For two terrible years, young women kept vanishing across America. Their brutalised bodies were found days, weeks or years later. Some had been shot, others strangled or beaten to death. One had been buried alive.
But all had been sickeningly raped, sodomised and abused. Who was killing these innocents?
The answer, when it finally came, shocked everyone.
The killers were a husband and wife, who got their kicks raping and murdering together…
Gerald Gallego was born in July 1946. His mother, a prostitute, told him his father had died in an accident.
In truth, Gerald Snr, had died in the gas chamber when his son was 9.
He’d been sent to death row before Gerald was born, for murdering a police officer. By the time of his execution, he’d also beaten a prison guard to death.
Now Gerald Jr, following in his father’s footsteps, continued into a life of violence and crime.
Aside from a string of arrests and convictions, he’d outstanding warrants for rape and sodomy.
Still, by 32 he’d married several times, twice to the same woman.
Then, in 1997, he met Charlene.
Born to a respectable family, she’d a genius level IQ of 160. But she’d turned to drink, sex and drugs, and was now a twice-divorced dropout.
The smitten pair moved in together within a week. And Gerald Gallego shared his sexual fantasies…
Charlene later testified he described dreams of having a ‘sex slave’, and dreamt of ‘a place, possibly in the woods, a cellar or basement, where he could keep women and use them at his disposal.’
Charlene also had wild fantasies.
She was bisexual and the pair enjoyed threesomes with other women.
But when GeraldGallego found her having sex with another woman, without him, he was furious.
He beat her brutally. And afterwards, he was unable to perform in bed unless he was violent or sexually deviant.
Regardless, the depraved duo teamed up to lure innocent girls to be Gallego’s slaves. Charlene even dressed up as a teen to fool their innocent prey.
So in September 1978, Charlene enticed Rhonda Scheffler, 17, and Kippi Vaught, 16, into the couple’s van.
Delighted, Gerald raped and sodomised both girls – and forced them to perform sex acts on Charlene.
He then beat the girls with a tyre iron, shot them in the head and dumped their bodies.
Now joined in crime, Gerald and Charlene married just weeks after their grisly double murder.
And the next year they struck again.
In June 1979, they kidnapped Brenda Judd, 14, and Sandra Colley, 13, from a county fair.
Gerald raped the girls in the van while Charlene drove.
Then, parking in a remote area, Charlene molested the girls too, before Gerald killed them.
Next were Stacey Redican and Karen Chipman Twiggs, both 17 and lured from a shopping mall in April 1980.
The sick pair raped the girls, then Gerald Gallego beat them to death with a hammer.
Even after Charlene fell pregnant, the Gallegos kept killing.
Linda Aguilar, 21, was four months pregnant herself and hitch-hiking when they gave her a lift in June 1980.
Her body was found weeks later.
She’d been tied up, sexually abused, and beaten. Then, cruelly, buried alive.
In July 1980, the depraved Mr & Mrs kidnapped barmaid and mum-of-two Virginia Mochel, 34, from a car park.
After tying her up with fishing line, she was repeatedly sodomised and abused, even flogged with a rope, before Gerald strangled her.
In November 1980, they abducted Craig Miller, 22, and Beth Sowers, 21, who’d just left a university dance.
But the students’ friends were witnesses, and gave police the registration number and a description of the Gallegos.
Sadly, it didn’t save Craig and Mary.
Craig was found dead the following day. Mary wasn’t discovered until late November. She’d been shot three times, then dumped in a ditch.
But thanks to their friends, the evil serial killer couple were caught soon after.
At first, both denied everything.
But Charlene finally confessed and testified against her vile husband at the pair’s trial in 1983, in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Still pleading innocent, Gerald Gallego testified, ‘I can honestly tell you, and I’m not bragging, that if I’ve had problems with girls, it’s because I had too many.’
Convicted of multiple aggravated kidnappings, rapes and murders, he was sentenced to death.
Charlene, who received 16 years and eight months, was released in July 1997.
Gerald Gallego died in prison in July 2002, from rectal cancer.
To his last breath, he refused to confess.
‘I’ve never seen anything to equal his pure depravity,’ Judge Richard Wagner remembered.
A true monster.