Thornton was about six months pregnant at the time of her death, according to the warrant for Alcala’s arrest.Though prosecutors said her body was uncovered by a rancher in Wyoming in 1982, Thornton’s alleged link to Alcala wasn’t known for decades.Though he’s been in jail or prison since 1979, Alcala has been tried, convicted and retried for five sexual assault murders in Southern California.In 1980, he was convicted of murdering Robin Samsoe, a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl who was raped and killed by Alcala after he lured her from the beach by promising to take her picture.Over the decades, investigators linked Alcala to other homicides in Los Angeles, San Francisco, upstate New York, New Hampshire and Seattle.In 2010, Alcala was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing Samsoe as well as Jill Barcomb, 18, of Los Angeles; Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 31, of El Segundo; and Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank.After Kathy Thornton saw the picture, in 2013, she called the source – Huntington Beach police.From there, investigations and DNA testing of Thornton’s family eventually tracked the remains to a federal database that included information about a then-unidentified body in Wyoming.
“This is a case of a detective who was super passionate.” ALCALA REACTION The new murder charge against Alcala might not change his status.
That conviction was overturned in 1986 on grounds that the jury had been improperly informed of previous sex crimes committed by Alcala.
That year he was retried and again convicted in Orange County, but that conviction also was overturned, this time because a witness wasn’t allowed to substantiate Alcala’s contention that a park ranger who found Samsoe’s body had been hypnotized by investigators.
Rodney Alcala is a convicted rapist, torturer and serial killer who evaded justice for 40 years.
Dubbed the "Dating Game Killer" Alcala was once a contestant on the show, "The Dating Game," where he won a date with another contestant.