Breaking Homicide looks into the case of Hawaii’s only serial killer, the Honolulu Strangler, who murdered at least five women.
The Honolulu Strangler carried out five rapes and murders in Hawaii between 1985 and 1986, making him the first known serial killer on the island.
Also known as the Honolulu Rapist, his first victim was 25-year-old Vicki Gail Purdy who went missing on May 29, 1985, after going out for a night of clubbing with friends. Her body was found the next day, with her hands tied behind her back – she’d been raped and strangled to death.
The next attack was not until January 1986 when the victim was 17-year-old Regina Sakamoto, who missed her bus when traveling to meet her boyfriend. Like Purdy, she was found with her arms bound behind her back and shed been raped and strangled.
After Sakamoto’s murder police thought they were probably dealing with the same killer , having noted the similarities between the two cases. Just a few weeks later, on February 1, the body of Denise Hughes, 21, was found wrapped up in a tarp and dumped near a stream. Hughes had also been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Following Hughes’s murder a serial killer task force was created, though this failed to stop another two murders from taking place. On March 25 Louise Medeiros told her family she was getting the bus from the airport, but she failed to arrive at her destination. Road workers found her body several days later, like several of the other women her lower body was unclothed and she’d been strangled.
After Medeiros’s killing the police department launched a sting operation to try and catch the serial killer but they had no success. The final victim was older than the other, with 36-year-old Linda Pesce being found dead on May 3 after a tip off from a informant about its location. Pesce’s body was found nude, with her hands tied behind her back.
The informant was arrested and his ex-wife and girlfriend told police he liked to have sex with them whilst their arms were tied behind their back. His girlfriend also said that each of the attacks happened after they’d had arguments that had prompted him to leave the house. Detectives interviewed the man but despite failing a polygraph test, they released him.
He was followed by police and later a witness came forth, identifying the man as someone she saw Pesce with the night she was killed. The woman even picked him out of a lineup, but she then refused to be a witness, fearing that the man had identified her as well.
Since then there has been sporadic media interest in the case but the identity of the Honolulu Strangler remains a mystery, Breaking Homicide hopes to shine some light on the case..
Breaking Homicide – The Honolulu Strangler airs at 10:00 and 11:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.