Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Rosalind Thorpe (Page 1 of 2)

Kemper victims’ manner of death

After Ed Kemper was imprisoned for life in 1973, some crime magazines published articles revisiting Kemper’s case in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These articles portrayed Kemper as a serial killer who used a power saw or a buzz saw to murder his victims, which is far from the truth. But a bit of research revealed that there is a link to the use of saws in Cindy Schall’s murder case: after finding the different parts of her body in different locations in and around Santa Cruz, police and a pathologist determined she had been sawed into pieces with a power saw.

Ed Kemper mainly used firearms, knives and strangulation as his murder weapons. 

He shot to death both his paternal grandparents, Maude Matilda (Hughey) Kemper and Edmund Emil Kemper Sr. on their ranch on August 27, 1964 with a rifle given to him by his grandfather. Kemper also stabbed his grandmother post-mortem. 

Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa were both murdered by Kemper on May 7, 1972. Pesce was stabbed with a knife and strangled to death in the backseat of Kemper’s car. Luchessa was killed in the trunk of the car in a similar manner. 

Aiko Koo was choked to death by Kemper on the evening of September 14, 1972 right next to his car on a secluded road. He also raped her while she was unconscious. 

Cindy Schall was fatally shot in the head by Kemper with a .22 caliber pistol in the trunk of his car on January 7, 1973. 

On February 5, 1973, Kemper first fatally shot Rosalind Thorpe in the head and then Alice Liu with his pistol in his car while driving on the UCSC campus. Kemper shot Liu several times, including twice in the head.

In the early hours on April 20, 1973, Kemper snuck into his mother Clarnell Strandberg’s bedroom to bludgeon her with a claw hammer and slit her throat with a penknife. 

On the evening of April 20, 1973, Kemper murdered his mother’s best friend, Sally Hallett, by strangling her to death with his arm in his mother’s apartment. 

Source: article “I’ll Show You Where I Buried The Pieces of Their Bodies”, Inside Detective, by Hugh Stephens, August 1973

Slain Torrance girl praised

A Torrance girl who wanted to change the world lies dead while Santa Cruz law officials wonder whether her killer is a man already charged with 10 murders [Herbert Mullin] or is still at large and unknown.

Alice Helen Liu, 21, had been reported missing Feb. 5. A week ago, authorities advised her parents that one of two bodies found at Santa Cruz might be that of their daughter. The possibility became stark fact Tuesday when Mr. and Mrs. James C. Liu were formally notified that dental X-rays and other evidence had confirmed the identification.

A car parked in the driveway of the Liu home at 22714 Fonthill St. still bears the UCI decal of Alice’s freshman year at the University of California at Irvine. Two years ago she had transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she was a junior.

“Originally she wanted to be a teacher but more recently she became interested in Oriental studies,” her father said Wednesday in a voice that fought to control his emotions.

James Liu never mentioned his daughter by name during the five-minute interview. The name would have caught in his throat.

Other names were avoided for another reason: to protect friends and relatives from prying reporters.

The records at Torrance High School, from which she graduated in 1969, show she was an active girl with wide-ranging interests. She was a member of the Future Teachers Club, served as treasurer of the California Scholarship Federation, was an officer in the Creative Writing Club, French Club and Interclub Council, and a member of the Tartar Ladies service organization.

Principal Harold Klonecky recalled her as a vibrant girl, who had appeared in the senior play and in modern dance recitals on behalf of the Youth for Nixon organization during the 1968 Presidential campaign.

“Alice was probably a sophomore when she was involved in the Indian project,” Klonecky said. “We brought a number of Papago Indian students here to Torrance High and she escorted them around. After they left she was active in collecting clothing and other items to send to them.”

In Alice’s high school file is this paragraph she wrote as part of a standard form for scholarship counselling:

“I want to change the world through government. I want to be involved with the core of people, and I can do both by being a political science teacher.”

Torrance City Councilman James Armstrong, a political science teacher at Torrance High, remembers her for those very reasons.

Armstrong said that the Torrance High political science teachers assign upper-classmen to become involved in the campaign of their choice as a class project during election years. He had these observations of her work in the 1968 campaign:

“She was interested in people, cared about all kinds of people. She understood about coming from a good home like hers and going to a good school and the difference it makes for those who don’t have the same advantages.”

“A death in these circumstances would be tragic enough with anyone,” he finished, “but with Alice you feel a real sense of loss and of waste.”

