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Mon, 3 Feb 2014

Another Unsolved Crime: The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders


The most notorious crime to have happened in the history of Santa Rosa, California occurred between the years 1972-1973. A string of killings, seven young women in total, shocked the nation. This crime has not yet been solved.



The Victims Were Hitchhikers


There were signs pointing to an eigth victim, but the body disappeared and has never been located. The name "The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders" was coined because the particular crime happened to victims that were known to hitchhike. During that time, it was considered a relatively safe and popular way to go places without owning a car.

These were the seven known victims of the crime:



Maureen L. Sterling and Yvonne Weber


Maureen L. Sterling and Yvonne Weber were both 12 at the time they vanished and the crime occurred. They were on the way home from an ice skating rink at around 4 in the afternoon on a Friday. Authorities found their skeletons at the bottom of a deep embankment off the side of road. It was determined that they were murdered in another place and dumped at the area where they were found. They vanished in February, but were only found in December of that same year. Their clothes were gone and the killer also took a gold earring from each of them.



Kim Wendy Allen


The third victim of the crime was 19-year-old Kim Wendy Allen. She was a college student who studied in Santa Rosa. She was witnessed to have hitchhiked after leaving her part-time job at the Larjkspur Health Food shop, but then disappeared soon after. They found her unclothed body in a creekbed. Investigations showed that Allen was strangled with a piece of white clothesline. Her ankles and her wrists revealed marks that proved she was bound like she was spread-eagled. There were also cuts to her chest. The same pattern to the crime was there: no clothes and one missing gold earring.



Lori Lee Kursa


Lori Lee Kursa was the fourth to have fallen victim to the murderer. She was 13, and her last known location was at the U-Save market on November 21st. They located her body on December 12th. Her neck was broken and several vertebrae were dislocated. There was no other crime of theft as she had on two wire loops, but no gold earrings.




Carolyn Davis


The next to be taken was 15-year-old Carolyn Davis. She was a runaway who was last reported to have come from her grandmother's house. Authorities directly linked her murder to the previous crime since her body was found in the exact spot where Weber and Sterling, the first two victims, were dumped. They also found out that Carolyn had purchased a one-way ticket going to San Francisco. Her manner of death was through drinking a poison called Strychnine.



Therese Diane Walsh


Therese Diane Walsh was 23 when she was last spotted hitchhiking from Malibu Beach. Again another connection to the crime was established since her body was found near the spot where Allen, the third victim, was discovered. She was sexually assualted, but her cause of death was through strangulation with a one-quarter-inch nylon rope.



Jeannette Kamahele


The last confirmed victim was a Jeannette Kamahele. She was also a Santa Rosa college student like Allen. Police discovered her body near that of the fourth victim's, Lori Lee Kursa.



Many Suspects

There have been many suspects in this yet unsolved crime. The identity of the murderer(s) is still unknown but some people have linked it to Ted Bundy or the Zodiac killer. Others have linked the murders to Arthur Leigh Allan who at the time owned a moble home at Sunset Trailer Park in Santa Rosa. He was also the main suspect in the Zodiac case.

There was never any solid evidence to connect any of them to the crime, so as of now, the tragic case of the Santa Rosa Hitchhike Murders is still a mystery.