Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gerald & Charlene Gallego

Linda & Virginia

The Gallegos, now living as the Feils, were on a small vacation in Oregon when they spied their next victim.  It was June 7, 1980, and Linda Aguilar wasnt Geralds typeshe was 21, had dark hair and eyes, and was pregnant.  But when he saw her walking beside the highway, he decided he had to have her.  He slowed the van and asked Linda if she needed a ride.  Linda, on her way home from a local store, accepted.  Charlene knew the routine by nowpresently Gerry ordered her to drive and began his sexual assault.  In a while they stopped, and Charlene wandered about in the woods, killing time until Gerry was ready to go.  When he found a spot he felt was suitably isolated, he took Linda away from the van, striking her with a rock, then strangling her.

Authorities first believed Linda Aguilar, who was known as something of a free spirit, had merely wandered off.  But as the days passed suspicion mounted, and when her body was found later that month, police suspected her boyfriend of the killing.  Even though one witness reported seeing a pregnant woman getting into a van the day of Lindas disappearance, the circumstantial evidence against the boyfriend weighed more heavily in the minds of the police.  He had beaten Linda before, and it seemed he would be charged with her murder soon.

Gerald was getting bolder and more impatient.  It was only a month and a half before he was ready to strike again.  He and Charlene spent the day of July 16, 1980 drinking themselves silly, then spent the evening doing even more drinking a the Sail Inn, a bar in West Sacramento.  Gerald was belligerent and boastful that night, and seemed to pay no special attention to Virginia Mochel, the bartender.  When closing time came, though, he told Charlene he wasnt ready to leave.  They waited in the parking lot, and when Virginia came out after locking up the bar Gerald forced her into the van with his .357.  But this time, instead of heading out into the countryside, he drove the van home.  Charlene waited inside watching television, and when he was finished with raping Virginia, Gerald told Charlene to get in the van.  He made her drive, and while she did, he strangled Virginia.  They dumped the body outside Clarksburg. The next day Gerald celebrated his thirty-fourth birthday with unseemly glee.

Virginia Mochel had two small children and was not the itinerant sort, so police took her disappearance seriously.  Patrons of the Sail Inn reported that two strangers, a man named Stephen and his girlfriend Charlene, had come into the bar that night.  Police tracked Gerald down at his new bartending job, and he admitted hed been at the Sail Inn that night.  He knew nothing of what had become of Virginia Mochel, however.  Charlene gave similar answers, and told police offhandedly that she and her boyfriend had been fishing that day.  When Virginias body was found, her hands were bound with fishing line, which raised detectives suspicions, but didnt offer anything concrete against the couple.  The investigation ground to a halt.


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