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Serial Killer Index Short List
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Serial Killer Index
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  RESENDIZ Angel Maturino ... ... USA ... ... ... 8+
aka Railway Killer, Rafael RESENDEZ-RAMIREZ ... ... WA
Several law enforcement agencies in Southeast Texas and Mexico are looking for Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, a known vagrant freight train rider, after linking him to six deaths in Texas and one in Kentucky, all brutal beatings that took place near railroad tracks. On June 8, 1999, the latest victim, Josephine Konvicka, 73, was linked to Maturino-Resendiz, 38, by fingerprints found in her home. Like the other alleged victims, she lived near the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. Houston police have also linked Resendez-Ramirez to the killing of 26-year-old Noemi Dominguez, a Houston elementary school teacher. She, too, lived near the train.
Maturino Resendiz is suspected in three other recent slayings. The April 30, sledgehammer killing of preacher, Norman "Skip" Sirnic, 46, and his wife, Karen Sirnic, 47, who lived about three miles east of Konvicka's residence, and the December fatal stabbing of Claudia Benton, 38, a doctor who lived outside Houston. In addition, authorities are trying to link Resendez-Ramirez to the death of Noemi Dominguez, who also lived near a rail line. Resendez-Ramirez also is being sought for questioning in the 1997 killing of University of Kentucky student Christopher Maier, who was slain when his girlfriend was assaulted by a man as they walked along railroad tracks after a party.
Though the FBI describes him as a drug-using killer residents of Rodeo, a small Mexican village Rafael Resendez-Ramirez has a wife and infant daughter, know him as a hardworking man called "Angel." According to relatives his real name is Angel Reyes Resendiz. According to the FBI Resendez-Ramirez was last seen in town June 13 when a transit cop gave him a parking ticket. Two days later, on June 15, the suspected railroad killer struck again in Gorham, Illinois, shooting an 80-year-old man, George Morber, and beating to death his 52-year-old daughter, Carolyn Frederick.
Police and residents in this Durango state town say the photo of the suspect distributed by the FBI is without a doubt the man they know as Angel. Relatives say the suspect's real name is Angel Leoncio Reyes Resendiz, not Resendez-Ramirez. Angel's wife, Julieta Dominguez Reyes, a lab worker in the town health center, described him as a "model" husband who never gave signs of being violent. A few years ago, Angel taught English in a private school next to the police station. Last year he attended adult education classes and passed his exam for elementary- and middle-school degrees in the same day, said a neighbor. The contrasts make it hard for many to believe he could be killing people in the United States.
The so-called railway killer left writings on at least one wall at the home of the last two victims, prompting intense concern among law enforcement officials that the killer is about to veer further out of control. According to sources familiar with the writings, they made a somewhat incoherent reference to the Middle East. Sources said in the past, Rafael Resendez-Ramirez -- the chief suspect -- has written about or made references to the Middle East. Law enforcement experts on serial killers say that notes left at crime scenes are generally indicators the killer's rage may be increasing and that more attacks are likely.
A former FBI profiler told CNN that the railway killer is evolving from a serial killer, someone who murders over a longer span of time -- to a spree killer, someone murdering a number of people over a relatively short period of time. Sources say law enforcement officials are working in a critical window of time. They are hoping the intense public interest will prompt tips that will lead to an arrest. When public interest falls, officials fear the suspect may be able to fade back into obscurity and kill again.
More than 200 law enforcement personnel -- as well as numerous bounty hunters -- throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico have been searching for the elusive killer. A 125-thousand dollar reward is being offered for information leading to his apprehension. The FBI announced that a green card will be given to any illegal alien who turns Resendez-Ramirez in to authorities. The suspect's real name is Angel Leoncio Reyes Recendis but law enforcement officials are continuing to use the Resendez-Ramirez alias, which is printed on thousands of wanted posters.
