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That conviction was overturned in 1986 on grounds that the jury had been improperly informed of previous sex crimes committed by Alcala.
That year he was retried and again convicted in Orange County, but that conviction also was overturned, this time because a witness wasn’t allowed to substantiate Alcala’s contention that a park ranger who found Samsoe’s body had been hypnotized by investigators.
Prosecutors in Rock Springs, Wyo., said Tuesday that one of those victims was Christine Ruth Thornton, 28, of San Antonio.
They said Alcala met Thornton and killed her while on a road trip, then buried her on a ranch in Granger, Wyo.
In the years since the photos were released, Ellis said he and other detectives have taken hundreds of calls and emails from people looking for missing loved ones.
The process has helped identify about 40 women in photos who are still alive and well, Ellis estimates.
After years of saying he was innocent of murder, Alcala pleaded guilty in 2013 to killing two young women in New York state.Thornton was about six months pregnant at the time of her death, according to the warrant for Alcala’s arrest.Though prosecutors said her body was uncovered by a rancher in Wyoming in 1982, Thornton’s alleged link to Alcala wasn’t known for decades.Thornton is the first alleged slaying victim linked to those photos, but Ellis believes there are others.“There are thousands out there that are unidentified,” he said.