How Many People Did The Hillside Stranglers Kill? Who Were the Victims?

During the 1970s, the authorities in Los Angeles, California, were dealing with several murders later attributed to multiple serial killers operating simultaneously. Among them were the ten murders that occurred between October 1977 and February 1978. The police came across nude bodies of young women posed by the killers, all similar in the way they were found and killed. Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Hillside Strangler: Mind Of A Monster’ focuses on Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr., the men who killed these ten victims together. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.

Who Were the Hillside Stranglers’ Victims?

It all started after Kenneth moved to Los Angeles to live with his cousin, Angelo. In late 1977, the two talked about making money by hiring young girls as sex workers. Deborah Noble and Yolanda Washington provided them with a list of men known to pick up sex workers, but that list turned out to be fake. On October 17, 1977, 19-year-old Yolanda’s body was found in a cemetery near Griffith Park, California. The part-time waitress and sex worker was found nude with ligature marks on her neck. She had been strangled.

Dolores, Sonja, and Kristina//Image Credit: Find a Grave/MarissaK

Just weeks later, on November 1, 1977, 15-year-old Judith Miller’s body was found a few miles away from Downtown Los Angeles by a curb in a residential area. She was naked, on her back, and was posed by the killers who dumped her there. Judith was a runaway and a sex worker. According to the show, her parents were living in a motel at the time. The authorities noted ligature marks on her neck, ankles, and wrists, meaning she was bound and strangled to death.

Five days later, the body of 21-year-old Elissa Kastin was located. She worked at a restaurant. Like the previous two bodies, Lisa was found naked and strangled to death. All the women so far had been sexually assaulted. On November 20, 1977, the police came across the bodies of 12-year-old Dolores Cepeda and 14-year-old Sonja Johnson. A clear pattern emerged, with the bodies being found naked, with ligature marks, and evidence of a sexual assault. The girls had taken the bus from a local mall back to their home a week prior but weren’t seen after getting off the vehicle.

Evelyn, Lauren, Kimberly, and Cindy

The same day, the body of 20-year-old Kristina Weckler, a student in Pasadena, California, was found on a hillside. According to the show, she had needle marks on her arm, and it was later revealed that the killers injected her with a surface cleaning liquid. This was followed by the discovery of 28-year-old Evelyn Jane King’s body in the bushes near a freeway (there have been conflicting reports regarding whether she was raped).

Then, on November 29, 1977, 18-year-old Lauren Wagner, a student, was found in some hills close to Mount Washington in Los Angeles. Like every other victim, she had been strangled to death. Furthermore, burns on her hands indicated that the killers tried to electrocute her. In December 1977 and February 1978, the authorities found the bodies of 17-year-old Kimberly Martin and 20-year-old Cindy Hudspeth. Cindy’s body was found in her car that had been pushed off a cliff. Both were found naked and had been tortured.

Diane and Karen

Kenneth and Angelo terrorized the city by capturing these women, sexually assaulting them, and strangling them. Later in 1978, Kenneth moved to Bellingham, Washington, where he killed two more women: Karen Mandic and Diane Wilder, in January 1979. The authorities connected him to the crimes through physical evidence. In the basement where the victims were killed, the police found Diane’s hair. They also found Kenneth’s pubic hair on Diane’s body and in the stairwell at the crime scene. Furthermore, traces of her menstrual blood was found on Kenneth’s underwear. Karen and Diane, like the others, had been strangled to death.

How Many People Did The Hillside Stranglers Kill?

In all, the Hillside Stranglers have been reported to be involved in ten murders together, with Kenneth killing two more in Washington. However, as part of a deal, he only pled guilty to five of the murders in Los Angeles and the two in Washington. Angelo, on the other hand, was found guilty of nine murders.

Read More: Where is Kenneth Bianchi Now?