In court documents and audio transcripts, suspected rail killer Rafael Resendez-Ramirez comes across as a man who is a mystery, even to himself. "I wouldn't lie to you, I wouldn't try to play with your mind, but there's many things I don't know myself," Resendez-Ramirez told a federal jury in St. Louis during closing arguments in his March 1989 trial. He was charged with 16 counts, including false representation of U.S. citizenship and illegal possession of a firearm. "Can I tell you who really I am," he continues, "about all the secrecy that's in the family? I probably could tell you who I think I am. As far as I know I'm just a human being. And I will leave it up to you."
"You see, I'm a talker, I always talk. I'm a politician," he says. "I only have one purpose in life, and that's to express some of my views and some of the views that I have been instructed, anything that can put down Christianity, anything that can put down democracy, anything that can put down freedom." Resendez-Ramirez was convicted in the St. Louis trial on all counts and sentenced to 30 months, served in an Immigration and Naturalization Service facility in Talladega, Fla. He was released sometime early in 1991. But only a few months later, he was again in trouble with U.S. authorities, charged in New Mexico with aggravated residential burglary.
According to Chihuahua Special Investigator Suly Ponce and Canadian criminologist Candace Skrapec, alleged "Railway Killer" Angel reyes Recendis (aka Rafael Resendiz-Ramirez) is now suspected in the slaying of 187 women in Juarez, Mexico. "We've been working on that theory since last week," said Ponce, who heads the state police task force into the murders. "The case is advancing. There are some good leads."
Skrapec, 47, who teaches at California State University in Fresno, gave up her summer to assist Chihuahua police at the special invitation of a top state official. Born in Calgary and a former teacher at the University of Windsor, Skrapec is one of the world's best-known criminologists, having made her reputation by profiling New York City's "Zodiac killer" for the NYPD.
"We are especially concerned because he has lived in two barrios here over recent years, and his mother lives in (the) Colonia Patria (section)." Resendez-Ramirez lived with his mother in Juarez as well as on his own or with women. He is believed to have worked at a meat packing plant.
There appear to be similarities between the brutal U.S. killings and the particularly grotesque way in which many of the Juarez victims met their deaths. American media reports describe teeth marks on some of the U.S. victims and police say some were beaten to death in a particularly sadistic manner, in some cases with their heads bashed in. There has reportedly been evidence of sodomy, rape and torture. In Juarez, many women were badly beaten and raped, with bite marks covering their torsos. In some cases, they'd had objects stuffed into their vaginas or anuses or had their left breasts hacked off. Many had panties removed and, in these cases, their undergarments were never found.
On July 13, 1999, after three days of negotiations between the FBI and family members in New Mexico, the elusive "Railroad Killer" turned himself in at a U.S. border-crossing station in El Paso, Texas. FBI director Louis Freeh told a congressional hearing that the 39-year-old drifter, one of the FBI's 10 most-wanted fugitives since June 21, surrendered at an Immigration and Naturalization Service checkpoint in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. The fugitive walked across the Mexican border at 9 a.m. CDT accompanied by his two brothers and a priest and surrendered to a Texas Ranger.
On his first appearence in court the day following his surrender Angel Maturino Resendez, aka Rafael Resendez-Ramirez aka Angel Reyes Resendiz aka 30 other aliases, admitted he was guilty of a burglary in one of the slayings and indicated he is willing to cooperate with authorities. In giving his name to State District Judge William Harmon, Maturino Resendez explained that the name Resendez-Ramirez was an alias based on his uncle's name. No explanation was given about the other alias, Angel Reyes Resendis, nor why all print and electronic media has chosen to keep using the Resendez-Ramirez alias even though they know it is not his name.
Angel, who has been charged with four killings in Texas, two in Illinois and one in Kentucky since his arrest, sent a 12-page handwritten letter in English from the Harris County Jail to reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston in which he complains about jail food, talks about the presidential race and his thoughts about abortion, and questions his sanity.
Concerned about the coming presidential race, Maturino-Resendiz wrote: "I support (Republican presidential candidate Steve) Forbes or (Republican candidate Gary) Beaur (Bauer), because the(y) are my brothers in Faith, this man do not want babies to be murdered..."
