In Anaheim, California police say two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock. However, last fall, Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, went on a raping and killing spree.
The duo has been connected to the deaths of four women, and possibly a fifth victim, in the notorious prostitution hangouts of Orange County.
It was data from their GPS trackers — along with cellphone records from the victims and other evidence — that helped investigators link them to the killings, police said.
“That was one of the investigative tools we used to put the case together,” Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said at a news conference Monday.
Cano and Gordon were arrested by investigators on Friday. Both men were charged Monday with four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of rape.
While out on parole, police believe the men killed three women in Santa Ana last October and November and another woman in Anaheim earlier this year. All had histories of prostitution.
Quezada said authorities were confident that there was at least a fifth victim and perhaps more.
Investigators “put a stop to a serial killing that would likely have continued beyond this point,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
“If convicted, they face life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty,” Rackauckas said. “Our hearts go out to the victims in this case,” Rackauckas said. “Certainly, the families are all very distraught and concerned.”
A woman in an area of Santa Ana known for prostitution told NBC4’s Gadi Schwartz that she recognized Gordon, and that he was known to offer women rides in an RV where they could get high on crack cocaine.
“He was always offering rides,” said an unidentified woman. “In a safe place, that’s priceless for some of these girls out here.”
“I’m shocked that it was this guy,” she exclaimed.