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Serial killer's photos of women could identify more victims; police flooded with calls

March 19, 2010 |  6:48 am

Huntington Beach police detectives have been flooded with phone calls from people who believe they can identify one of the dozens of women in photos linked to convicted serial killer Rodney James Alcala.

Since the photos were released last week, the department assigned 10 investigators to look into tips based on the photos.

“Between the time we left late last night and the time we came in this morning we had 45 messages on the hot line,” Huntington Beach Police Capt. Chuck Thomas said Thursday.

In all, the department has gotten about 400 phone calls, Thomas said. Many can be easily eliminated because they are linked to people who went missing after Alcala was jailed for the 1979 killing of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach. He has been in prison ever since.

Others require more investigation. Six photos have potentially been linked to missing women who might be tied to Alcala, authorities said. None have been proved yet and it could be a long time before anything is positively confirmed, Thomas said.

Alcala, a onetime photographer and "Dating Game" contestant who briefly worked for The Times as a typesetter, was convicted in February of murdering Samsoe and four Los Angeles county women in the late 1970s.

Anyone with information about the photos is asked to contact Sgt. Aaron Smith at (714) 536-5947 or Det. Patrick Ellis at (714) 536-5947 of the Huntington Beach Police Department.

-- Paloma Esquivel in Huntington Beach

Photo: Unknown women photographed by Rodney James Alcala. Credit: Huntington Beach Police Department. Click here to see the Times gallery of Alcala's photos.