SANTA ANA (CBSALA.com) — The arraignment for two parolees accused of raping and killing four women while wearing GPS trackers was postponed Tuesday morning.
Registered sex offenders Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were arrested Friday. They will each face four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of rape at their arraignment, now scheduled for May 19.
If convicted, they face minimum sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. They could, however, face the death penalty.
Anaheim police say both suspects, who are being held without bail, were wearing ankle bracelets when the women were assaulted and killed last fall and earlier this year.
The discovery of one woman’s body on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant last month was the key to breaking the case, Chief Raul Quezada said.
Authorities at a news conference Monday did not explain how Cano and Gordon allegedly managed to carry out the killings while under supervision, but said data from the GPS devices “was one of the investigative tools we used to put the case together.”
Quezada added that authorities were confident that there was at least a fifth victim and perhaps more.
Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn earlier said the two were complying with a requirement to check in monthly with authorities and police had no reason to watch them more closely and hadn’t received any such request from other agencies.
The mother of 21-year-old victim Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, whose body was discovered on the conveyer belt of Anaheim’s Republic Waste Services in the 1100 block of N. Blue Gum Street last month, was in court Tuesday before the arraignment was postponed.
“It makes me sick to my stomach immediately,” Jodi Estepp said of the case.
Three other women, Santa Ana residents Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28, last seen on October 24 and November 12, 2013, respectively, and 20-year-old Kianna Jackson, of Las Vegas, last seen in Santa Ana on October 6, 2013, were allegedly killed by the men. The whereabouts of their bodies are unknown.
KCAL9’s Michele Gile reports Santa Ana and Anaheim officials will meet to decide how and where to begin the gruesome task of attempting to recover the bodies of the victims.
“Soon Anaheim police and Santa Ana police are getting together and they are putting together a game plan to try and recover bodies if possible,” Orange County Senior Deputy D.A. Larry Yellin said.
Yellin confirmed searching landfills for the victims’ bodies is a possibility.
“It’s that, and it’s more,” he said.
Homicide detectives were asking law enforcement agencies across the country to check missing person cases to see if the two suspected serial killers could be connected to more murders.
Authorities have not revealed the identity of the possible fifth victim, although Anaheim police hit the streets Tuesday night, canvassing motels on Beach Boulevard south of Katella, handing out flyers and looking for clues.
Owners of motels along the roadway told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler detectives knocked on doors this week, asking if a guest checked in around February 14 but never checked out.
Police describe the fifth victim as an African-American female in her early 20s, petite, with black hair and tattoos covering much of her body. She is believed to have ties to the Compton area.
Anyone with additional information should contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.
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