The Trailside Killer of San Francisco
The Final Victim
On June 16, 1981, in Castle Rock State Park, rock climbers came across a jaw bone. At the urging of acquaintances, they brought it in and the police sent it for analysis. It proved to be human, and with further work it was identified as the partial remains of a seventeen-year-old high school student, Anna K. Menjivar, missing since December 28 the previous year. Many people had suspected that Carpenter had something to do with her disappearance.
She had worked part-time at the bank where Carpenter was a client, and he often engaged in conversation with her. People were under the impression that she was the reason he came to the bank. But evidence against him was slim. Even the cause of death could not be established.
Yet other cases could be prosecuted, and perhaps that would become some sort of justice for young Anna. Carpenter was formally charged with the five Marin County killings (Anne Alderson, Diane O'Connell, Shauna May, Cynthia Moreland, and Richard Stowers), two rapes, and an attempted rape. The police had recovered the .38 that he'd given to a friend — a bank robber who wanted no part in protecting a killer and who suspected that Carpenter was setting him up — and they now had everything they needed to move forward with a strong case.
Given its inflammatory nature in the Santa Cruz and San Francisco communities, the venue was shifted three hundred miles away to Los Angeles.