Saturday, February 17, 2007
THE RAILROAD KILLER
Angel Maturino Resendez, AKA Angel Resendez, Rafael Ramirez or simply "the Railroad Killer" was one of America's most frightening serial killers because of the random nature of his victims. A railroad hobo, he rode the rails through the central area of America and killed at least nine people as he hopped on and off trains. What is additionally disturbing beyond the brutality of his stabbings and bludgeonings was that he was in police custody several times during his crime spree. But the nonexistent tracking of the INS allowed him to get away with having several identities and use them to keep a step ahead of law enforcement. Resendez was finally apprehended in 1999. The case was so shocking that Michelle Malkin devoted a chapter to it in her book Invasion.
The following deaths are attributed to Reséndiz:
1. August 29, 1997, Lexington, Kentucky, Christopher Maier, 21 years old. He was a University of Kentucky student walking along nearby railroad tracks with his girlfriend when the two were attacked by Reséndiz, who bludgeoned Maier to death. Reséndiz raped and severely beat Maier's girlfriend, who nearly died as a result.
2. October 4, 1998, Hughes Springs, Texas, Leafie Mason, 81 years old. She was hammered to death with a tire iron by Reséndiz, who entered through a window. Fifty yards outside her door was the Kansas City-Southern Rail line.
3. December 17, 1998, West University Place, Texas, Claudia Benton, 39 years old. Benton, a paediatric neurologist at the Baylor College of Medicine, was raped, stabbed, and bludgeoned repeatedly after he entered her home, which is near the West University train tracks. Police found her Jeep Cherokee in San Antonio and found Reséndiz's fingerprints on the steering column. After the murder, Reséndiz had a warrant for his arrest for burglary, but not yet for murder.
4 and 5. May 2, 1999, Weimar, Texas, Norman J. Sirnic, 46 years old, and Karen Sirnic, 47 years old. The Sirnics were bludgeoned to death by a sledgehammer in a parsonage of the United Church of Christ, where Norman Sirnic was a pastor. The building was located adjacent to a railroad. The Sirnics' red Mazda was also found in San Antonio three weeks later, and fingerprints link their case with the Claudia Benton case.
6. June 4, 1999, Houston, Texas, Noemi Dominguez, 26 years old. Dominguez, a schoolteacher at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, was bludgeoned to death in her apartment near the rail tracks. Seven days later, her white Honda Civic was discovered by state troopers on the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas.
7. June 4, 1999, Fayette County, Texas, Josephine Konvicka, 73 years old. Konvicka was killed by the blow of a pointed garden tool on the head while she lay sleeping. Her farmhouse is not far from Weimar. Reséndiz attempted to steal the car but was unable to take it away since he could not find the car keys.
8. and 9. June 15, 1999, Gorham, Illinois, George Morber Senior, 80 years old, and Carolyn Frederick, 52 years old. Reséndiz shot George Morber in the head with a shotgun and then clubbed Carolyn Frederick to death. Their house was located only 100 yards (90 m) away from a railroad line. Later, an onlooker sees a man matching Reséndiz's description driving Carolyn Frederick's red pickup truck in Cairo, Illinois, which is located 60 miles south of Gorham.
In addition, Reséndiz admitted to three earlier killings:
1. March 23, 1997, Ocala, Florida, Jesse Howell, 19 years old. He was bludgeoned to death with an air hose coupling and left beside the tracks.
2. March 23, 1997, We Hope, Florida, Wendy VonHuben, 16 years old. She was raped, strangled, suffocated and buried in a shallow grave approximately 30 miles (48 km) away from her fiancé, Jesse Howell.
3. On Wednesday, April 12, 2006, the San Antonio Police Department announced it had cleared the unsolved murder of Michael White, who was found shot to death in July of 1991 in the front yard of a vacant house in downtown San Antonio. According to San Antonio police, Angel Reséndiz gave them precise details about the murder, and has now been named the suspect