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Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders

Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders

The female victim in the case of the 1979 Does case was found with only one earring. This brings a parallel to the case that was seen in the Santa Rosa hitchhiker murders. The killer in these murders was thought to keep one earring from each of his victims, however, there doesn't seem to be much foundation for this belief. The murders occurred in Sonoma County, California, which borders Mendocino county to the south. The killer also targeted girls around the same age as the female victim in this case.

From 1972 to 1975, a series of female victims were murdered in the Sonoma County area:

Maureen Sterling and Yvonne Weber, both twelve years old, were kidnapped from Santa Rosa on February 4, 1972. Their skeletal remains were discovered in a rural area December 28, 1972. Only one earring was found at the scene. A cross for a necklace was also found.

The badly decomposed body Nancy Feusi was found on July 22, 1973, near Redding, California. The cause of death was undetermined.

On July 31, 1973, in the same location that Sterling and Weber's bodies were discovered in 1972, the nude body of Carolyn Nadine Davis was found. Davis was fifteen years old. There were no earings on Davis or found near her. She had been dead approximately 2 weeks when she was found. It was thought that two persons had dumped Davis because her body cleared a large shrub without breaking any branches. Davis had been poisoned with strychnine.

The nude body of Laura O'Dell was discovered. She had been strangled.

On December 28, 1973, the body of Therese Walsh, 22, was found in Mark West Creek. She had been raped, bound, and strangled. Walsh had went missing on December 22, 1972 as she hitchhiked from Malibu Beach to Garberville.

On February 1, 1974, the body of Brenda Merchant was found in a rural ditch. She had been stabbed to death.

On September 29, 1974, the nude body of Donna Braun was found floating in the Salinas River near Monterey. She had been strangled.

The killer of these women has never been identified. There have been a multitude of suspects over the years inclduing, the Zodiac Killer (and/or Arthur Leigh Allen), Ted Bundy, and Harvey Carignan,

Sterling, Weber, Davis, and Walsh were thought to have been killed by the same person and not related to the other murders.

See Deborah Silva's authoritative website on the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders.

A considerable amount of the information used on this site has been provided by Deborah Silva. Silva has conducted offline research and has gathered relevant documents and insight from law enforcement. Please visit her well-researched website on the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders.

© Copyright 2008, Chris Yarbrough