Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor in Texas in 1943. After he suffered a nervous breakdown, he was medically discharged when the military psychiatrist diagnosed him with antisocial personality disorder.His father, Raoul Alcala Buquor, abandoned the family when he was young. In 1968, he graduated from the UCLA School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and later studied film under Roman Polanski (whose wife would later become a victim of the Manson Family) at New York University under the name "John Berger".
When they knocked on the door, he escaped out the back and evaded arrest. In 1971, Alcala is believed to have raped and strangled Cornelia Crilley, a Trans World Airlines flight attendant, in her Manhattan apartment.He was placed on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list. The same year, two children at the camp saw the FBI's Wanted poster and told the camp's staff about it.In 2003, while a third trial of Alcala was being planned, his DNA, which had been sampled during his time in prison, connected him to two other victims.In 2010, Alcala was tried for a total of five murders: Samsoe, Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted, Charlotte Lamb, and Jill Parenteau.When the FBI connected him to his old alias, they questioned him.
He confessed to knowing Hover but denied committing the murder.
He received indeterminate sentencing, which meant he would be released from incarceration when he proved himself rehabilitated (the system was popular in the 1970s when sex offenders were convicted).
After 34 months, in 1974, he was released and kidnapped a 13-year-old girl named as "Julie J." in court records, forced her to smoke marijuana and kissed her.
In December of 2012, he plead guilty to both murders.
On January 7 the following year, he was given another life sentence.
Earlier on the day of Samsoe's disappearance, Alcala had been seen trying to get her and one of her friends to get into swimsuits so he could take pictures of them but was chased away by a neighbor.