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By the time they arrived, Alcala had struck Shapiro with a steel rod and raped her.When they knocked on the door, he escaped out the back and evaded arrest. In 1971, Alcala is believed to have raped and strangled Cornelia Crilley, a Trans World Airlines flight attendant, in her Manhattan apartment.
Alcala's first known victim was an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro, whom he abducted as she was on her way to school.
After he lured her into his car, a witness followed him back to his apartment on De Longpre Avenue and called the police.
Because Shapiro's family had moved to Mexico and wouldn't let their daughter testify, Alcala got off with a guilty plead for a lesser assault charge.
He received indeterminate sentencing, which meant he would be released from incarceration when he proved himself rehabilitated (the system was popular in the 1970s when sex offenders were convicted).
In 1977, Alcala got permission from his parole officer to visit relatives in New York City.
Shortly after arriving (coincidentally during the time that Son of Sam was active), he is believed to have killed Ellen Jane Hover, a 23-year-old socialite.
His last known victim was 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, who was abducted on her way to ballet class in 1979 in Huntington Beach and her decomposing body found in the Sierra Madres twelve days later.
Earlier on the day of Samsoe's disappearance, Alcala had been seen trying to get her and one of her friends to get into swimsuits so he could take pictures of them, but was chased away by a neighbor.
He was also questioned as a convicted sex offender in connection with the Hillside Strangler investigation.
In 1978, in spite of his criminal record, Alcala was admitted as "Bachelor No. The host introduced him as a successful professional photographer.
In 2010, Alcala was tried for a total of five murders: Samsoe, Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted, Charlotte Lamb, and Jill Parenteau.