San Francisco police revealed Thursday that a sixth victim may be linked to the 1970s serial killer who targeted the city's gay community and doubled reward money in hope of ramping up efforts to solve the decades-old cold case.
The "Doodler" had been suspected in at least five homicides of gay white men from January 1974 to June 1975, police said in 2019. But police said Thursday that a potential sixth victim has been tied to the killer, exactly 48 years after the first victim was killed.
The possibility of a sixth victim was raised in a series in the San Francisco Chronicle last year, which followed cold case detectives Dan Cunningham and Dan Dedet as they investigated the death of Warren Andrews. The department confirmed that it now believes Andrews is connected to the serial killer case.
"On April 27, 1975, Andrews was a victim of an assault at Land’s End," the department said in a release. "Andrews was found unconscious and never regained consciousness dying several weeks later."
Investigators have spent years trying to identify the killer, who they believe targeted men at gay clubs and restaurants around San Francisco and often had sex with them before he attacked them. Four bodies were found around Ocean Beach, and a fifth was found at Golden Gate Park.
Andrews was attacked near Lands End, a popular hiking spot north of Golden Gate Park about a 1.5-mile walk north from Ocean Beach.
But while the other victims were stabbed to death, Andrews was bludgeoned with a rock and a tree branch.
Cunningham told the Chronicle that he had to reconsider Andrews' murder as part of the case given the location, "the victimology" and the time period.
"I’d be a fool not to consider him as a Doodler victim," he said.
Two years ago, San Francisco police released a sketch of what authorities believe the killer would look like after having been aged 40 years. A suspect has never been charged in the case, although someone was detained in 1976 in connection with the murders.
The sketch is based on the original descriptions given by two white men who survived assaults in July 1975, both stabbed with knives and injured in a similar manner to the victims.
Authorities dubbed the suspect the "Doodler" after a surviving victim told police that he was drawing caricatures on a paper while the two spoke in an all-night truck stop diner. He had told the victim that he was a cartoonist, the victim said.
"The SFPD has increased the reward from $100,000 to $200,000 for information leading to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of the serial homicide suspect," police said in the Thursday statement.