On January 10, 1977, five-foot two-inch, Roxene Roggasch was found dead, dumped near Fairfax, Calif. After receiving an anonymous phone call, the police drove to the road where the tipster’s car had stalled and found the petite, freckled redhead buried facedown underneath some desert brush. Panty hose were wrapped around her neck, and her feet were bound. Police concluded she’d been dead for less than a day.
At first, the police looked to the most obvious solution. As Roggasch had been suspected of working as a prostitute, although her family denied any knowledge of that, police looked closely at a man who was alleged to have been a pimp in the area who was accused of assault by a woman who had claimed to have worked with Roggasch. But when that didn’t pan out, the trail and the case went cold. Roggasch was just 18
The next year, another young woman was found dead. In 1978, Carmen Colon was found in Port Costa, 30 miles away. She was only 22 years old.
Then there was a lull in the killings – it wasn’t until over 15 years later that another woman was murdered, Pamela Parsons, 38, a waitress was found dead in Yuba County; a year later, Tracy Tafoya, 31, was found dead, also in Yuba County. She had been drugged, raped, and tossed in a cemetery. It was estimated that she had been dead a week before her body was found.
In all cases, the women were found strangled, and dumped naked in rural areas. They all reportedly either had problems with drugs and alcohol or they were prostitutes.
The most chilling similarity among the victims, though, was their unique names. All four women who were killed had alliterative initials: Their first and last name began with the same letter. This detail further piqued the interest of investigators because a few years earlier, another string of murders had occurred in Rochester, N.Y. and those victims had also had the same first letters of the first and last name. Those murders had been dubbed the Double Initial killings or the Alphabet Murders.
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