The San Francisco Police Department might be close to finally catching the Doodler, a 1970s serial killer more savage than his nickname might suggest. The killer is believed to have killed at least five gay men and possibly up to 14 in 1974 and 1975, SF Weekly reports. Police say the killer would approach men in bars, sketch them, and leave with them. The victims were stabbed multiple times; one was nearly decapitated. The bodies were left in the open in locations including beaches and golf courses. Inspector Dan Cunningham, who recently took charge of San Francisco's cold case unit, tells CNN they have a suspect and are now "connecting the dots."
Cunningham says he is trying to track down a European diplomat believed to be one of three people who were assaulted by the Doodler and survived. The victims provided information that helped police create a sketch. But fearing their sexuality would be exposed, they refused to testify when a man matching the suspect's description was arrested outside a bar with a butcher knife and a book of sketches, meaning the man, who is apparently still the main Doodler suspect, was never charged. Cunningham says he plans to work with the crime lab to see if a usable DNA sample can be taken from 43-year-old crime scene evidence. If the suspect is still alive, he would now be in his early 60s. Cunningham says he plans to release an updated sketch of the suspect when he has "all his ducks in a row." (Read more serial killers stories.)