“He’s the nicest person you’d ever want to meet”
Altemio Sanchez’s reign of terror lasted a quarter of a century, during which time it is thought that he murdered three women and raped around a dozen more in and around Buffalo, New York. Born on 19 January 1958, in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, one of four children, he became known as the “Bike Path Rapist” because he attacked many of his victims around remote bicycle lanes.
On 29 September 1990 he killed his first victim. Californian Linda Yalem, 22, was a student at the State University at Buffalo when Sanchez murdered her as she was jogging off the Ellicott Creek bicycle path. It was more than two years before his second murder. He strangled Majane Mazur, a 32-year-old prostitute, whose body was found in a field near some railroad tracks in November 1992 and then, 14 years later, killed Joan Diver, a nurse and a mother of four, on 29 September 2006.
Two days later her corpse was found on a cycle track in Newstead, New York. Miss Diver was the only one of his victims that Sanchez did not rape. Sanchez, a father of two young sons who lived on Allendale Street in Cheektowaga, was caught only through a lucky break. In 1985 schizophrenic Anthony Capozzi was jailed for a rape committed by Sanchez. It was 22 years before he would be released and that was only when a policeman followed up a statement from a woman who had been raped in 1981. Two years later, she saw her rapist and noted his car registration number. When the police questioned the owner, he was able to provide an alibi.
When the police questioned him again more than 20 years later he confessed that he was not driving the car that day and had lent it to his nephew —Altemio Sanchez.
Buffalo, New York, USA
1981—Friday 29 September 2006
The police arrested Sanchez on 15 January 2007 and charged him with murder. On 16 May Sanchez pleaded guilty to three murders. He was sentenced to 75 years in prison on 15 August 2007.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
One of his neighbours, Jerry Donohue, said, “The scary part is, he’s the nicest person you’d ever want to meet. This is what’s so upsetting. He never made any sexual remarks about a woman, never swore. You’d go to his parties and have a beer or two with him.