As a thousand University of California students listened in silence at UC’s open air amphitheater in Santa Cruz, Robert Edgar, provost of one of the colleges eulogized Miss Liu: “She was bright and lively. Like a bird, she was full of song. Struck down. I’m full of sorrow.”

Classes were canceled at Santa Cruz for the memorial convocation for Miss Liu and another coed found slain [Rosalind Thorpe].

Alice was last seen alive Feb. 5 in the college library. A week later her decapitated body and that of Rosalind Thorpe, 23, of Carmel were found near Castro Valley, a semirural area southeast of Oakland.

Santa Cruz authorities, continuing their marathon probe of the area’s 15 murders, are studying possible relationships between their deaths and those of two other coeds, Mary Anne Pesce, 19, and Cynthia Ann Schall, 19, and the disappearance of another girl, Anita Luchessa, 18. Pesce’s head was found on Loma Preita Mountain near Santa Cruz last August but her body has not been recovered. Parts of Miss Schall’s body were carried ashore by the tide near Santa Cruz and Monterey in January.

Miss Luchessa, a friend of the Pesce girl, has disappeared and is feared dead, but no traces of her have been found.

Meanwhile 10 murder indictments are being sought by Santa Cruz County District Attorney Peter Chang against Herbert W. Mullin, 25, of Felton. Mullin had already been arraigned on six counts and was in custody when four more bodies slain with the same two guns were discovered Saturday.

His fingerprints also were found in the confessional booth of a Catholic priest who was stabbed to death in Los Gatos, but no charges have been brought against him in that case.

Investigators have reported no links between Mullin and the four dead coeds, but are still examining that possibility.

Source: Slain Torrance girl praised; Santa Cruz probe continues, Independent, by Bob Andrew, Staff Writer, February 22, 1973

Police Say Three Coed Slayings Are Related

Interesting how police were initially looking into Herbert Mullin possibly being responsible for the deaths of Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu. Herbert Mullin was a serial killer active in Santa Cruz at the same time as Ed Kemper. Another interesting fact was that Ed Kemper was considered a possible suspect for the murder of Mary Guilfoyle. It was eventually determined that Mullin killed Guilfoyle.

Santa Cruz – Because of the “skillfulness” of the decapitations of the two UCSC coeds found near Castro Valley last week, Police Lt. Charles Scherer said today that they were probably slain by the same person or persons who killed Cindy Schall a month ago.

“From all appearances and from listening to the pathologist, it appears that all three of the girls were killed by the same person,” Scherer said.

The headless bodies found in Castro Valley last week were identified Tuesday afternoon as Alice Helen Liu, 20, and Rosalind Thorpe, 23. They were found in a canyon near Castro Valley, discarded over a cliff near a remote country road, authorities said.

Parts of the butchered body of Cindy Schall washed ashore in both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties in January.

Scherer said that there are no clues in the case, and there are no suspects.

No connection has been made at this time between the slayings of the coeds and the killing of Mary Guilfoyle, the Cabrillo College coed whose skeletal remains were found in the mountains near Bonny Doon Feb. 11. Sheriff’s investigators reported that there is no evidence to indicate that Miss Guilfoyle’s body had been dismembered. They said she was stabbed five times.

But autopsies of the three other slain coeds showed virtually identical cutting techniques and that extremely sharp instruments were used in all the cases, Scherer said.

In another development, Municipal Court Judge Donald O. May has revoked bail on Herbert Mullin, accused murderer of 10 people. Acting on the court’s own motion, May “reconsidered the question of bail in view of events occurring subsequent to the arraignment.” May had set bail at $300,000 at Mullin’s arraignment which charged him with six murders. At that time, May indicated that “there should be no bail at all.”

Since the arraignment, Mullin was charged with the murder of David Olicker, 18, Robert Michael Spector, 18, Brian Scott Card, 19, and Mark Johnson, about 19. Because of this development, May indicated that under state law, the court had the right to revoke bail.

Earlier this week, District Attorney Peter Chang said that he will ask for indictments charging Mullin with 10 murders.

Presently, Mullin is being held in custody at San Mateo County jail. Authorities said he is not being held at the Santa Cruz County jail because of the lack of facilities to keep him protected from the other inmates.

Sources: The La Crosse Tribune, Feb 22, 1973 / Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 22, 1973

“Of course, the personality is gone.”

