer that was making people go missing, and the majority of the people who went missing were men (Smith, 2017). Rodney started becoming a suspect among the police when a woman reported that Rodney was seen with the schoolgirl that had gone missing in the previous night and therefore people began to fear that Rodney could be a suspect because his intentions were not known including the reason why many people he was seen with earlier went missing days after being seen with him.

The reason why Rodney was able to confuse people and directing them to his trap where he would kill them was that the victims had seen them on a television show hence they believed that he was a genuine person could not have evil plans towards them. Many of the victims could not believe that the person they thought was a nice person would betray them to the extent of planning to kill them. Rodney was a moderator of a dating show; hence his activities and moves were not taken seriously.  Even some strangers who knew him through the television show hence they wanted to become great as well.

For more than three decades, the killings of Ms. Crilley and Ms. Hover remained unsolved. It is unclear when detectives in New York became interested in Alcala who lived in New York in the early 1970s, attended New York University under an alias and worked as a photographer as a possible suspect (Smith, 2017). Law enforcement officials would not say. But a former boyfriend of Ms. Hover’s said in an interview that the police told him two weeks after her 1977 disappearance that a man with California connections might be involved.

After realizing that he was known for the crimes that he used to commit he decided to go on the run in new places where he could not be recognized. On the run, he did not continue committing the crimes that he used to commit because he was worried about being traced for the crimes that he had earlier committed (Montaldo, 2018). On the run, he decided not to get the attention of people because the people would make the authorities aware of his activities and this could lead to prosecution. However, he was later arrested and prosecuted for his contribution to raping and killing innocent women. He tried to plead with the judge that he had not committed the offenses that he was accused of having committed. He was prosecuted and found guilty of the offenses of kidnapping, rape, and assault and sentenced for one year. He was lucky to get parole before he could complete his sentence

In conclusion, Alcala remains to become one of the deadliest serial killers ever seen in the United States who was on the run without being arrested. He killed many innocent people and lived for many years without being caught for his actions. Its believed that there are more people that Alcala killed and are yet to be known.


  1. SMITH, B. (2017). ‘Dating Game Killer’ Rodney Alcala May Have Strangled And Murdered Around 100 Women. Retrieved from

Montaldo, C. (2018). Profile of Serial Killer Rodney Alcala. Retrieved from