Better late than never
In 1974, Arlis Perry was murdered at Stanford University. Her murder had never been solved – until now. She may have been one of the victims of a serial killer only discovered years after her death, and hours before his.
In a July 2018 interview, the Santa Clara County Sheriff revealed that it was reopening this cold case after work done with the NBC Bay Area and the Murder Accountability Project found evidence that Arlis may have been the victim of an alleged serial killer, a man we won’t name as proof is still being gathered and a case still being made, although the data is compelling.
“DNA testing found evidence that [the alleged serial killer] was a suspect in the 1974 murder, but when the police went to knock on [man]’s door, he committed suicide rather than be questioned,” says Thomas Hargrove. “This sparked interest.
Was there a chance he could have killed anybody else? Why would he have killed himself rather than face the police? To answer these questions, we went into our data systems and selected the Santa Clara jurisdiction in the time frame required. The algorithm identified all the woman who had died in similar ways.”
The data showed that in the 1970s and 1980s a large number of unsolved murders appeared and then stopped abruptly after 1991. At this exact time, [the suspect] had been arrested for stealing books from Stanford, where he was a security guard. After he was released he moved to Florida – and thus the pattern ended with his departure.
“There’s a reason to believe that the reason why these murders suddenly stopped was because he had moved,” adds Hargrove. “Now the pattern and [the suspect] are undergoing further investigation to uncover whether or not a serial killer has indeed been found.”