Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Buono and Bianchi, the Hillside Stranglers

Three More

Until Thanksgiving week, only Frank Salerno of the L.A. Sheriff's Department had known that a serial killer was at work. After Thanksgiving week, it was the top priority for the entire law enforcement community of Los Angeles. Eight victims in the space of two months. The investigation went into high gear, but the killer or killers took a couple of weeks off.

Kimberly Diane Martin
Kimberly Diane Martin

In mid-December, police were called to a vacant lot on a steep hillside on Alvarado Street where they found the body of Kimberly Diane Martin, a tall, blonde call-girl who had been working for the Climax "modeling agency."

This time the police department had what seemed like two reasonably good leads. Kimberly Martin's last client had beckoned her to Apartment 114 at 1950 Tamarind, which turned out to be a vacant apartment. The murderer had called from a pay phone in the lobby of the Hollywood Public Library on Ivar Street.

Unfortunately, nothing much came from these leads and the police did not have any immediate arrests. But things became quiet for awhile. There were no more victims in December or January.

Then in mid-February, there was another victim. On Thursday, February 16, an attractive young woman named Cindy Hudspeth was murdered. Her strangled, violated body was put into the trunk of her Datsun and was pushed off a cliff on Angeles Crest.

Cindy Lee Hudspeth's body, discovered in the trunk of her Datsun
Cindy Lee Hudspeth's body, discovered in the trunk of her Datsun

The next day when the police investigated, it was clear from the ligature marks that the Hillside Strangler was at work once again. Police focused on the details of Cindy's life in the hopes that they could determine who was with her when she disappeared.

Cindy Lee Hudspeth
Cindy Lee Hudspeth

Cindy had been a 20-year-old clerk who everybody liked. She hoped to make enough money to go to college one day and planned to give dancing lessons to help raise the cash. A vivacious young woman, she had won several dance contests. Cindy had been last seen in her apartment building at 800 East Garfield Avenue. She had probably been headed toward Glendale Community College, where she worked nights answering the phone. Between her apartment building and the community college, Cindy had been kidnapped in the late afternoon.

Cindy Hudspeth had lived across the street from another victim, Kristina Weckler, even though the two women did not know each other. Detectives Bob Grogan and Frank Salerno both believed that there was a good chance that at least one of the killers lived in Glendale.  

Nude body (lower center) on hillside
Nude body (lower center) on hillside

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