Cheryl Bradshaw Biography & Facts
Rodney James Alcala (born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor; August 23, 1943 – July 24, 2021) was an American serial killer and rapist who was sentenced to death in California for five murders committed in that state between 1977 and 1979, and received an additional sentence of 25 years to life after pleading guilty to two homicides committed in New York in 1971 and 1977. Alcala's true number of victims remains unknown and could be much higher.Alcala compiled a collection of more than 1,000 photographs of women, teenage girls, and boys, many in sexually explicit poses. In 2016, he was charged with the 1977 murder of a woman identified in one of his photos. Alcala is known to have assaulted one other photographic subject, and police have speculated that others could be rape or murder victims as well.Prosecutors have said that Alcala "toyed" with his victims, strangling them until they lost consciousness, then waiting until they revived, sometimes repeating this process several times before finally killing them. One police detective described Alcala as "a killing machine," and others have compared him to Ted Bundy.Alcala was sometimes referred to as The Dating Game Killer because of his 1978 appearance on the television show The Dating Game in the midst of his murder spree.
Rodney Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor in San Antonio, Texas, to a Mexican-American couple, Raoul Alcala Buquor and Anna Maria Gutierrez. In 1951, Alcala's father moved the family to Mexico, then abandoned them three years later. In 1954, when Alcala was about 11 years old, his mother moved him and his two sisters to suburban Los Angeles.In 1961, at the age of 17, Alcala joined the United States Army and served as a clerk. In 1964, after what was described as a nervous breakdown—during which he went AWOL and hitchhiked from Fort Bragg to his mother's house—he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by a military psychiatrist and discharged on medical grounds. Other diagnoses later proposed by various psychiatric experts at his trials included narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and malignant narcissism with psychopathy and sexual sadism comorbidities.After leaving the army, Alcala graduated from the UCLA School of Fine Arts and later studied film under Roman Polanski at New York University.
Early criminal history
Alcala committed his first known crime in 1968 when an eyewitness in Los Angeles called police after watching him lure an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his Hollywood apartment. When the police arrived, the girl was found alive, having been raped and beaten with a steel bar, but Alcala had fled. To evade the resulting arrest warrant, Alcala left the state and enrolled in the NYU film school, using the name "John Berger." In 1971, he obtained a counseling job at a New Hampshire arts camp for children using a slightly different alias, "John Burger." In June 1971, Cornelia Michel Crilley, a 23-year-old TWA flight attendant, was found raped and strangled in her Manhattan apartment. Her murder remained unsolved until 2011.The FBI added Alcala to its list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives in early 1971. A few months later, two children attending the arts camp noticed his photo on an FBI poster at the post office. Alcala was arrested and extradited to California. By then, Shapiro's parents had relocated their entire family to Mexico and refused to allow her to testify at Alcala's trial. Unable to convict him of rape and attempted murder without their primary witness, Alcala was convicted of child molestation and sentenced to three years. Alcala was paroled in 1974 after 17 months. Less than two months after his release, he was re-arrested for assaulting a 13-year-old girl identified in court records as "Julie J.," who had accepted what she thought would be a ride to school. Alcala was again paroled after serving two years.After Alcala's second release in 1977, his Los Angeles parole officer took the unusual step of permitting a repeat offender—and known flight risk—to travel to New York City. NYPD cold-case investigators now believe that a week after arriving in Manhattan, Alcala killed Ellen Jane Hover, 23-year-old daughter of the owner of the popular Hollywood nightclub Ciro's and goddaughter of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Her remains were found buried on the grounds of the Rockefeller Estate in Westchester County.In 1978, Alcala worked briefly at the Los Angeles Times as a typesetter, and was interviewed by members of the Hillside Strangler task force as part of their investigation of known sex offenders. Although Alcala was ruled out as the Hillside Strangler, he was arrested and served a brief sentence for marijuana possession.During this period, Alcala convinced hundreds of young men and women that he was a professional fashion photographer, and photographed them for his "portfolio." A Times co-worker later recalled that Alcala shared his photos with workmates. "I thought it was weird, but I was young; I didn't know anything," she said. "When I asked why he took the photos, he said their moms asked him to. I remember the girls were naked.""He said he was a professional, so in my mind I was being a model for him," said a woman who allowed Alcala to photograph her in 1979. The portfolio also included "... spread after spread of [naked] teenage boys," she said. Most of the photos are sexually explicit, and most of the subjects remain unidentified. Police fear that some of the subjects may be additional cold-case victims. In 1979, according to later trial testimony, Alcala knocked unconscious and raped 15-year-old Monique Hoyt while she was posing for photographs.
Dating Game appearance
In 1978, Alcala was a contestant on the popular game show The Dating Game. Host Jim Lange introduced him as a "successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed. Between takes you might find him skydiving or motorcycling."
A fellow "bachelor" contestant later described Alcala as a "very strange guy" with "bizarre opinions." Alcala won the competition and a date with the episode's bachelorette, Cheryl Bradshaw, who subsequently refused to go out with him because she found him "creepy." Criminal profiler Pat Brown, noting that Alcala killed at least three women after his Dating Game appearance, speculated that this rejection might have been an exacerbating factor. "One wonders what that did in his mind," Brown said. "That is something he would not take too well. [Serial killers] don't understand the rejection. They think that something is wrong with that girl: 'She played me. She played hard to get.'"
Samsoe murder, arrest, and first two trials
Robin Samsoe, a 12-year-old girl from Huntington Beach, disappeared somewhere between the beach and her ballet class on June 20, 1979. Her decomposing body was found 12 days later in the Los Angeles foothills. Samsoe's.... Discover the Cheryl Bradshaw popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Cheryl Bradshaw books.