Justice Slow In Coming: Fifty-Years After My Arrest of Rodney James Alcala “The Dating Game Killer” Dies In Prison at Age 77

July 24, 2021
Los Angeles
Finally, some good news this morning.

One of the world’s most monstrous serial killers died in a hospital near Corcoran State  Prison this morning.

Rodney Alcala, known as “The Dating Game Killer” was awaiting execution for multiple serial murders across the nation.
Just knowing he is no longer breathing brings a huge sigh of relief to me.
As many of my readers know, I arrested Alcala some fifty years ago in 1971 for the kidnap/attempted murder/rape of little 8-year-old, Tali Shapiro.
The California Courts had an  “indeterminate sentencing” back then and though he was sentenced to 1-99 years, incredibly, he served just two years and change, and the prison psychiatrist deemed him “all well now” and he was released.
Alcala went on to rape and murder at least a dozen more women and children and was ultimately convicted and sent to prison in the late Seventies and after numerous retrials, he finally received the Death Penalty.
Below related photos are from my arrest back in 1971:
My Hollywood kidnap/att.murder victim Tali Shapiro circa 1968      Tali testifying in court at trial

Rodney James Alcala then and now

I was able to get Alcala on the FBI “Most Wanted” in 1971 and after his arrest at a girl’s camp in New Hampshire, I flew back and extradited him to California on our Hollywood child kidnap/att. murder warrant.

Steve Hodel Hollywood patrol and as a rookie detective late Sixties/Early Seventies
CBS Video Interview on my Hollywood Crime (4 minutes)


Some of his murder victims:


Below is a Rolling Stones article out today announcing his death this morning at the prison hospital



  1. Jennifer on July 24, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    I read this today on the Guardian and I thought of you immediately ! Reading the account on your blog of the young girl who narrowly escaped with her life and your extradition efforts bringing Alcala to justice were deeply affecting.
    Glad to read another serial rapist/child predator/killer is dead of natural causes in prison.
    The Grim Sleeper last year too.

  2. Cynthia Snowden on July 26, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Thank God he can’t hurt anyone else again

  3. Frank Adkins on July 28, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I had no idea you collared that monster. Great job! Not sure how I missed that one. Lol.
    I just last weekend finished in the mesquite. Congratulations on another great read.as always I found it riveting and well written.
    I was wondering if you had any idea who the woman or women accompanying Dr Hodel and Fred Sexton on their terrorizing road trip were? Also if you suspected one of them was in fact the woman with 2 men that called on Elisabeth Short so late in San Diego? If so was she a willing accomplice? Future unwitting victim?
    I’m eagerly awaiting the next book I believe it’s the early years.
    Best wishes and thanks for another great read.

    • Steve Hodel on July 28, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Frank A: Thanks. Glad you enjoyed In The Mesquite. As to your question re. “who might the unidentified woman be?” Yes, I address it in “The Early Years” which I hope to publish next year with the docuseries. Best, Steve

      • Kathy on July 28, 2021 at 10:21 pm

        Thanks, Steve,


  4. Joyce Ralston Payton on August 12, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Are there never any repercussions for these doctors who release someone who then kills over and over? Such a tragedy and after all the hard work done to put him behind bars in the first place. Thank goodness for wonderful hardworking police officers like you who keep fighting the good fight for all of us. Know that millions of us do not agree with the defunding and anti-police media fueled actions being done today. Looking forward to your next book I believe you say it is coming out in 2022?

    • Steve Hodel on August 12, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Joyce R.P.:

      Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.
      Nothing really can be done with a shrinks “opinion”, just too subjective.
      Just like in a trial one psychiatrist say’s, “He’s sane.” Another say’s, “He’s insane and doesn’t know right from wrong.”
      Thanks for the kind words and yes, hope to have “The Early Years” published in 2022. Steve

  5. Christian Espinal on November 19, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Steve, i want to know your opinion on Rodney Alcala actual body count, which some say to be as high as 100.
    also wanted to know if it is true that Alchala, just like your dad, had a genius IQ as some claim,
    do you have any knowledge about this claims?

    Sorry for any spelling mistakes. I‘m from Dominican Republic, english is not my native language, greetings.

    • Steve Hodel on November 19, 2021 at 8:02 pm

      Christian E:
      Re. Alcala’s intelligence, his UCLA professor confirmed he was one of his very bright student’s and in the professor’s opinion, “not capable of such a crime.” (Rape/attempt murder of little Tali Shapiro) From his “performance” on “The Dating Game” I personally was not all that impressed. My guess is above average intelligence, but not the stratospheric mind of a GHH IQ of 186.
      As far as “body count” is certainly higher than known, but I would think “100” would be unlikely.
      Guessing, I would say maybe another 10-15 unidentified assaults and or possible murders, but that’s just a guess. Regards, Steve

  6. Christian Espinal on November 19, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    thanks for replying, i wasnt fully convinced either about some “experts” claiming him to be the smartest serial killer, even claiming he had 170 IQ, though they don’t explain where that estimate comes from…i believe both, his intelligence and his supposed body count to be an exaggeration

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