Santa Cruz was plagued at that time with a series of bizarre unsolved murders, and warnings had been issued to students not to accept rides from strangers. But Ed Kemper’s mother had given him a university sticker for his car so that he could easily enter the campus to pick her up from work. This sticker gave women a sense of security when he offered them a ride. On February 5, 1973, he shot two more women [Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu] and brought them back to his mother’s house. He cut off one woman’s head in the trunk of his car, and when his mother went to bed he carried the headless corpse to his room and slept with it in his bed. Kemper explained, “The head trip fantasies were a bit like a trophy. You know, the head is where everything is at, the brain, eyes, mouth. That’s the person. I remember being told as a kid, you cut off the head and the body dies. The body is nothing after the head is cut off . . . Well, that’s not quite true. With a girl, there is a lot left in the girl’s body without the head. Of course, the personality is gone.”

Source: Excerpt from “Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters” by Peter Vronsky

Silent tribute to Rosalind and Alice

On the UCSC campus, there was mourning for the lives of the two young women [Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu].

About 1,000 students sat in unhappy silence as friends of the two girls shared their grief at a convocation called by Acting Chancellor M. Brewster Smith this morning.

With the walls of the former quarry throwing back echoes of her words to the students in the amphitheater, Merrill College lecturer and counselor Bonnie Ring said of her friend Rosalind:

“She was a big, bouncy, fun-loving, playful, but sometimes serious girl involved in risk taking, caring and loving. She was no saint, but a very special person. Her mother said one of the things she will miss most is her daughter’s big bear hug when she came home. She did most of the things she wanted to that’s why she hitchhiked” Ring said.

Robert Edgar, provost at Kresge College where Miss Liu attended, said simply:

“Alice was bright and lovely. Like a bird, she was full of song. Now she is struck down. I’m full of sorrow.”

“What happened needn’t have happened, and needn’t happen again,” Ring told the silent convocation. “Take an active stand,” she urged. “If we need better busing, let’s ask for it; if we need better lighting, let’s ask for that. Let’s do what we can.”

The University Chamber Singers ended the convocation with the singing of a 15th Century memorial mass.

Source: “Slaying Victims Named As Missing UCSC Coeds”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 21, 1973

Kemper kept souvenirs

Kemper began by carefully destroying evidence. But in the case of Alice (Liu) and Rosalind (Thorpe), he kept their personal possessions in an attempt to get to know his victims.
Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu’s student ID cards

Despite media pressure and the formation of a multi-jurisdictional investigative unit (the crimes were committed in four different counties), Kemper kept precious “trophies”, Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu’s bags. Every day, he examined the various objects and fantasized about the young women. Around mid-April [1973], he decided to get rid of all the papers or objects he had, including some of Cindy Schall’s objects, as well as the weapon he used to kill the three young girls. He threw it all into the sea.

Rosalind Thorpe’s blood-soaked bra. Kemper shot the 23-year-old student in the side of the head and later decapitated her outside his mother’s apartment.

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz, by Stéphane Bourgoin

“Every time I had a little zapple, they would die.”

February 5, 1973, less than a month after the murder of Cindy Schall, was again a perfect day to kill: hard rain was coming down. And Ed Kemper was mad with rage. “My mother and I had a terrible argument. I told her I was going to the movies and I immediately drove my car to the [University] campus because it was still early.” Luck was with him despite the late hour: the campus was buzzing with activity because of a conference that was taking place that evening. He was afraid to stand out as he passed the guards’ gate at the university entrance, because his rear light and bumper were tinkered and were easily identifiable. But there were many cars and the guard was just managing the flow of vehicles. Kemper was spoiled, as there were many hitchhikers in the rainy weather.

Rosalind Thorpe, twenty-three, a student of linguistics and psychology, shared an apartment in Santa Cruz with a friend; she usually went to campus by bicycle, but the bad weather had made her change her mind. “I noticed that she took a look at the sticker which allowed me to park on campus. She took me for another student and settled down next to me without any hesitation. She started talking immediately. I let her do it, she was very open, very friendly. And I wondered how to act. After a while, I decided that it was good, that she would be mine, without any doubt. Besides, I had what I call one of those little zapples! which crossed my body. Every time I had one, they would die; it never happened to me to have a zapple! at another time. It’s the moment when everything falls into place, when the circumstances are ideal. No one around, the guard hadn’t noticed anything, no problem leaving campus and Thorpe suspected nothing. And, of course, she was also someone I didn’t know at all. It was one of my rules of conduct from which I didn’t deviate. I had also decided never to hunt around Santa Cruz, because I lived there, especially with my criminal record. I could be considered a potential suspect. But, as my crimes went on, I became more and more ill and I took fewer and fewer precautions, both in my approach, during and after, which seemed obvious to me given the growing amount of evidence that was discovered, in one form or another.”

