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Mack Ray Edwards

Mugshot of Mack Ray Edwards, 1970
Background information
Born: 1918
Arkansas, United States
Died: October 30, 1971
Cause of death: Suicide by hanging
Killings
Number of victims: 6
Span of killings: 1953–1970
Country: United States
State(s): California
Date apprehended: March, 1970

Mack Ray Edwards (1918 – October 30, 1971) was an American serial killer. He murdered at least six children in Los Angeles County, California between 1953 and 1970.

Contents

Biography

Mack Ray Edwards was born in Arkansas. He moved to Los Angeles County in 1941. As a heavy equipment operator contracted by Caltrans, he worked on freeways. The body of one of his victims was found underneath the Santa Ana Freeway, and he claimed to have disposed another of his victims under the Ventura Freeway.[1]

Edwards killed three children from 1953 to 1956, and three more in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, Edwards and a teenage male accomplice kidnapped three girls from their home in Sylmar. When the girls escaped, Edwards surrendered to police and confessed to molesting and murdering six children.[2]

After three bodies were recovered, Edwards pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and was sentenced to death.[3]

On October 30, 1971, following two unsuccessful attempts, Edwards committed suicide by hanging himself with a television cord in his cell in San Quentin State Prison.[4]

Victims

Known victims

Edwards was convicted of the murders of three children:

  • Stella Darlene Nolan, 8, of Compton, who disappeared June 20, 1953.
  • Gary Rochet, 16, of Granada Hills, who was found after having been shot to death on November 26, 1968.
  • Donald Allen Todd, 13, of Pacoima, who disappeared May 16, 1969.

Edwards confessed to three additional killings. Because the bodies of the victims were not recovered, he was never officially charged with these murders:

  • Don Baker, 13, and Brenda Howell, age 11, of Azusa, who disappeared August 6, 1956.
  • Roger Madison, 16, of Sylmar, disappeared December 16, 1968.[4]

Possible victims

Edwards may have committed other murders, but his own account was inconsistent: while in prison he claimed to have killed 18 children,[5] but in an interview with the Los Angeles Times he said the number was only six.[3] The 12-year span between Baker's and Howell's disappearances and Rochet's shooting has led investigators to suspect Edwards may have claimed more victims in between.[1]

As of March 2007, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the possibility of Edwards' involvement in the disappearance of Tommy Bowman, 8, of Redondo Beach, who disappeared in Pasadena on March 23, 1957. Author Weston DeWalt was researching the Bowman disappearance when he noticed the similarity between a photo of Edwards and a sketch of Bowman's abductor. DeWalt was later shown a letter from Edwards to his wife in which Edwards states that he "left out" Tommy Bowman from his confession to police.[5]

Edwards is also considered a suspect in the disappearances of Bruce Kremen of Granada Hills and Karen Lynn Tompkins and Dorothy Gale Brown of Torrance. Kremen, 6, disappeared from a YMCA camp in Angeles National Forest on July 12, 1960.[6] Tompkins, 11, disappeared on August 18, 1961. Dorothy Gale Brown, also 11, disappeared on July 3, 1962. She had been molested and drowned. Her body was recovered from the ocean off of Corona del Mar.[7]

Cultural References

In the final episode of The Shield airing November 25, 2008, Dutch Wagenbach, a detective on the show, refers to Edwards while interrogating a teenager he believes is an up and coming serial killer, making the point that serial killers without a catchy nickname are easily forgotten by the general public.

References

  1. ^ a b Ruiz, Kenneth T. "Police back theory on missing boy" Whittier Daily News. Accessed 28 March, 2007.
  2. ^ Kistler, Robert. "Police Say Man May Have Slain 6 Youths." Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 1970.
  3. ^ a b Haynes, Roy. "Death Penalty Voted for Slayer of Six Children." Los Angeles Times, 23 May 1970.
  4. ^ a b Stingley, Jim. "Slayer of Six Children Hangs Himself in Cell." Los Angeles Times, 31 Oct. 1971.
  5. ^ a b Blankstein, Andrew. "Killer's dead, but they're still on his trail." Los Angeles Times, 17 March 2007. Accessed 21 March 2007.
  6. ^ The Charley Project: Bruce Kremen Accessed 29 March, 2007.
  7. ^ Long-dead killer back in sights of police - Los Angeles Times







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