Almost two decades after his wife disappeared, Sperry said, he still had the missing-person's report. He felt vindicated. He reunited with his daughter, now 19, and the two flew to Colorado Springs. They appeared at a news conference late last month, hours after watching Browne plead guilty to killing Rocio Sperry. Browne was sentenced to a second life term. Then the Sperrys and the Sheriff's Office stood before the media and unveiled the stunning tabulation of death that Browne claimed.
Authorities released copies of the "murder map," as well as pictures of the victims in the seven killings the Sheriff's Office have definitively linked to Browne.
"He could be exaggerating," Sheriff Terry Maketa said of Browne's claimed body count. But, for the time being, the department was taking him at his word. Hess said the agency had enough detail to possibly confirm as many as 20 more killings.
Towns across the nine states are looking at decades-old homicides. Some have been unable to match unsolved cases to Browne's vague descriptions. For example, Browne claimed to have used a Ruger pistol to fatally shoot a couple camping on a beach north of San Francisco in 1986. California officials confirmed Browne had been stopped driving with a Ruger at that time, but they have yet to find an unsolved killing matching his story. The bodies, authorities note, could have washed away.