LA Forensics: The Chinatown Widow
The Eastside Strangler
Anyone who knew Donna was fingerprinted in an effort to identify the person who handled the piggy bank and the box in John's room. None of the collected prints matched. Neither did those of any of the known gang members in the area with their prints on file. It would be impossible to start searching every fingerprint in the database for comparison.
With nothing more to go on, the case went cold — languishing with others waiting for the advent of DNA or a lucky break like a confession. Two years went by and then detectives suddenly got word that the Eastside Strangler had been arrested. His name was Brandon Tholmer and he was also nicknamed the Westside Rapist, having been blamed for 32 attacks on elderly women throughout Los Angeles between 1981 and 1984.
Tholmer was committed in the '70s to a state psychiatric hospital for raping a 79-year-old woman. When he was released, the attacks started happening near an outpatient psychiatric center he frequented. Anxious detectives on Donna's case compared his fingerprints, but they didn't match. Neither did the hair because Tholmer was black. Eventually he was charged with five other murders and received a sentence of four life terms in prison.