This Was The First Victim Of The Honolulu Strangler

The Honolulu Strangler was a truly noteworthy (if you could call it that) serial killer. For one, he is said to be Hawaii's first-known serial killer, according to Listverse. Secondly, he appears to have operated for a brief (if deadly) period of time — from just 1985 to 1986. Perhaps most shocking, though, is that his identity remains a mystery and he's never been caught.

The Honolulu Strangler's terrifying murder spree began the evening of May 29,1985, according to The True Crime Database. That's when 25-year old Vicki Purdy told her husband, Army helicopter pilot Gary Purdy, that she planned to go dancing with some friends in Waikiki. It was something she'd done before so her husband didn't begin to worry until she failed to come home when she'd said she would.

According to Listverse, a cab driver reported that he'd dropped Vicki off at a hotel (reportedly to pick up her car) around midnight. It was the last time Vicki would be seen alive.

The Honolulu Stranger was only getting started

The following morning, Vicki's body was found in an embankment overlooking a lagoon. Her hands had been bound behind her back and she'd been strangled, and raped. It would be almost six months before the murderer would strike again, this time raping, strangling, and killing another local — a 17-year-old girl named Regina Sakamoto, according to Listverse.

The two victims shared some superficial physical characteristics like being petite but it was the similar manner of death that first tipped authorities to the idea that they could have a serial killer at work in Honolulu. Three more victims soon followed but it wasn't until an informant, Howard Gay, came forward to alert police to the location of another body, something he'd been told, he claimed, by a psychic (per The True Crime Database).

When victim Linda Pesce's body was indeed found in the area Gay had told police about, he immediately became a leading suspect. However, despite circumstantial evidence — possible eyewitness sightings of Gay with a victim and his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend coming forward to say that he liked to have sex with women while their hands were tied behind their backs — Gay was never arrested or charged with any crimes. Gay eventually left Hawaii to return to the mainland and while the killings did stop, a true link between those two occurrences has never been proven.