Photos dating game
They fear some of the unidentified people in the photos released last week may have fallen victim to Alcala as well.
"The first thing is, 'Oh, my God, I hope these girls are OK,' and the next thing is, 'I wonder if any of them are victims.' Everyone has that question," prosecutor Matt Murphy said.
Detectives have withheld about 900 pictures because they are too sexually explicit, while others have been cropped for release, said Huntington Beach police Capt. He said he didn't know why his predecessors didn't release the photos years ago.
"These people are grasping for straws, they want to hold onto anything they can hold onto to bring them closure." But while some calls are full of anguish, others bring relief.
During the latest trial, prosecutors outlined Alcala's penchant for torturing his victims: One had been raped with a claw-toothed hammer, another had her skull smashed in with a 7-inch rock and one was strangled so fiercely the pressure broke bones.
Several of the victims were posed nude in sexual positions after their deaths.
Every so often, a woman will call to say she recognizes herself in one of the pictures. In the picture, Leedom poses in a white, strapless summer dress with a gold cross around her neck, looking down and away from Alcala's camera with a faraway gaze.
Liane Leedom, a 48-year-old psychology professor and author, had insomnia earlier this week and was watching CNN at 2 a.m. Alcala lived down the street from Leedom with his mother and befriended her in June 1979 — the same month he killed Samsoe, who disappeared while riding a friend's bike to ballet class. He showed me pictures of nude boys and some of them were so striking that they stick in my mind today," Leedom said.