Renewed Interest in Five Cold Case Peninsula Murders Now Linked to 1976 Killing

The FBI announced Thursday that a joint task force involving the agency and San Mateo County law enforcement agencies has been created to focus on the cases-- which have recently been linked to a Reno crime.

By Bay City News Service:

Authorities Thursday said the murders of five young women in San Mateo County in 1976 are believed to be linked to a murder in Reno that same year, and are asking the public for help in solving the crimes.

 At a news conference outside the Redwood City courthouse, FBI special agent Gerald Bessette announced that a joint task force involving the FBI and San Mateo County law enforcement agencies has been created to focus on the cases.

 Between January and April 1976, six women in their late teens or 20s mysteriously disappeared and were later found murdered.

 Within the last few months, the FBI connected the killing of 19-year-old Michelle Mitchell, who disappeared in February 1976, to the five Peninsula crimes and formed the task force hoping to uncover new leads in the case.

There were similarities between the murders, including the time frame in which they were committed and "modus operandi," or pattern of behavior, authorities said.

 "We have reason to believe the deaths are linked," Bessette said.

 The first Peninsula victim was Veronica "Ronnie" Cascio, who disappeared from a bus stop in Pacifica in January 1976. Tatiana "Tanya" Blackwell also disappeared that month; Paula Baxter went missing in February; Carol Lee Booth disappeared in March; and Denise Lampe was reporting missing in April that year.

 The new task force is comprised of FBI agents, officers from the Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco and Reno police departments, and deputies with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

 Members of the task force plan to canvass neighborhoods where the victims were last seen and where their bodies were discovered, as well as pursue any leads that surface, in an effort to bring the killer to justice and provide closure for the victims' families, according to Bessette.

 "No tips or observations are too small for us," Bessette said. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the FBI's tip line at (415) 553-7400.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Kirkham March 06, 2014 at 08:13 PM
Sharon Voigt Caserta March 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM
One of these woman was my late husband's sister in law at the time. I was hoping they would reopen this case. So happy to hear the news!
S.Giraud March 07, 2014 at 01:36 PM
What about the 1978 Payless Store murders in the city of San Mateo. Three young people where shot execution style during a robbery. The police had a person of interest under investigation at the time. Reopen this case and with the evidence gathered at the crime scene, maybe DNA can help secure an arrest of the original, person of interest.


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