Case 161

The Yosemite Sightseer Murders

(Part 1)

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Case 161

The Yosemite Sightseer Murders

(Part 1)

[Part 1 of 2]

In early 1998, three tourists were sound asleep at the Cedar Lodge hotel near California’s Yosemite National Park. At around 2 am, they woke to the sound of something rattling. It wasn’t particularly loud, but the hotel’s remote setting, surrounded by acres of woodland, meant that even quiet noises could cut through the silence like a buzzsaw.

They quickly realised that the rattling was coming from the front door of their room just a few feet away. Someone was fiddling with the handle from the outside, trying to get in. One occupant cried out in a panic before calling the front desk. She informed the hotel staff that someone was breaking into their room. But by this point, the rattling had stopped. If someone had indeed tried to break in, they were gone by the time security was notified.

The hotel’s maintenance man checked the door. The lock appeared untouched and was still fully functional, which put the women at ease…

________

Our episodes deal with serious and often distressing incidents. If you feel at anytime you need support, please contact your local crisis centre. Some suggestions for confidential support for men, women and children:

 

AUSTRALIA:

Lifeline Crisis Support: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: Depression and anxiety support: 1300 22 46 36

Rape & Domestic Violence Services: 1800 737 732

Men's Line: 1300 78 99 78

Headspace: Youth Mental Health Foundation: see headspace.org.au for your local centre

 

USA:

Distress &  Lifeline: 1800 273 8255

Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741 741

Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 799 7233

Victim Connect: support for victims of crime: 855 484 2846

MTC program: maketheconnection.net/resources/spread-the-word

 

UK:

Mind: mental health support: 0300 123 3393

SANE: mental health support: 0300 304 7000

Samaritans support network: 116 123

National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300

 

CANADA:

For a list of Canadian crisis centres: https://thelifelinecanada.ca/help/call/

 

NEW ZEALAND:

Lifeline: 0800 543354

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (Text 4202)

CREDITS

 

Casefile Presents

 

NARRATION:

Episode narrated by the Anonymous Host

 

EPISODE:

Episode researched by Jessica Forsayeth

Episode written by Elsha McGill 

Creative director: Milly Raso

 

MUSIC:

‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro www.dl-sounds.com

All other music and audio clean up performed by Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn 

 

OTHER:

Logo design by Paulina Szymanska 

 

RESOURCES

 

WEBSITES:

Yosemite Lodging

Yosemite National Park – Wikipedia

Yosemite Armstrong Scholars 

Capital Punishment in California – Wikipedia

Death Penalty in California 

Death Row at San Quentin State Prison

Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders?

 

NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES:

Searchers looking for 3 missing on trip to Yosemite – The San Francisco Bee

They vanish near Yosemite The San Francisco Examiner

Missing woman’s ID, wallet are found; but no sign of her or teenage girls – The Sacramento Bee 

Lost trio’s family wait, worry The San Francisco Examiner 

FBI shifts focus of search for trio missing from Yosemite trip – The Los Angeles Times 

Missing trio left clues at restaurant – The San Francisco Examiner 

Missing sightseers probably dead, FBI agent says – The Los Angeles Times 

Baffled FBI taps victim profiles in search – The Sacramento Bee 

Father recounts nightmare of a family vanished – The San Francisco Examiner 

Mixed messages in missing case – The San Francisco Examiner

Two bodies found in trunk of trio’s car – The Sacramento Bee 

1 body in burned car was mother – The Sacramento Bee 

Families shaken as police ID bodies – The San Francisco Examiner 

$50,000 reward paid for finding lost trio’s car – The San Francisco Chronicle  

A mother and daughter who made a difference – The Los Angeles Times 

Man found dead in river knew Modesto man grilled in 3 killings – The San Francisco Bee 

Donated jet to take Pelosso’s body home – The San Francisco Examiner 

For many in Argentina, a dream died with teen – The Sacramento Bee 

Murder victim Silvina Pelosso finally buried – The San Francisco Examiner

Man’s death may be tied to slayings – The San Francisco Examiner

Sightseers probe target meth users – The Hanford Sentinel 

Drug use complicates Yosemite killing probe – The Sacramento Bee 

Man denies role in killing of sightseers – The Tulare Advance-Register

Yosemite Killings: Sunds, Carringtons cope with loss – The Hanford Sentinel 

Yosemite naturalist found beheaded – The San Francisco Examiner 

Officials: Yosemite deaths are unrelated – The Sacramento Bee 

Yosemite slaying: Handyman in custody – The San Francisco Examiner 

FBI: Suspect in naturalist’s killing also linked to Yosemite trio homicides – The San Francisco Examiner

