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Altemio Sanchez

Altemio Sanchez
Background information
Birth name: Altemio Sanchez
Also known as: Bike Path Rapist
Born: January 19, 1958
San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Number of victims: 3+ (murder), 12-15 (rape)
Span of killings: 1975–2006
Country: USA
State(s): New York
Date apprehended: January 15, 2007

Altemio Sanchez is an American serial killer who murdered at least three women and raped at least 14 others in and around Buffalo, New York, over a span of 25 years (1981-2006). He is also known as The Bike Path Rapist. His victims were: Linda Yalem, a sophomore at the University at Buffalo who was killed September 29, 1990;[1] Majane Mazur, murdered in November, 1992; and Joan Diver, who was murdered on September 29, 2006,[2] and whose body was found on a bike path in Newstead, New York, on October 1, 2006. The killer acquired the nickname because many of his crimes took place near secluded bike paths. On May 16, 2007, Sanchez pleaded guilty to the murders of Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur, and Joan Diver.[3]


Arrest of Altemio Sanchez

On January 15, 2007, a police task force in Erie County, New York, arrested Sanchez and charged him with the murders. On January 19, 2007, an Erie County grand jury voted to indict Sanchez for the murders of Yalem and Mazur.

Police say DNA found at eight crime scenes matches DNA secretly taken from Sanchez before his arrest.[4]

Diver was the only one of the victims who was not raped. It is believed she died during the strangulation before Sanchez could rape her.

Many of the rapes attributed to Sanchez will go unprosecuted due to the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape that was in effect in New York at the time those crimes were committed.[5] He is also a suspect in an ongoing investigation for the murder of a 15-year-old girl in 1985.[6]

On August 15, 2007, Sanchez was sentenced to 75 years in prison with no chance of parole. He is currently being held in the Clinton Correctional Facility; he may be moved to a facility closer to his family if he confesses to further murders. DNA linked him to some 25 sexual assaults from 1975.

Exoneration of Anthony Capozzi

In March 2007, Anthony Capozzi was freed from state prison after serving 22 years for two rapes with a similar modus operandi. After the arrest of Sanchez, investigators realized that the crimes were similar, took place in the same area, and that Sanchez and Capozzi closely resembled each other at the time the crimes were committed. A sample of DNA from Sanchez was linked to the rapes for which Capozzi had been convicted in 1985. Capozzi had maintained his innocence, and was thus denied parole. Capozzi is schizophrenic, and his attorney hopes a civil lawsuit will force the state to provide for his medical care. Recently, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and State Senator Dale Volker introduced legislation that would expedite such lawsuits. This bill is known as Anthony's Law.[7]

It is believed that a clue in the Capozzi case file led to the arrest of Sanchez. A detective who looked over the case files spotted a report from a woman who had been raped in 1981. Almost two years later, she told police she spotted the man who had raped her driving away from a local shopping area parking lot, and she took down the license plate number. When detectives questioned the car's owner, he provided a solid alibi for the rape. However, some twenty-five years later, he was tracked down by the task force and he admitted that on that day he wasn't driving the car. He had lent it to his nephew, Altemio Sanchez.


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