KTTV 70: The Hillside Strangler wasn't one killer, but two

Judy Miller. She was 15. Detective Frank Salerno said, "She got kidnapped, murdered and... dumped." Same thing happened to Lissa Kastin, Dolores Cepeda, Sonja Johnson, Kristina Weckler, Lauren Wagner, Kimberly Ann Martin and three others.

10 young women and girls, ages 12 to 28... raped, tortured, found dead and draped across LA area hillsides.

"It was hell!" That's what LAPD Commander William Boothe said about the frustration the department was feeling. "There were so many of them."

The case had law enforcement and a task force of over 160 officers scratching their heads. Retired LA County Sheriffs Detective Frank Salerno was assigned to the case. He sat down with us.

"It takes a deranged person obviously," he said in recounting those days. "It takes a person with no feelings."

Salerno and his partner were on a mission to find the cold-blooded killer, but who was it? He recalls how it didn't take long to realize it wasn't one person police needed to stop. It was two.

The two were Kenneth Bianchi, who was caught after strangling two women in Washington State, and his cousin Angelo Buono, Jr.

Says Salerno, "Buono was an older guy had been arrested a number of times. Very quiet. Very street knowledgeable as far as that went. Bianchi was a youngster basically in his 20's. Car salesman type. Could talk his way into anything."

Salerno says Buono and Bianchi had a bad kind of magic together. The worst kind of villainy. They used badges and posed as police officers to snag some of their victims. Their victims like one found in Chavez Ravine were displayed in a way as to taunt police.

Salerno: "They dumped her off Alvarado near Dodger Stadium...splayed out...on the side of the hill. When you took a shot of her body and the top of the street, the background was city hall. They were likely taunting, but it was a classic hillside dump."

Hear more of the Detective's recollections in our video story.