6th Victim Added to Tally of 1970s 'Doodler' Serial Killer

Police in San Francisco say they are close to an arrest decades after the slayings of gay men
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2022 12:15 AM CST
6th Victim Added to Tally of 1970s 'Doodler' Serial Killer
This pair of sketches provided by the San Francisco Police Department in 2019 shows what the serial killer known as the 'Doodler' a serial killer might have looked like in the 1970s and closer to today.   (San Francisco Police Department via AP)

(Newser) The Doodler is still out there, but police in San Francisco say they are closer than ever to catching the 1970s serial killer who targeted gay men. On Thursday, the SFPD confirmed a sixth victim—52-year-old attorney Warren Andrews, reports SFGate. Warren was savagely beaten in the city's Lands End park in 1975 and died from his injuries weeks later without ever having regained consciousness. Police initially didn't connect his killing to five others that occurred in the city from 1974 to '75, but renewed interest in the case—particularly a San Francisco Chronicle series and podcast on the killings—prompted investigators to take a new look.

The Doodler had a well-established pattern. He would seeks out victims—typically gay white men—in a bar, then make a sketch of them as a way of striking up a conversation, explains CNN. They'd leave the bar, go to a secluded site, have a sexual encounter, and then the Doodler would stab them. (Andrews is an anomaly in that he was not stabbed, but police now believe he fought back and perhaps caused his assailant to lose his knife down a nearby cliff.) Some of the Doodler's victims' survived—they say he claimed to be a cartoonist or an aspiring artist—and police were able to create a sketch.

In fact, police were even able to interview a suspect, who remains unidentified. The case, however, went nowhere, in part because survivors were reluctant to testify in court in an age when being publicly identified as homosexual could wreck their lives. That same suspect remains the primary person of interest and was re-interviewed recently, per SFGate. "We've come a long way in this investigation, and I think we’re closer than ever to solving it—but we just need a bit more information," lead investigator Dan Cunningham tells the Chronicle. Police also doubled the reward for information leading to an arrest to $200,000 on Thursday, exactly 48 years after the killer's first victim was discovered. (Read more serial killers stories.)

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