The mon­ster every­one loved

Al­temio Sanchez was the fam­ily man who was hid­ing some­thing.

Pick Me Up! Special - - News -

Afam­ily man who was de­voted to his lo­cal com­mu­nity and hap­pily opened up his home on the week­ends to throw BBQ’S for his neigh­bours.

‘The nicest per­son you’d ever want to meet,’ one would later de­scribe him.

Hard­work­ing Al­temio Sanchez was re­spected by every­one and was the first to put his hand up to help.

It never even crossed any­one’s mind that Sanchez seemed too good to be true – but he was.

Be­hind his per­fect per­sona, the dad-of-two was hid­ing a very dis­turb­ing char­ac­ter.

One that po­lice would call The Bike Path Killer.

Sanchez was a pro­lific rapist and se­rial killer who struck fear into the lo­cal women us­ing re­mote path­ways.

Even worse, he was free to carry on while some­one else was be­hind bars for crimes that he’d com­mit­ted.

Sanchez, 48, lived in Buf­falo, New York, with his un­sus­pect­ing wife, Kath­leen.

For 20 years, he’d been a dili­gent fac­tory worker.

Col­leagues said he was mild­man­nered, and never com­plained over tak­ing on the unso­cia­ble night shifts.

Out­side of work, Sanchez was the bas­ket­ball coach of one of his son’s school teams, and a Lit­tle League base­ball coach.

He’d pot­ter about his gar­den on the week­ends and play golf with his bud­dies.

Peo­ple would even call him ‘Un­cle Al’ be­cause of his kind and friendly ways.

But Un­cle Al was also the man that the au­thor­i­ties knew only as The Bike Path Killer.

A preda­tor who raped and stran­gled women to death as they trav­elled on se­cluded bike paths.

His first vic­tim was Linda Yalem, 22, in Septem­ber 1990.

She was a stu­dent who was out on a train­ing jog to pre­pare for the New York City Marathon.

Linda was later found dead along the El­li­cott Creek Bike Path. She’d been raped and stran­gled. Next to be cho­sen by Sanchez was Ma­jane Mazur, 32, in 1992.

She was also raped and stran­gled, then dumped on a se­cluded path near a rail­way line. Sanchez wasn’t a sus­pect. In 1996, he even en­tered a me­mo­rial run set up in Linda Yalem’s mem­ory.

Po­lice recorded it look­ing for clues, but he was just an­other face in the crowd.

For years, it seemed as if he’d stopped.

But then Joan Diver, 45, dis­ap­peared in Septem­ber 2006.

She was a nurse and mum of four who had been jog­ging along the bike path.

Joan, the wife of a chem­istry pro­fes­sor, was later found beaten to death in the same place and ex­actly 16 years to the day of his first vic­tim Linda.

But she hadn’t been raped like the oth­ers.

It’s be­lieved she died be­fore she could be, af­ter bravely fight­ing to the very end.

But DNA tied her

killing to the oth­ers. The Bike Path Killer had an­nounced his re­turn.

The lo­cal po­lice set up a task force to look into the cases that had run cold.

Over the years, there were count­less rapes – women that Sanchez had raped and stran­gled al­most to death, but they’d man­aged to es­cape. In­cred­i­bly, an in­no­cent

man called

An­thony

He was an­other face in the crowd

Capozzi, 29, was serv­ing time in prison for two of the rapes that Sanchez had com­mit­ted.

Sanchez was get­ting away with it and not just through luck.

He metic­u­lously planned out his bru­tal at­tacks.

He would even leave duct tape to cover his vic­tims’ eyes in places near the killing ground so he could grab it eas­ily when he pounced.

When Sanchez struck from be­hind with­out warn­ing, his vic­tims didn’t stand a chance.

He’d use a rope or steel cord to squeeze the life from them.

In 1991 and 1999, Sanchez was ar­rested and fined for so­lic­it­ing pros­ti­tutes in the area.

Slip­ping through the net again, but it did give him a record.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were go­ing through old files when they came across a car num­ber plate that a rape vic­tim had re­ported see­ing, driv­ing from the scene.

It be­longed to Sanchez’s un­cle – who told them his nephew had been driv­ing it.

They were sure they’d found their se­rial killer.

All they needed was his DNA to match with eight dif­fer­ent crime scenes in the area.

On the night of Jan­uary 3, 2017, they went un­der­cover in a Latin

Amer­i­can restau­rant that Sanchez was

din­ing in with his wife. Kath­leen hadn’t a clue who she was mar­ried to.

Once they’d left, an of­fi­cer took Sanchez’s glass and cut­lery and matched the DNA. They’d got him. The com­mu­nity were stunned and con­vinced po­lice had the wrong man.

How could church­go­ing ‘Un­cle Al’, who vol­un­teered to help any­one and was so po­lite, be a se­rial rapist and a cal­cu­lated killer?

It had to be a mis­take. But

in May 2007, Al­temio Sanchez pleaded guilty to the mur­ders of the three women.

While ad­mit­ting rap­ing be­tween 13 to 20 women dur­ing the early 1980s, US law at the time said that too much time had passed and he couldn’t be pros­e­cuted for them.

‘What­ever sen­tence I get to­day I de­serve,’ he said in court. He was sen­tenced to 75 years to life in prison.

His stunned wife sobbed dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings. Wrongly

Al­temio Sanchez was liv­ing a twisted dou­ble life

Caught by a glass of wa­ter

con­victed An­thony Capozzi was re­leased af­ter serv­ing 22 years for crimes he didn’t com­mit.

It seemed only his vic­tims knew the real Al­temio Sanchez, and for some women, his face was the last one they’d see.

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