Chief: Suspects wore GPS devices during killings

2014-04-15 16:25
Steven Dean Gordon and Franc Cano (not pictured) were arrested on Friday, April 11, 2014, on suspicion of killing four women in Orange County, California. (AP Photo/Megan's Law)

Steven Dean Gordon and Franc Cano (not pictured) were arrested on Friday, April 11, 2014, on suspicion of killing four women in Orange County, California. (AP Photo/Megan's Law)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Anaheim - Two parolees raped and killed at least four women while wearing GPS trackers, and there may be more victims, a California police chief alleged on Monday.

Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon, both registered sex offenders, were both wearing ankle bracelets when the women were assaulted and killed last autumn and earlier this year, Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada said at a news conference.

Authorities at the news conference did not explain how Cano and Gordon allegedly managed to carry out the killings while under supervision, but Quezada said data from the GPS devices "was one of the investigative tools we used to put the case together."

Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn earlier said the two were complying with a requirement to check in monthly with authorities and police had no reason to watch them more closely and hadn't received any such request from other agencies.

Breaking the case

The discovery of one woman's body on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant was the key to breaking the case, he said. Investigators were seeking the other bodies.

"They put a stop to a serial killing that would likely have continued beyond this point," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said at the news conference.

Quezada said authorities were confident that there was at least a fifth victim and perhaps more.

The department has contacted other places with missing persons cases across the country, Dunn said.

Possible death penalty

Police believe the men killed a woman in Anaheim this year and three others in Santa Ana last October and November while on parole.

Cano, aged 27, and Gordon, aged 45, were arrested by investigators on Friday. Each man was charged on Monday with four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of rape.

If convicted, they could face a minimum sentence of life without parole or the death penalty. They were being held without bail and expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.

Police at first didn't link the disappearances of the four women to the suspects, considering them missing persons rather than murder victims.

"These individuals were not on our radar whatsoever," Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said of the suspects. "Our three missing in Santa Ana just completely went off the grid and we were trying to follow up as much as we could."

Santa Ana police searched a canyon, examined the women's cellphone records, alerted hospitals, put the word out on social media and even checked motels they were known to frequent but without success in finding them.

Then the naked body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, aged 21, was found 14 March on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant.

Once investigators concluded that Estepp was killed and that she had "a similar profile to our victims, we were able to ... move forward," Rojas said.

Previous criminal histories

Police believe Cano and Gordon have known each other since cutting their ankle bracelets in 2012 and boarding a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas using fake names.

 The men were arrested by federal agents on 8 May, 2012, after a two-week stay at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, according to documents filed in US District Court in Nevada.

Cano and Gordon had previously been ordered to register as sex offenders after being convicted in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.

Gordon was convicted in 1992 and also has a 2002 kidnapping conviction, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. Cano's conviction dates back to 2008, prosecutors said.

After fleeing Los Angeles in 2012, the two were re-arrested and both pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender. They were ordered to provide DNA samples and have their computers monitored by federal agents, according to the federal documents, which were first obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

The men also checked in with Anaheim police every 30 days, as required, and provided updated photos, fingerprints and addresses, Dunn said.

In fact, both men checked in earlier this month, Dunn said.

Cano was wearing a state-issued ankle bracelet and Gordon was wearing a federal GPS device, he said.

String of disappearances

The string of disappearances in Santa Ana began in October after Kianna Jackson, aged 20, of Las Vegas, arrived in the city for a court hearing on four misdemeanour charges of prostitution and loitering to commit prostitution. Her mother said she stopped responding to her text messages soon after she arrived in Santa Ana.

Josephine Monique Vargas, aged 34, was last seen 24 October after leaving a family birthday party to go to a store. The Times said Vargas had a rough past that at times involved drug use and prostitution, but her mother said she had been trying to better her life.

Martha Anaya, aged 28, asked her boyfriend to pick up their 5-year-old daughter so she could work on 12 November, then stopped responding to his messages later that night. Police said she also had a history of prostitution.

In the weeks before she was found dead at the trash-sorting plant, Estepp, had become a regular on a strip of Beach Boulevard in Anaheim long known for prostitution.

 

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.