UPDATE at 4:19 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2016: A suspect in the San Diego cases has been arrested. See more below. First posted at 7:01 a.m. Friday, July 15, 2016.
Summer is serial killer season in Los Angeles.
While it's been some time since we've had an active serial killer stalking the Hollywood Hills or other parts of the region, there are still Southern California murderers on the loose.
For your entertainment — use this as a bedtime story if you're having trouble sleeping — we've compiled a list of serial- and multiple-murder suspects who have yet to be caught.
The Zodiac Killer. Of course the Zodiac Killer. He's never been caught. The murderer is most known for his crimes in Northern California, but he's also been linked to SoCal killings, including a pair of 1963 shooting deaths in Santa Barbara and the 1966 stabbing death of college student Jo Bates in Riverside. At least five NorCal murders have been officially linked to the Zodiac case. But you already know that, because you've seen the movie(s).
The Golden State Killer. This guy was perhaps best known as the Original Night Stalker, but authorities are trying to shift that nickname so the case is not confused with that of Night Stalker Richard Ramirez, the 1980s SoCal psycho who died in 2013. The Golden State Killer committed 12 murders, about 45 rapes and dozens of home break-ins from 1976 to 1986, authorities say.
Though this is another case of a killer more known for his NorCal deeds, investigators have linked him to the 1986 rape of an 18-year-old in Irvine, as well as rape, murder and attempted murder cases from 1979 through 1981 in Goleta, Ventura, Laguna Niguel and Irvine. The FBI is actively searching for this creep and might even give you $50,000 if you help agents find him.
Valley of the Sun Shooter. This recent killer doesn't have a name yet, so for now we'll call him this, based on the nickname of his hunting grounds, Phoenix. Authorities in the desert metropolis say a single man might be behind a series of eight random shootings that have taken the lives of seven victims. A federal official tells us that investigators believe the shooter could possibly be hiding out in L.A., among other areas. But Phoenix police sergeant Jon Howard discounted the idea, saying the shooter could be anywhere. “It's possible he's in China by now,” he said.
San Diego's homeless killer. Someone in California's second largest city is beating, burning and killing homeless people. One suspect, 36-year-old Anthony Alexander Padgett, was arrested last week and then released for lack of evidence. Since then police have modified their idea of what they think the killer, linked to three deaths and one attack, looks like (see the sketch below). The last victim to die, 23-year-old homeless man Dionicio Derek Vahidy, had been set on fire, cops said. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call detectives at 619-531-2293.
UPDATE at 4:19 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2016: Police today announced they've arrested a suspect in the attacks, 39-year-old Jon David Guerrero. “”We have the right person in jail,” police Lt. David Nisleit told reporters.
The Northeast L.A. killer. Someone has killed multiple women in Northeast L.A. And by multiple we mean two. The 2011 murders of 22-year-old Bree'Anna Guzman and 17-year-old Michelle Lozano are believed by investigators to be connected. And the Los Angeles Police Department hasn't ruled out the possibility that a serial killer was at work in the area. Cops have not connected the killings to a sexual predator who was roaming Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. Nor have the murders been tied to the discovery of the bodies of other female victims east of downtown. The murders of Guzman and Lozano remain unsolved.