Real Name: Ricardo Caputo
Aliases: Ricardo Diaz
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: 1977
Details: Richard Caputo is known for attracting and then killing the women he draws into his life. His first known victim was his nineteen-year-old girlfriend, Natalie Brown. They had been dating for over a year and had talked about getting married. On the night of July 31, 1971, he murdered her at her parents' home in Flower Hill, New York. After stabbing her to death, he called the police to report the crime. After his arrest, authorities learned that he was from Argentina and had been treated there for mental illness before arriving in the United States in 1970. After a mental health examination, he was declared not mentally fit to stand trial. As a result, he was sent to the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
While in the asylum, Ricardo met twenty-six-year-old psychologist Judith Becker, and they became friends. In 1973, he was transferred to a minimum security asylum, which allowed him to leave the facility during the day. As a result, he and Judith began spending time together outside of it. She even introduced him to her family, but claimed that they worked together at the facility. Then, on October 21, 1974, her parents went to her home after not hearing from her for several hours. They then found her strangled to death in her bedroom. After Ricardo murdered her, he took her car and money and fled the area.
In 1975, Ricardo arrived in San Francisco and began dating twenty-eight-year-old book editor Barbara Taylor. At some point, they went on a romantic getaway to Yosemite. Then, on March 31, 1975, she was found beaten to death in her apartment. Ricardo's fingerprints were found at the crime scene. By the time her body was discovered, he had fled the area.
Then, just five days later, Ricardo was found in El Paso, Texas, by immigration officials, however, he was calling himself Ricardo Diaz. He was held in an immigration detention center and on April 7, 1975, he and two other detainees took a guard hostage. They stole a car and fled to Mexico. The other men were arrested, but Ricardo escaped and fled to Mexico City.
In 1975, Ricardo moved in with a twenty-one-year-old college student named Laura Gomez. Two years later, on October 3, 1977, he tortured and beat her to death. At autopsy, it was discovered that she was two months pregnant; it is assumed that Ricardo was the father.
Although he has not been seen since 1977, some believe that he has killed others. He is suspected in the murder of sixty-three-year-old author Jacqueline Bernard, who was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on August 2, 1983. On January 22, 1985, a private investigator hired by her family received an anonymous phone call claiming that her killer was Ricardo. The caller also claimed that Ricardo had bragged about killing several other women and some men. The landlord for Jacqueline's apartment identified him as a man seen attempting to break in. However, authorities have yet to conclusively connect him to her murder.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 12, 1990 episode. It was also featured on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. Ricardo turned himself in to police in March of 1994, claiming that his victims were haunting him and that he feared he would kill again. During his time on the run, Che had married twice and had traveled throughout Central and South America. He pleaded guilty to Natalie and Judith's murders and was sentenced to 25 years to life. He also confessed to Barbara and Laura's murders. In October 1997, he died of a heart attack while playing basketball in the prison courtyard; he was forty-eight.
Along with Jacqueline's murder, Ricardo is suspected in the 1981 murder of Devon Green from Los Angeles, California. A coworker of hers recognized him as a man who had worked with them at a restaurant shortly before her death. However, he was never officially deemed responsible for Devon or Jacqueline's murders.
- Ricardo Caputo on Wikipedia
- Ricardo Caputo on Murderpedia
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- Ex-Fugitive Pleads Guilty in a 1971 Killing
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- Argentine admits killing psychologist
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- Trying to Pierce the Veil of a Serial Killer
- Ricardo Caputo on Find a Grave