In October 2008, the sudden disappearance of Johnny Altinger, a tech enthusiast, left the family with many questions. But soon, the residents of Edmonton, Canada, were shocked by the details behind Johnny’s brutal murder at the hands of an aspiring serial killer. CBS News’ ’48 Hours: The Dexter Killer’ chronicles how Johnny was killed and the evidence that connected the culprit to the murder. So, if you’re wondering what happened, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Johnny Altinger Die?
Johnny was born in April 1970 and had an older brother, Gary. The 38-year-old was described as a quiet and affectionate young man who loved technology and motorbikes. At the time of the incident, Johnny lived by himself in Edmonton and had been working in the quality control department at an oilfield equipment manufacturing company. He was active on dating sites, and on October 10, 2008, he was supposed to meet a woman named Jen.
Johnny received directions to get to the meeting point, but he never returned home. Then, loved ones received a suspicious email from him where he claimed to have gone away to Costa Rica with Jen. Worried, they told the authorities about it, and a search ensued. While it eventually became clear that Johnny had been murdered, it wasn’t until June 2010 that his remains were found in a sewer. The authorities believed that Johnny was stabbed to death, dismembered, and then dumped.
Who Killed Johnny Altinger?
Initially, when Johnny’s loved ones got the email, they realized something was up and went to the police. However, the authorities didn’t take them too seriously. So, some of his friends checked his apartment and found nothing to suggest he left home; his passport was still there, and dirty dishes were in the sink. Then, the police got involved. They learned that Johnny had forwarded information regarding where he was going to his friends.
This information led the police to a garage rented by Mark Twitchell, then a 29-year-old aspiring filmmaker. He told the police that he used the place to shoot a film. Inside, the authorities saw what appeared to be blood, but Mark claimed it was just a movie prop since his movie involved “killing” someone. The plot of his film involved a man in a hockey mask who would lure a man to the garage through the internet only to kill him.
Then, Mark also said that he recently bought a car for $40 after someone knocked on his window and asked him if he was looking to buy a vehicle. It matched the description of Johnny’s missing car. While the authorities suspected Mark and felt his story was outrageous, there still wasn’t a body or any evidence to prove Mark did something to Johnny. Then, they discovered a deleted file on a hard drive found in one of Mark’s other cars.
The file was titled ‘SK Confessions,’ and the authorities thought SK stood for “serial killer.” The investigators also learned of Mark’s obsession with ‘Dexter,’ a TV show about a serial killer. The file seemed like a confession of sorts, with a detailed description of how the killer murdered a man after luring him into a garage. It also mentioned another person who survived, which turned out to be true when Gilles Tetreault went to the police with his story of being attacked in a garage.
The authorities believed that Mark first hit Johnny with a lead pipe, then stabbed and dismembered him before dumping the body in a sewer. A test of the garage floor revealed evidence of blood in addition to Johnny’s tooth. Furthermore, Johnny’s blood was found in the trunk of Mark’s car. Mark provided the location of Johnny’s remains only in June 2010. Later he also admitted to breaking into Johnny’s house to send those emails.
The following year, Mark stood trial and claimed that he killed Johnny in self-defense. He testified that Johnny died because of a publicity stunt gone wrong; Mark wanted to scare people by luring them to the garage and letting them go. According to him, the idea was that once the film came out, these people would talk about something similar happening to them, creating a buzz. Mark added that Johnny wasn’t okay with the deception, leading to an altercation that led to the stabbing in self-defense. But in the end, he was found guilty of murder and was put away for a long time.
Read More: Where is Mark Twitchell Now?