Confession in Yosemite killings – The Sacramento Bee 

Slain naturalist’s family visits cabin – The San Francisco Examiner  

False confessor voices regret – The San Francisco Examiner 

Stayner: not guilty plea in Yosemite beheading – The San Francisco Examiner  

Stayner offers apology to families of victims – The Sacramento Bee 

How Yosemite probe went wrong – The Sacramento Bee 

Jailed parolee’s father says FBI owes family apology – The Lompoc Record

Yosemite suspect calls Leeza – The Santa Cruz Sentinel

Lodge sued over sightseer deaths – The Hanford Sentinel

Execution sought in Yosemite Slaying – The San Francisco Examiner

Investigators seize letters written by Cary Stayner and his pen pal – The Tulare Advance-Register 

A living memorial – The Los Angeles Times 

Yosemite killer apologises, gets life sentence – The Signal 

Capital’s FBI chief removed from post – The Sacramento Bee 

Fourth slaying jolted cabbie – The Sacramento Bee 

Family finds evil truth at hearing – The Sacramento Bee 

Jury selection begins in Cary Stayner trial – The Californian

Horrific Stayner evidence – The San Francisco Examiner

Yosemite killer demanded child porn before confessing – The Visalia Times-Delta

Expert says Yosemite killer has deformed brain – The Hanford Sentinel

Psychologist says Stayner is highly psychotic – The Hanford Sentinel

Stayner’s attorney blames mental illness The Californian 

Jurors to determine sanity of convicted Yosemite killer – The Californian  

Friend pleads in court for Cary Stayner’s life – The Sacramento Bee  

Stayner jury urges death – The Sacramento Bee

 

ONLINE ARTICLES:

Overshadowed all his life/low-key Cary Stayner took back seat to kidnapped brother – SF Gate  

A shade of his brother – Time Magazine 

A voice in the dark – Esquire 

 

BOOKS:

I know my first name is Steven – Mike Echols

In the name of the children: An FBI agent’s relentless pursuit of the nation’s worst predators – Jeffrey L. Rinek and Marilee Strong

 

VIDEOS:

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 1 – Two brothers tied to Yosemite, one a hero, the other a monster 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 2 – Steven Stayner’s abduction changes family’s life forever

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 5 – Mother, two teens’ 1999 disappearance near Yosemite leads to massive search

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 6 – After third Yosemite victim is found, suspected killers are apprehended  

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 7 – The Yosemite serial killer claims his fourth victim 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 8 – FBI finds Cary Stayner has fled to a nudist colony 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 9 – Cary Stayner confesses killing innocent women 

The story of Cary Stayner

 

THIS EPISODE’S SPONSORS

 

FightCamp – Try FightCamp for 30 days

DoorDash – Get 25% off and FREE delivery for your first order with promo code ‘FILES’

Feals – Become a member and get 50% off and free shipping for your first order

BetterHelp – Get 10% off your first month of professional counselling with a licensed therapist

Quip – Get your first refill pack FREE with a QUIP electric toothbrush

Listen On

[Part 1 of 2]

In early 1998, three tourists were sound asleep at the Cedar Lodge hotel near California’s Yosemite National Park. At around 2 am, they woke to the sound of something rattling. It wasn’t particularly loud, but the hotel’s remote setting, surrounded by acres of woodland, meant that even quiet noises could cut through the silence like a buzzsaw.

They quickly realised that the rattling was coming from the front door of their room just a few feet away. Someone was fiddling with the handle from the outside, trying to get in. One occupant cried out in a panic before calling the front desk. She informed the hotel staff that someone was breaking into their room. But by this point, the rattling had stopped. If someone had indeed tried to break in, they were gone by the time security was notified.

