His father, Raoul Alcala Buquor, abandoned the family when he was young. In 1968, he graduated from the UCLA School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and later studied film under Roman Polanski (whose wife would later become a victim of the Manson Family) at the New York University under the name "John Berger".
When he was 12, he, his mother Anna Maria Gutierrez, and his sisters, Christine and Marie, had moved to suburban Los Angeles. In the summer, he worked as a counselor at a drama camp for children in New Hampshire.
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.
The man once nicknamed “The Dating Game Killer” because he appeared on that game show while in the midst of his killing rampage may have as many as 130 victims across the country, police in Wyoming said Tuesday, citing estimates by authorities.
Some online news stories mention Alcala may have an estimated 50 to 130 victims, but the actual number is unknown.
Her lunch date's name, authorities later said, was an alias that Alcala used.
Alcala had been a suspect in Crilley's death for several years.
Despite this, he enrolled in UCLA’s School of Fine Arts and earned his bachelor degree in 1968, the same year he raped his first known victim Tali Shapiro.
Hover's relatives papered walls and kiosks with posters.
A note in Hover's calendar for the day she vanished showed she planned to have lunch with a photographer she had recently met, according to the family's private detective and news reports at the time.
By the time they arrived, Alcala had struck Shapiro with a steel rod and raped her.
When they knocked on the door, he escaped out the back and evaded arrest. In 1971, Alcala is believed to have raped and strangled Cornelia Crilley, a Trans World Airlines flight attendant, in her Manhattan apartment.
Convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala was charged with murder Tuesday in Wyoming in the killing of a woman reported missing in 1977 – a charge authorities credited, in part, to information from the Huntington Beach Police Department.