Speaking of his case Angel said: "After I did not tell the officer what he wante(d) to hear, he kick(ed) me and told me that I was to go craisdy (crazy) if I did not get it off my chest... As far as I was told, I was to be try (tried) in one trial in the Federal Court, but (Attorney General) Janet Reno allow the State of Texas to get me, so the USA want me dead. The Texas prosecutor stated that if one doctor does not agree that I am sane, she will keep going untill (sic) one agrees with her. She want to kill me."
Maturino-Resendiz wrote that his sister Manuela was told "she could loose [sic] her house and kids if she did not help them to get me. My sister Manitza was told that her husband could get in trouble, but if she help, she was promise US residence and monetary help." The rest of his family, he said, was threatened "with the possible use of bounty hunters..."
On the final page he wrote "I think I may go insane. I do not fear this, since reality has not been good to me. At some time I have start(ed) to hear funny voices, like a person calling me, but no one call me."
"I may not really want to live anymore, and this is terrible for my mother. She could die if I die. But the worst is that I am tem(p)ted by death more all the time, and I may do it any time soon."
"I have lost the fear of killing my self or the rules that did not allow me to do it, now is only a matter of time, but I know it will be done. I have no choice in this. I am in a no return trip, on a train that leads to death only and I am not able to get off this train."
On May 18, 2000, a Houston jury rejected his insanity defense and found Angel Maturino Resendiz guilty of the 1998 rape-murder of Dr. Claudia Benton, a Houston-area physician. After jurors returned their verdict, Maturino Resendiz told State District Judge Bill Harmon that he did not want his attorneys to mount any defense during the punishment phase. "I've decided that injection is better than spending life in jail, so I want to do that," he told the judge. The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days before concluding that the confessed serial killer was aware he was committing a crime when he broke into the home of in 1998, then sexually assaulted, bludgeoned and stabbed her to death.
"He felt an evil force pulling him into these homes and directing him to people who were evil and deserved to be dead, and as an angel of God he was doing God's will," said Dr. Larry Pollock, a psychiatrist working for the defense. Maturino Resendiz, who claimed to be a Christian Jew, also believed he was a half-man, half-angel who possessed supernatural powers, such as the ability to predict disasters, leave his own body and cause weather catastrophes.
It emerged during the trial that drug abuse - namely, glue sniffing - and several childhood head injuries could have played a role in the development of Maturino Resendiz's mental illness. His mother, Virginia Maturino Resendiz, testified her son was dropped on his head right after he was born. She also recalled how he was hit in the head with a rock thrown by other students when he was in his early teens, and witnessed her being attacked by men with knives on two occasions. Cohen, the psychologist, said Maturino Resendiz was twice raped by a neighborhood man when he was 8.
In an Interview with Maria Elena Salinas, Angel Maturino Resendiz said he had committed many more than the 11 murders authorities have attributed to him. However, he refused to reveal the exact number or the identities of his victims, with the exception of Daryll Kolojaco, whom he identified as "a homosexual who had to die." Resendiz -- who is awaiting execution the Terrell Unit Maximum Security Prison in South Livingston, Texas -- assured Salinas that he was the real murderer of Kolojako and that two innocent men were serving time in prison for it. In fact he stated that many of his victims were homosexuals adding that, "according to the Bible, homosexuals must die because they will never enter the kingdom of God."
"There are many more murders, but I can't state the exact number. I am not going to give the authorities that information," he said. "They are going to kill me anyway, so what's the use? It's not that I have nothing to lose ... The only thing I can take with me and keep from the Gringos is the truth. They will always wonder about cases with methods similar to mine: was it him or not?"
Referring specifically to the murder of Dr. Claudia Benton, who was found raped and stabbed to death in her Houston home in 1998, Resendiz explained he killed her because: "the doctor was doing experiments with babies. I saw that in her computer when I broke into her house. I had a bad feeling when I went in; I felt something bad was going on in that place. I didn't know what, but I did see what was in the computer and the experiments she was doing. I killed her mainly because of that."
In true rambling serial killer fashion he said he started killing after the government's assault on David Koresh and his followers in Waco. "I was upset over the deaths of the kids in Waco, of the prophet ... Everyone has already forgotten the deaths of those innocent children, but I keep reliving them. They are always on my mind." Stay tuned for the next dispatch from Radio Resendiz.
Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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