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Seattle police seek links between Alcala and two slain girls

Officers want DNA samples to see if the convicted serial killer is connected to two teenagers whose bodies were found in the 1970s.

March 27, 2010|By Ruben Vives

Seattle police said Friday that detectives are looking for links between convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala and two women who were slain in the late 1970s.

Police are seeking DNA samples to determine whether Alcala is a suspect in the slayings of Antionette Witaker, 13, and Joyce Gaunt, 17. Both were killed in Seattle, and their cases were never solved.

Det. Mark Jamieson of the Seattle Police Department said officials don't have any definitive evidence linking Alcala to the homicides but are exploring whether there is a connection.

"Because of his history . . . here and time frame of the murders, the detectives felt there was a possible connection, but I want to stress that there's nothing that's definitive," Jamieson said.

Last month, an Orange County jury found Alcala guilty of murdering four women and a teenage girl.

Days later, Huntington Beach detectives released a trove of photographs of women and children that were seized more than 30 years ago from a Seattle storage locker that the murderer rented just as the authorities were closing in on him.

Detectives said they wanted to know who these people were and whether they might have disappeared during Alcala's murder rampage in the late 1970s.

Since then, detectives have spent their days fielding a flood of phone calls from people whose loved ones have been missing for decades.

Alcala rented the locker soon after the 1979 kidnapping and murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, of Huntington Beach.

The locker also contained what prosecutors called his trophies: earrings that linked Alcala to Robin and another pair later linked to Charlotte Lamb, a Santa Monica legal secretary who was strangled in the laundry room of an El Segundo apartment complex.

Joyce Gaunt's body was found in a park in south Seattle in February 1978. Antionette Witaker's body was found in the northeast part of the city in July 1977.

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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