Real Name: Unrevealed
Aliases: Bike Path Rapist
Wanted For: Rape, Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: 1994
Details: From 1986 to 1994, the police in Buffalo, New York have been pursuing a man who raped and left several women and young girls for dead. The first victim was attacked on June 12, 1986, in Delaware Park, New York. The second victim was attacked on July 14, 1986 in Hamburg, New York; she was seventeen-year-old who was walking to her summer school along a bike path. While walking, she heard someone behind her. She turned around and noticed a man who said "Hello" to her. Just seconds later, the man put a rope around her neck and dragged her into the woods. He then raped her and left; according to the victim, he almost sounded sorry.
The third victim was a sixteen-year-old who was walking to school along a railroad track when she was attacked on June 10, 1988, in Riverside. In this case, he double-wrapped a rope around her neck and taped her eyes shut. The fourth victim was attacked on May 1, 1989, again in Riverside. She was also walking along a railroad track when the rapist double-wrapped a rope around her neck and raped her in the nearby woods. He also placed tape over this victim's eyes. Two of the victims said that he was wearing a blue baseball cap. All of them described him as a short, stocky, mustached man in his mid-thirties.
The fifth victim was attacked on August 24, 1989, in Willow Ridge. Once again, he double-wrapped a rope around her neck. Somehow, he was able to lift her over a fence; he then took her into a wooded area where he bound her hands, put surgical tape over her eyes, and raped her. The sixth victim was a thirty-two-year-old female who was attacked on May 31, 1990 in Elliott Creek. The victim immediately lost consciousness when the rapist tightly placed a rope around her neck. She was found one hour later, still unconscious. This time, the rapist had nearly killed his victim. On September 29, 1990, the rapist's seventh victim, twenty-two-year-old Buffalo University student Linda Yalem, died as a result of suffocation during the attack. The rapist had placed duct tape over her mouth and nose.
For four years, there were no more attacks by the rapist; some began to speculate that the man either was arrested, moved away, or even died. Then, on October 19, 1994, an eighth victim, a fourteen-year-old in Buffalo, was attacked by the rapist. Dubbed the Bike Path Rapist, this assailant was described as a short stocky bald man with a mustache, but the infrequency of his attacks made him hard to catch. He left victims in Buffalo and in Amherst.
Extra Notes: This segment originally ran on the February 23, 1996 episode. The Bike Path Rapist case was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted during the investigation and documented on Solved on ID after it was resolved.
Results: Captured. After the story aired, the rapist was linked to two more murder victims: thirty-two-year-old single mother Majane Mazur, who was found dead on November 22, 1992, in Buffalo; and forty-five-year-old Joan Lee Diver, resident of Clarence, who was found dead on September 29, 2006, on a Newstead bike path, two decades after claiming his first victim and on the sixteenth anniversary of Linda's murder.
In January of 2007, investigators re-examining the case found a statement from one of the victims, a Buffalo State College student who was attacked in Buffalo's Delaware Park in 1981. She said that she had seen her rapist at a shopping mall a few days after she was attacked. She wrote down the license plate number of the car he was driving and gave it to police. At the time, investigators determined that the car belonged to Wilfredo Sanchez Caraballo. However, he claimed that it had not been driven at the time because it was not insured.
When Caraballo was re-interviewed in 2007, he told investigators that he lied back in 1981; he had actually let his nephew, Altemio Sanchez, use the car at the time. Investigators learned that he had a history of soliciting prostitutes; an FBI profiler had stated that this was a trait of the rapist. He also had been questioned and fingerprinted back in 1990 after a co-worker noticed him lurking around a bike path. Investigators were able to obtain a DNA sample from Sanchez from tableware he used at a restaurant; this conclusively tied him to the crimes committed by the "Bike Path Rapist" and he was arrested on January 15. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations had expired on the rapes; however, in May, Sanchez pleaded guilty to the three murders. In August, he was sentenced to seventy-five years to life in prison.
Investigators learned that Sanchez had committed two other rapes in the same park where he assaulted his first victim. Anthony J. Capozzi had been wrongly imprisoned for twenty-one years for these rapes. In April of 2007, he was released after DNA tests confirmed that Sanchez was responsible. Capozzi had schizophrenia and resembled Sanchez at the time of the attacks. Overall, it is believed that Sanchez was responsible for seventeen attacks.
- Bike Path Rapist at Unsolved.com
- The Bike Path Rapist on Wikipedia
- The Bike Path Rapist on Murderpedia
- Slaying believed linked to rapes
- Students demand publicity about rapes
- Prostitute's body found; probe widens
- Hunt for the Bike Path Killer: The Linda Yalem case
- Suspect held in jogger's slaying
- Car Tied Suspect To Killings
- Charges imminent in bike path killings
- Investigators doubt park rapist did the crimes
- Suspect in murder cases charged with third slaying
- Imprisoned man is cleared by DNA
- Buffalo "Bike Path Rapist" Pleads Guilty
- Buffalo rapist, killer receives 75 to life
- Killer of 3 Women in Buffalo Area Is Given a Life Term
- On the trail of the bike path rapist
- They lied and they died
- Documentary on the Bike Path Rapist
- Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur, and Joan Diver at Find a Grave