Manny Cortez: Where is the Killer Now?

Image Credit: oxygen

‘Violent Minds: Killers on Tape’ takes viewers through never-heard-before recordings of interviews psychologist Dr. Al Carlisle had with violent criminals. One such criminal featured on the show is Oregon resident and convicted murderer Manuel “Manny” Cortez. While Manny has been convicted of killing Rachel Isser and Deanna Jackman, two 11-year-old girls who went missing from their hometown of Ashland, Oregon, in December 1979, there are some who believe that he should have been held responsible for more murders.

Who Is Manny Cortez?

While Manny Cortez is a native of Texas, reports claim he moved to San Gabriel Valley, California, with his family when he was just a child. Incidentally, Manny had a challenging childhood, as his parents had to deal with some financial instabilities. However, readers will be surprised to know that the convicted murderer developed sadistic tendencies from a pretty young age, which were further fueled by the novel ‘The Torturer’ written by author Peter Saxon. In fact, Manny later claimed he derived sexual pleasure from the scenes of torture depicted in the book and often fantasized about recreating them in real life.

Image Credit: Oxygen

According to reports, Manny got in trouble with the law for the first time in 1975, when the then-19-year-old attempted to kidnap a 17-year-old female. Subsequently, he was convicted of the attempted kidnapping and put on probation for the same. However, the convicted murderer failed to let go of his sadistic ways and attempted to rape two more teenage girls in 1976, which led to a second arrest. Yet, this time, the charges were dropped, and Manny did not have to see the inside of a jail cell.

Incidentally, around that time, Manny was in a relationship with a girl named Cindy and claimed that the attention she showered on him satisfied his ego. However, once she got wind of Manny’s sadistic and cruel personality, Cindy decided that separating would be the best option. Unfortunately, Manny could not bring himself to accept his then-girlfriend’s decision, and he felt a burning rage that almost forced him to murder Cindy. Shockingly, the interview tapes even revealed that Manny had planned to lure Cindy to a vocational auto shop to kill her, but he ultimately dropped it as she arrived with a friend.

Through the interview, Manny mentioned that even though he decided not to kill Cindy, the breakup made him commit another equally horrific murder, where he brutally beat a woman to death. Although the convicted murderer was careful enough not to reveal names, sources believe this victim to be 26-year-old Rosa Williams, who worked at the same vocational auto shop and was found deceased in Los Angeles on April 8, 1977. Moreover, in 1977, Manny ended up kidnapping another teenager, but once the girl escaped and identified him in person, the convicted murderer knew that Los Angeles was not safe for him anymore. Hence, he decided to escape the city and instead settled down in the state of Oregon.

A couple of years later, on December 17, 1979, the city of Ashland, Oregon, witnessed a horrific incident when 11-year-old friends Rachel Isser and Deanna Jackman went missing from a park near the Southern Oregon State College, where they had gone to play tennis. Although investigators tried their best to locate the missing girls, their family’s fears turned out to be accurate when Rachel’s body was discovered inside the press box of the Southern Oregon State College football field that same evening.

Moreover, the following day, law enforcement officials recovered Deanna’s body from a nearby gravel pit, and an autopsy indicated that the girls were sexually assaulted before being suffocated to death. Moreover, a medical examination also proved that the remains were heavily mutilated, and the police knew they were looking for a sadistic killer.

Manny Cortez Remains Incarcerated

Although the initial investigation into Rachel and Deanna’s murder was challenging, the police were eventually led to Manny Cortez, who initially denied all involvement in the crime. However, once authorities learned about Manny’s criminal history, they decided to arrest and produce him in court. Interestingly, Manny was initially tried for Deanna’s murder, and even though that trial ended in a hung jury, the prosecutors decided to merge both charges for the second trial. Hence, when Manny faced the court for the second time, he was convicted of abducting and murdering the two girls.

The court sentenced Manny to life in prison without parole in 1980. Subsequently, in 1982, he pled guilty to his 1977 kidnapping charge in Los Angeles but insisted that he was not involved in any other crimes. However, while he currently remains incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, law enforcement officials and prosecutors believe he is responsible for several other homicides, including the 1978 murder of Karen Whiteside in Eugene, Oregon.

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