As he is about to leave campus, Kemper sees this young Chinese girl hitchhiking. Alice Liu, twenty-one, is the daughter of an aeronautical engineer from Los Angeles and is in her final year of studies at the University of California. Like Rosalind Thorpe, she lived in Santa Cruz in a studio that she shared with a friend. He stops the vehicle and she hops inside, sitting in the back seat. “Okay, here we are chatting, it’s actually Rosalind who is leading the conversation and that suits me. I notice Alice who sees us and gives us her most beautiful smile, thumb raised. A gesture of great beauty, she does it very naturally, with a lot of grace. I think she must have been an experienced hitchhiker. She is superb, with everything you need where you need it, intelligent, dressed in a conservative way, not with these fashionable clothes in bright colors that we saw everywhere at that time. I admit that I was relieved that the two girls didn’t know each other. We pass in front of the entrance gate. I look at the guard insistently, so he doesn’t think to take a look at the back of the car. I’m sure he didn’t see Alice because it was dark, she was small and wore dark clothes. A few hundred feet away, we are alone on the road. The view is superb: below, we see Santa Cruz which is illuminated. I ask them if they have any objection to me slowing down to observe the landscape. Rosalind nods, enthusiastic, but I feel like a reluctance coming from Alice. I have the very clear impression that I disgust her, that she’s too good for a poor guy like me. The car is running. I take out my weapon which is hidden under my leg, a black pistol, it’s dark and Rosalind doesn’t notice anything. We continue to chat and I point my gun. I hesitate for a second, but not more, because the girl in the back seat will see me act. I didn’t stop the car voluntarily, so that the warnings wouldn’t light up, in case we came across another car.”

“Thorpe had a very broad forehead and I was trying to imagine what her brain looked like, inside her skull. I wanted my bullet to hit her right in the middle of the brain. A second before she’s still moving, and the next, she’s dead. A noise, then silence, absolute silence. Liu, who was sitting in the back seat, covered her face with her hands. I turned around and shot her twice, through her hands. I missed her. The third time worked, right in the middle of her temple. We passed the campus gate and I could hear Liu dying in the back seat. Once out of the city, I slowed down as much as possible, before turning her head to the side, and shooting her at point blank range. I know it’s a big risk to take a student directly on campus, so you can imagine taking two multiplies that risk all the more, but I knew I could do it.

Once, in broad daylight, I took three hitchhikers on University Avenue, in Berkeley, and almost killed them. I could have, without any problem, because of the din of the highway which would have covered the shots. I drank more and more. I had to stop because I was losing all self-control. The cops knew me as a heavy drinker in the bar where we hung out, and that may be one of the reasons they didn’t suspect me. In public, I was almost always drunk, wine or beer, or under the influence of various barbiturates, but I remained sober to commit my crimes. Why? When I was drunk I could no longer act. That’s why I drank constantly: I wanted to stop this madness. But it was hard to stay drunk all the time. I drank between six and eight gallons of wine a week, twice as much as my mother. “

In a path away from the road, Kemper put the two bodies in the trunk. He went to fill up at a gas station and to the toilet to clean the blood stains that dot the plaster on his arm and his black jeans. Back home, he parked on the street and told his mother that he fell asleep while watching a movie at the cinema. He leaves her in front of the television and indicates that he is going to buy cigarettes. It is between ten and eleven o’clock in the evening. There is no one on the street and he takes the opportunity to open the trunk and behead the two women with his hunting knife.

The next morning, after his mother leaves for work, Kemper brings the two heads back to his room, cleans them in the bathroom and takes out the bullets. Then, he takes Alice’s corpse, lays her on his bed to rape her and even thinks of washing her body to remove all traces of sperm, before putting her back in the trunk where she joins Rosalind’s headless body. Without really knowing why, Kemper cuts Alice’s hands. This time, he doesn’t bother to dissect the corpses. It’s no longer something that excites him like the first time. It has now become routine. He wants to get rid of all compromising evidence as quickly as possible. Ed heads north on the road to San Francisco. He’s thinking of depositing the corpses there to make the investigators believe that the murderer is from that city.

