Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Cary Stayner and the Yosemite Murders

Update August 1999

In an affidavit filed August 30, 1999, by FBI Special Agent (SA) Marcee Robinson in support of a search warrant for blood, hair and saliva samples from Cary Stayner, further details were presented about the murders in Yosemite. In this official file, which was requested by the state of California, it is made clear that Stayner, despite earlier denials, sexually assaulted two of his victims, Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso.

Silvina Pelosso, left, with Juli Sund (Associated Press)
Silvina Pelosso, left, with Juli Sund
(Associated Press)

Robinson bases his report on the evidence discovered by local police and FBI agents — in particularly Special Agent Christopher Hopkins — who investigated the case and rounded up the evidence.

"According to SA Hopkins, both the (FBI's) Evidence Response Team and the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office collected items of potential evidence from Room 509 at the Cedar Lodge Motel, the room in which Stayner claims to have sexually assaulted Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso and murdered both Carole Sund and Silvina Pelosso," reads a passage from the affidavit. "In his interview, Stayner claimed that hair from his body was left on the bedspread in their motel room, but he returned later and changed the bed. Upon examination by the FBI Laboratory, some items have yielded trace evidence. Among other things, the FBI Laboratory has found hairs in vacuum sweepings taken from Room 509 and possibly body fluid stains on a blanket (and) a latent palm print from the window sill."

Of the Joie Armstrong homicide, previously unreleased evidence strongly supports Stayner's confession and gives new details of that murder. For instance, according to the affidavit, "Vacuum sweepings taken from inside Armstrong's house, where Stayner claims to have bound her with duct tape, have yielded hair evidence. The FBI Laboratory has also found possible bodily fluid stains on a bed sheet taken from Armstrong's residence. The FBI also seized clothing stained with blood from Joie Armsttrong's body. Although most of the stains are likely to include Armstrong's blood, Stayner was observed to have a laceration on his hand during his interrogation, and therefore may have been cut and bled during the attack. Latent fingerprints have also been lifted from the interior of Joie Armstrong's truck, which Stayner admits to touching during his encounter with her."

Other objects of evidence are being examined in the interim. These include the knives Stayner claimed to have used to kill Juli Sund and Joie Armstrong, pieces of duct tape from Armstrong's house, and a blanket Stayner said he wrapped around the Sund teen.

Two vials of Stayner's blood, as well as 25 samples of Stayner's head and pubic hair, saliva and fingerprints, are scheduled for testing against trace evidence in the Fresno County Jail in the presence of law enforcement officials.