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Published:June 22nd, 2012 08:12 EST
How Did NY Detectives Link Rodney Alcala to Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover?

How Did NY Detectives Link Rodney Alcala to Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover?

By John G. Kays


I`ve attempted researching serial killer Rodney Alcala several times before, but always reject such an indulgence as way too sick to tolerate. With the news that this sicko is being arraigned in Manhattan for two cold cases, I finally toughened my demeanor or my internal psychology, that allows us to objectify disturbing traces of evidence (this must be what hardened, veteran homicide detectives do), and zeroed in on this free-lance photographer, who casts a long dark shadow on the 1970s.


Actually, I avert my eyes when seeing the evil visage of Rodney Alcala; especially his scary, long curly locks that make him look like the Devil incarnate! I watched a CBS 48 Hours Mystery (I will link it for you below), which aptly summarizes his agonizing spree from the 1970s. The special is particularly good on the Robin Samsoe case, which helped to put Alcala on California`s death row. Most chilling, is the account of a photo he took of a girl on Huntington Beach, the same day Robin Samsoe disappeared.


Come to think of it, my real purpose in writing this piece this morning, is that I want to see how detectives in New York were able to link Rodney to the 1971 Cornelia Crilley murder and to a 1977 case, Ellen Hover. I scrutinized as many substantive articles as I could find on the internet, but was only able to come up with a small bit of data explaining how these resourceful detectives managed to nail this crazy man.


I was in search of another aspect of this story as well, but came up mostly empty. I was looking for biographical information on Cornelia Crilley and on Ellen Hover. Unfortunately, these girls who died when they were so young (23), are mostly forgotten, while we still remember you know who. This is wrong! I see that Cornelia Crilley was a flight attendant, but what airline did she work for? 


We learn a little more on Ellen Hover, whose father owned Ciro`s in Los Angeles, and once is seen in photographs with Marilyn Monroe and with Betty Grable. I`d like to see these photographs published on the internet; then I`ll know something more about Ellen Hover. Okay, so an AP piece tells us Ellen Hover was a comedy writer, had a degree in biology, and was seeking a job as a researcher, so that`s some more biographical info.


So, what evidence did NY have that helped them solve Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover`s homicides? A bite mark on Crilley was positively identified to Alcala`s dental impressions. Still, I wondered if they had anything else? I considered the possibility that these girls` photos may be amongst the hundreds of photos found in RA`s storage locker. I viewed one slideshow, and was shocked to think of this man convincing all these girls to pose for his camera.


True, many of these girls didn`t know he was taking their picture. I wondered also whether any of these photos have now been identified. And I didn`t really see the tie-in that was made with Ellen Hover. How can they prove Alcala did it? Can they link him with DNA? No mention of it in the articles I read. I hope more information is published on the lives of Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover. They should be remembered, while what`s-his-name needs to be totally forgotten. The 1970s was an interesting decade, but this man put a blemish on this chapter of our American Experience.


`Dating Game` Serial Killer Rodney Alcala Charged with Two Manhattan Murders - DNAinfo.com New York


"48 Hours Mystery:" Rodney Alcala`s Killing Game - CBS News