The Dating Game was a popular that ran off and on between 1965 up until the 1990s. They were a lot of memorable contestants on the show but one in particular stood out to me. Rodney Alcala (born on August 23, 1943):
Why does he stand out to me? Because Rodney Alcala is a convicted serial rapist and killer and has killed somewhere in the excess amount of over a hundred women. He is referred as the “Dating Game Killer” because he made an appearance as one of the eligible bachelors on the show in 1978. The lady contestant actually ended up picking Rodney as her date but declined to go out with him. She said that he was creepy and didn’t feel conformable to go on a date with him.
Rodney’s first documented crime was as early as 1968 when he was in Los Angeles and someone saw him coax a young girl between the ages of 8-10 into his apartment to take photos of her. He would use the ploy of being a well known photographer and take photos of his victims before he would raped and murder them. The person called the police and from there the police broke down the door to find that Rodney had severely beaten and raped the girl.
However Rodney fled the state shortly after the crime all the way to New York City and changed his name to “John Berger” and went to school to NYU. In 1971 he changed his name again to “John Burger” to be able to work at an art camp for children in New Hampshire as a counselor. However that did not stop him from killing. In June 1971 he raped and killed a women name Cornelia Michel Crilley who was between the ages of 22-25 and was a flight attendant for TWA.
She was found in her apartment and at the time her killer was gone once the police found her body. Her case was finally solved in 2011 by an imprint of a bite mark that wound found on her body matched Rodney’s exactly.
Rodney was on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives list of 1971 and it was two kids from the art camp who saw that list from a poster at the local post office. Rodney was arrested and brought back to California to face charges for what happened in California years previously. However the family of the victim had moved to Mexico and would not allow the girl to testify again Rodney. So he was charged with a way lesser crime and was paroled after 17 months. But as soon as he got out he was quickly arrested for assaulting a minor again. He found the 13 year old girl walking to school and he tricked into thinking that he was going to give her a ride to school. He was once again served a light sentence and was paroled after two years.
During the time of his horrible murdering spree he would continue his ploy of taking provocative photos of hundreds of young men and women most of them were in their teenage years. Telling them it was for a well known magazine or for his portfolio.
Finally in July of 1979 Rodney was arrested for the abduction and murder of a 12 year old year in Huntington Beach, California. She disappeared the previous month on her way to her ballet class. She never made it to the class instead her body was found 12 days later after she was reported missing. When police questioned her friends about her missing and later killed. They mentioned the a gentleman approach them asking if they wanted their photos taken. They were able to have a rough sketch of the person who was asking about taking photos and matched Rodney’s description.
They police had a search warrant for Rodney’s residence as well as his mother’s residence. And upon searching his mother’s house they found a receipt for a locker all the way in Seattle, Washington. When they search the locker they found a pair of earrings that belong to the little girl.
Rodney was arrested tried and sentence to death in 1980 for the murder however the decision was overturned were the California Supreme Court felt like the jury in that case was ill informed of Rodney’s prior crimes.
Rodney was retrial in 1986 and was serve the same death sentence ever . He was also tried for other murders that were connected to him in at least five other states that happen in between 1970-1979.
NO one knows for sure how many people died by Rodney’s hands however his photographs documents over hundreds and hundreds of people. Police is still trying to figure out the exact number of people. It is sad to me that a lot of families are still missing loves ones by this monster.
Thanks to the scientific advances of DNA it has boost a lot of the cold cases connected to Rondey Alcala and as early as 2003 he was convicted of the murder of Christine Thorton.
The police has release at least 100 photos that Rodney took online in hopes that it will help identify those people and hopefully help solved those missing people. Rodney is currently still serving time at California State Prison.
For more information about this. The following information is below:
There was also a movie made about his crimes:
Which you can watch on Vudu:
There is also a podcast too:
Until Next time!