Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Dru Sjodin

A Life of Crime

Rodriguez was the second oldest of five children born in Laredo, Texas in February 1953 to migrant workers Dolores and Alfonso Rodriguez Sr. Mara Gottfried reported that the family "moved for 15 years between Texas and the Red River Valley"  before finally settling in Crookston, Minnesota in 1963. Rodriguez claimed to have had an unhappy childhood, describing his home life as "unpleasant" because his parents were highly critical of him and "unreasonable in their demands."

Sign St. Peter Regional Treatment Center
Sign St. Peter Regional Treatment Center
(A convicted rapist escaped from this facility last month and was captured later out of state.)

Gottfried said that Rodriguez admitted to using drugs throughout his youth, including acid, hash and marijuana. Rodriguez claimed that he was molested by older women during his youth which he said was the source of his hostile feelings against women, the Star Tribune reported. However, sexual psychopaths habitually blame others for their criminal behavior and his claim lacks credibility.

Rodriguez became increasingly isolated while growing up, which was further compounded by language barriers. His preferred language was Spanish and he struggled with English, which made school especially challenging. He eventually dropped out of school during the ninth grade and began working as a laborer at the American Crystal Sugar Company plant in Crookston.

Rodriguez as a youth in high school
Rodriguez as a youth in high school

In October 1974, at the age of 21, he asked a woman for a ride home and instead he directed her to a driveway in Crookston, where he "grabbed her by the throat, pulled her back in the car" and tried to rape her at knifepoint, Gottfried wrote. The next month, he approached another woman, who was sitting in a truck outside of a Crookston movie theater. He threatened her with a knife and ordered her to drive to a secluded location in the countryside where he raped her.        

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