In just four months, the hillsides around LA had become infamous. Between October 1977 and February 1978 the bodies of 10 young women and girls were discovered naked and positioned in lascivious poses with ligature marks around their feet, ankles and neck.
A tidal wave of fear crashed down on the City of Angels. Media dub the killer The Hillside Strangler. Hysteria reached a fever pitch when the bodies of five women were found the week of Thanksgiving and law enforcement was frustrated by the lack of evidence.
A pattern quickly emerged. The Hillside Strangler would wash the bodies before dumping them. Based on that lack of evidence, it appeared the victims hadn’t put up a struggle. Detectives worried that the killer could be a person of authority, like a police officer or someone posing as law enforcement.
Another thing that kept investigators up at night was the semen in the body and the placement of bruises. They led investigators to believe these heinous murders were the work of two people, not just one, which meant they were looking for not just one serial killer, but two working together.
Without a doubt, the autopsies pointed the finger at a cruel hand. Not only had the victims been sexually assaulted, the ligature marks told a cruel tale. The killer strangled his victims as slowly and painfully as possible for one purpose: to make him feel powerful.
And then in February, just as quickly as the killings had begun, they stopped.
It would take two more murders over 1,000 miles away to finally unmask the Hillside Strangler.