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Police Say Man In Cold Case Killing Could Be Sixth Victim Of Serial Killer 'The Doodler'

by : Hannah Smith on :
Police Say Man In Cold Case Killing Could Be Sixth Victim Of Serial Killer 'The Doodler'
Police Say Man In Cold Case Killing Could Be Sixth Victim Of Serial Killer 'The Doodler' (San Francisco Police Department)

A San Francisco serial killer known as 'The Doodler' may be responsible for a previously unlinked cold case murder, police have said.

The killer, who was linked to five murders between January 1974 and June 1975, is thought to have targeted white, gay men, and is now suspected to have struck a sixth time, following an investigation into the still-unidentified man by cold case detectives and a local newspaper.

'The Doodler' earned his name after a victim who survived his attack said that he remembered the killer because he had seen him drawing caricatures at an all-night diner in the city.

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Forensic sketchs of The Doodler (San Francisco Police Department)
Forensic sketchs of The Doodler (San Francisco Police Department)

It's believed that the killer would frequent San Francisco gay bars, and would strike up conversation with his victims by showing them his caricatures.

'He'd pick a guy somewhere at the bar, he'd sit at the table, he'd sketch them, he was a good artist, so then he would walk up to the guy and say, like my doodle?' San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan said of the killer's methods.

His five known victims were aged between 25 and 66, and all were found with stab wounds from a similar weapon in around the area of Ocean Beach.

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The sixth victim, Warren Andrews, was discovered in April 1975 in Land's End and is believed to have died after being hit with a rock and a tree branch. The timing of his death would make him The Doodler's fourth known victim chronologically.

Speaking to the Chronicle in 2021, lead cold case investigator Dan Cunningham said of Andrews, 'The location, the time period, the victimology – it all makes me think that it might be connected. I’d be a fool not to consider him as a Doodler victim.'

San Francisco Police Department
San Francisco Police Department

In a statement confirming the development, the San Francisco Police Department said that during the course of their investigations in 1976, officers had twice interviewed a man who was considered a 'strong suspect' in the murders, and confirmed that the same man was 'still the focus of our investigation in 2022'.

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Alongside the statement, two forensic sketches were released – one drawn in 1976, and another drawn in 2018 depicting what the killer might look like 40 years later.

Following the new information, San Francisco police doubled their reward for information leading to the killer's conviction from $10,000 to $20,000, and urged potential witnesses or victims to come forward.

'We believe there are other persons who may have survived attacks by this same suspect or may have information regarding this suspect and these attacks,' they said.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism and culture.

Topics: News, US News