Thursday, 18 December 2014

Torrey Pines State Beach Murders

More than thirty five years after, a notorious murder remains unsolved.  What is more disconcerting, is that another murder took place on the same beach six years later, and everything about both murders was the same.  Yet, it took Police many years to link the murders, then declared that they believed they knew who the killer was, but both crimes were committed by different assailants.  A fact that is not shared by many.  The first crime concerned 15 year old Cheerleader Barbara Nantais and her 17 year old boyfriend Jim Alt.  It was in 1978 that they and two other friends went to the beach, and stayed there overnight.  The other couple stayed in the car at a carpark around two hundred and fifty yards away from their campsite.  Jim and Barbara stayed on the beach.  Whilst they slept, a predator pounced.  He used a heavy piece of wood to smash Jim`s skull in.  Then he attacked Barbara in the most appalling manner.  What was strange was that she was not sexually assaulted.  But what else hi did was truly sick.  She was stabbed and strangled, had sand forced down her throat, had knife wounds around her genitalia and had one of her breasts mutilated.  

    It was the following morning when incredibly, Jim stirred.  He was not dead.  He could not see because his eyes were swollen shut, he groped around but kept grabbing sand.  He could not feel Barbara.   Survival instinct kicked in and somehow he managed to stagger and crawl in the direction of the car to alert the other couple.  The young man at first, could not recognise the blood spattered man calling for help, then saw it was Jim, due to his long blonde hair.  Police were summoned to find Barbara grotesquely murdered.  Jim was taken to hospital and lapsed into a coma for a couple of weeks.  The cops at first thought Jim was responsible and his injuries were self inflicted!  Duuuuhhhh!!!!!!!!  Jim had to have a metal plate inserted into his skull and have much of one side of his face reconstructed.  Police were never able to find any suspects.  Jim Alt cannot move on until the killer is apprehended.

    Fast forward six years to 1984 and to 14 year old Claire Hough, who was staying with her grandparents.  She quietly left the house, late one night, taking a boombox with her.  She stopped to buy cigarettes at a late night store, and that was the last she was seen of, until her body was found on Torrey Pines Beach.  She had not been raped but strangled, throat slashed, stab wounds around the genitalia and one of her breasts had been severed.  This case ran cold until DNA tests on cigarette butts found near the body.  The tests revealed the DNA of three women and two men.  Police revealed that they were ready to arrest a man late this year for the crime.  He was a forensic scientist with the Police, but this man had not been involved in the investigation of Claire`s murder.  They also declared that a convicted sex offender who had died in a boating accident in 2011 was also involved, but there was no link between the murders of Barbara and Claire.  There were newspaper claims that Police were linking them but now they were not.  There has not been any explanation of why these men were named.  It was wondered why Claire went out late at night, but taking a music player and buying cigarettes tells you plenty.  She was off for a rendezvous on the beach with friends.  Who did the DNA belong to?  Three women and two men.  What is incredible is that these individuals have never come forward.  Why not?  What do they have to fear?  It would certainly answer some forensic questions, but after thirty years of silence, I call that complete and utter cowardice.  They have really shown how much their friend really meant to them.  Nothing.

    The cigarettes can put somebody at the murder scene, but a suspect will have a good answer.  He walked past that spot, and discarded the cigarette he was smoking, earlier in the day or night.  He is being accused simply because he walked past a spot where a body was dumped later.  Look at the facts; the girls were 14 & 15, both had stab wounds around the genitalia, both had sand forced down their throats, both were not sexually assaulted, and both had mutilations of the breast.  Is it conceivable that the exact area has two sets of killers doing exactly the same crime?  Profiler John Kelly believes it was a soldier who had probably seen combat in Vietnam and seen and committed atrocities, as he did not hesitate in what he had done.  Was it a man with a grudge to women?  A jilted soldier?  There is a very large military presence in the area with a number of military bases.  Plus, many men returning from Vietnam settled there.  My thoughts on this are that the conflict in Vietnam ended in 1973 and the murders were in 1978 and 1984.  What was he doing before the first, and before the second?  I do not believe in the "cooling off period" I think killers commit their crimes simply because they want to.  Much more has to come out into the public realm before I would reconsider my verdict that the same man committed both murders.  The Police should declare what they know before accusing deceased people of murder.  You can suspect them of it but to declare them killers before a court trial can decide, smacks of desire to get the cases closed.