ABC 20/20 Featuring ‘Dating Game Killer’ Shares Local Ties

ABC 20/20 Featuring ‘Dating Game Killer’ Shares Local Ties

Rodney Alcala has been on death row since 1979. He was convicted in 2016 of the 1977 murder of Christine Thornton in Sweetwater County. (Photo credit: AP)

The ABC News feature show 20/20 will air the story of infamous Dating Game Killer Rodney Alcala Friday night, and part of that feature includes his connection to a Sweetwater County murder case.

Alcala is listed having as many as 130 victims including 28-year-old Christine Thornton in 1977. Thornton and her boyfriend were traveling from San Antonio, Texas to Montana to pan for gold, but the couple broke up, and the last time the boyfriend saw Thornton was in Green River.

Thornton was pregnant at the time, and some time after she left her boyfriend, she crossed paths with Alcala. Alcala, posing as a young photographer, persuaded Thornton to take portraits in a desolate area just outside of Granger. Her remains were found by a southwest Wyoming rancher in 1982, but weren’t identified for more than 30 years.

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After a DNA match from her sister was confirmed, Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe filed murder charges against Alcala in 2016. Alcala had already been given a death sentence for five murders in California between 1977 and 1979. He earned the nickname “The Dating Game Killer” because he appeared on and won a segment of the popular 70s television game show back in 1978 the midst of his nationwide murder spree.

The 77-year-old Alcala was reportedly “too ill” to make the journey from California to Wyoming to stand trial on the new charges. He remains in California State Prison, Corcoran pending further appeals of his death sentences.

The ABC 20/20 episode will air at 8 pm MST.