Real Name: Alejandro Espinoza
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth: 1959
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: At the time he was last seen, Alex was living on the streets, was married, and had two small children.
Details: Alejandro "Alex" Espinoza made an anonymous call to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on August 26, 1985, and revealed that he knew the identity of the serial killer nicknamed the Night Stalker. The Night Stalker had terrorized the Greater Los Angeles area for several months, killing at least thirteen people. When Alejandro contacted the police, the investigators felt that his information was legitimate.
At 3 pm that day, he met with police and gave more information about the man he knew as "Richard", who was actually twenty-five-year-old Richard Ramirez. Alejandro said he and Ramirez carpooled when both found jobs as day workers, but he grew suspicious when he was asked to make frequent stops at out of the way places where Ramirez would give goods to an unknown man in Echo Park who in turn would give Ramirez cash. Alejandro suspected the man was a fence (slang for one who buys and resells stolen or illegal items), and Ramirez was selling stolen property. Alejandro noticed that after every visit to the "fence", there would be a news story about another burglary or murder in the area.
Three days after Alejandro met with police, a fingerprint found at one of the crime scenes was matched to Ramirez. The detectives met with Alejandro and showed him Ramirez's booking photo. He identified the man in the photo as his friend Richard. The next day, Ramirez was officially identified as the prime suspect in the Night Stalker case. Within a few hours, he was captured by a group of angered citizens after he attempted to steal a car.
On September 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted of thirteen counts of murder and sentenced to death. Alejandro is due a reward of at least $6,000 because of his help, but no one knows where he is or if he is still even alive. He was twenty six years old in 1985, and possibly had a wife and two children. Neither he nor his family have ever been located, and he has never collected the reward.
Suspects: Foul play is not suspected in his disappearance.
Extra Notes: This segment ran on the February 21, 1990 episode. The Night Stalker case was also featured on both Cold Case Files and The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science.
Some sources spell his last name as "Espinosa".
Results: Unsolved. Richard Ramirez died of liver failure on June 7, 2013, while awaiting execution in San Quentin State Prison. Alejandro Espinoza remains missing. If his death is confirmed, then either his wife or one of his children would become eligible for the cash reward.
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- Man Sought Who Helped Capture Killer
- ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez, convicted mass murderer, dies