The media and the police were on their teeth. Macabre disappearances and discoveries were increasing. The body of Cynthia Schall was identified on January 24, 1973, that of Mary Guilfoyle (a victim of Herbert Mullin), on February 11. On February 8, the newspapers announced on their frontpage the disappearances of Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu. By a curious coincidence, two of Kemper’s work colleagues found the beheaded corpses of the two girls on February 14; they were identified a week later. The medical examiner indicated to the investigators that the assassin (s) probably had medical knowledge or acted according to a strange ritual, because Cindy’s Achilles tendons had been cut. Kemper did it to satisfy his necrophilic desires, to prevent cadaverous rigidity and to keep the body “warm”.

He then visits a friend, takes the time to dine and go to the movies, before driving up to Eden Canyon Road around two in the morning, where he throws the beheaded bodies. He then continues to the town of Pacifica, at Devil’s Slide, where he throws the heads and hands of the two young girls. Worried, he regretted not having buried the two heads and returned on the scene two weeks later, at four in the morning.

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz by Stéphane Bourgoin

Rosalind Thorpe & Alice Liu

Rosalind, a bright, well-liked girl from an affluent coastal resort town, was just completing her studies in linguistics and psychology at UCSC. She lived downtown in an apartment on Mott Street which she shared with her friends Nancy, Virginia, Kathy, and Linn.

Sometimes Rosalind bicycled up the hill to her university classes. On the evening of February 5 [1973]—only days after Cindy [Schall]’s remains had been identified and Mary [Guilfoyle]’s body discovered—Rosalind left the apartment after dinner to attend a lecture on campus.

Her roommate Nancy was under the impression that she planned to take a bus, since the day had been rainy. Rosalind was wearing her dark pea jacket when she left the house. She did not return that evening, and her housemates quickly informed the police.

The same evening in another house in Santa Cruz, Alice, 21, a small Oriental girl weighing only about one hundred pounds, left for the University campus to do some research at the library and afterward attend a late class. She was from Southern California and in her senior year at UCSC.

Alice regularly hitchhiked to and from the campus. She shared living quarters with Julie, also Oriental, a former student who was working as a financial assistant on the campus. The two girls had grown up together in Los Angeles and remained the closest of friends.

Alice, one of four sisters, was the daughter of an aerospace engineer. She did not return from her evening class. Definitely, in Julie’s opinion, Alice was not the sort of girl to leave town without telling anyone.

When Julie telephoned the police to report Alice’s disappearance, she reported that she, like the missing Rosalind, had been wearing a dark pea jacket and that she carried a tote bag containing an I.D. card, a hairbrush, a UC health card, and an El Camino Library card, among other items. She also carried a photograph of a friend in Taiwan, where she had visited the previous summer.

Word of the two girls’ vanishing swept quickly through the campus community. There was nothing to link them together since they had not known one another. On February 14, several squads of students began grimly combing the groves of redwoods, pines, and madrona that grow thickly over much of the campus, stumbling through underbrush along the canyons, searching for what they feared to find.

Adding confusion and spreading fear over a broader range, on the following day the body of a girl named Leslie, 21, was found in a remote part of the Stanford University campus in San Mateo county to the north. She had been strangled and left beneath an oak tree. Leslie’s death, as it turned out, was unrelated to the Santa Cruz student murders.

Source: The Co-Ed Killer, by Margaret Cheney

Two Coeds Missing

Two UCSC coeds described as “frequent hitchhikers” by Santa Cruz police are reported missing in two different cases.

The first is Alice Liu, 20, 431 Locust St. Her roommate, Julie Chang, reported the woman as missing since Monday. Miss Chang told police that the missing woman told her that she was about to hitchhike to campus Monday afternoon, and has not returned.

Miss Chang said that the coed has never stayed away from the residence all night before. Police have issued an all points bulletin for the coed. She is described as Chinese, wearing bell bottom blue jeans, a pullover sweater of an unknown color, a gray pea coat and brown desert boots. She is 5 feet 2 inches and weighs 111 pounds.

Police are also looking for Rosalind Thorpe, about 22, 220 Mott Ave. who was last seen Monday at 7 p.m. heading toward a lecture at UCSC. A friend of Miss Thorpe, Lynn Nakabayshi, told police that Miss Thorpe missed the bus to the campus and has been known to hitchhike if she misses the bus.

Miss Thorpe is 5 feet 6 inches and has a heavy build, according to police. She is white, has long light brown hair and was wearing black pants, a pea coat and pink and purple boots. She also wears glasses, police said.

Source: Two Coeds Missing, Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 8th, 1973

« Older posts