The hotel’s maintenance man checked the door. The lock appeared untouched and was still fully functional, which put the women at ease…

______

Our episodes deal with serious and often distressing incidents. If you feel at anytime you need support, please contact your local crisis centre. Some suggestions for confidential support for men, women and children:

 

AUSTRALIA:

Lifeline Crisis Support: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: Depression and anxiety support: 1300 22 46 36

Rape & Domestic Violence Services: 1800 737 732

Men's Line:  1300 78 99 78

Headspace: Youth Mental Health Foundation: see headspace.org.au for your local centre

 

USA:

Distress &  Lifeline: 1800 273 8255

Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741 741

Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 799 7233

Victim Connect: support for victims of crime: 855 484 2846

 

UK:

Mind: mental health support: 0300 123 3393

SANE: mental health support: 0300 304 7000

Samaritans support network: 116 123

National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300

 

CANADA:

For a list of Canadian crisis centres: https://thelifelinecanada.ca/help/call

 

NEW ZEALAND:

Lifeline: 0800 543354

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (Text 4202)

CREDITS

 

Casefile Presents

 

NARRATION:

Episode narrated by the Anonymous Host

 

EPISODE:

Episode researched by Jessica Forsayeth

Episode written by Elsha McGill 

Creative director: Milly Raso

 

MUSIC:

‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro www.dl-sounds.com

All other music and audio clean up performed by Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn 

 

OTHER:

Logo design by Paulina Szymanska 

 

RESOURCES

 

WEBSITES:

Yosemite Lodging

Yosemite National Park – Wikipedia

Yosemite Armstrong Scholars 

Capital Punishment in California – Wikipedia

Death Penalty in California 

Death Row at San Quentin State Prison

Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders?

 

NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES:

Searchers looking for 3 missing on trip to Yosemite – The San Francisco Bee

They vanish near Yosemite The San Francisco Examiner

Missing woman’s ID, wallet are found; but no sign of her or teenage girls – The Sacramento Bee 

Lost trio’s family wait, worry The San Francisco Examiner 

FBI shifts focus of search for trio missing from Yosemite trip – The Los Angeles Times 

Missing trio left clues at restaurant – The San Francisco Examiner 

Missing sightseers probably dead, FBI agent says – The Los Angeles Times 

Baffled FBI taps victim profiles in search – The Sacramento Bee 

Father recounts nightmare of a family vanished – The San Francisco Examiner 

Mixed messages in missing case – The San Francisco Examiner

Two bodies found in trunk of trio’s car – The Sacramento Bee 

1 body in burned car was mother – The Sacramento Bee 

Families shaken as police ID bodies – The San Francisco Examiner 

$50,000 reward paid for finding lost trio’s car – The San Francisco Chronicle  

A mother and daughter who made a difference – The Los Angeles Times 

Man found dead in river knew Modesto man grilled in 3 killings – The San Francisco Bee 

Donated jet to take Pelosso’s body home – The San Francisco Examiner 

For many in Argentina, a dream died with teen – The Sacramento Bee 

Murder victim Silvina Pelosso finally buried – The San Francisco Examiner

Man’s death may be tied to slayings – The San Francisco Examiner

Sightseers probe target meth users – The Hanford Sentinel 

Drug use complicates Yosemite killing probe – The Sacramento Bee 

Man denies role in killing of sightseers – The Tulare Advance-Register

Yosemite Killings: Sunds, Carringtons cope with loss – The Hanford Sentinel 

Yosemite naturalist found beheaded – The San Francisco Examiner 

Officials: Yosemite deaths are unrelated – The Sacramento Bee 

Yosemite slaying: Handyman in custody – The San Francisco Examiner 

FBI: Suspect in naturalist’s killing also linked to Yosemite trio homicides – The San Francisco Examiner

Confession in Yosemite killings – The Sacramento Bee 

Slain naturalist’s family visits cabin – The San Francisco Examiner  

False confessor voices regret – The San Francisco Examiner 

Stayner: not guilty plea in Yosemite beheading – The San Francisco Examiner  

Stayner offers apology to families of victims – The Sacramento Bee 

How Yosemite probe went wrong – The Sacramento Bee 

Jailed parolee’s father says FBI owes family apology – The Lompoc Record

Yosemite suspect calls Leeza – The Santa Cruz Sentinel

Lodge sued over sightseer deaths – The Hanford Sentinel

Execution sought in Yosemite Slaying – The San Francisco Examiner

Investigators seize letters written by Cary Stayner and his pen pal – The Tulare Advance-Register 

A living memorial – The Los Angeles Times 

Yosemite killer apologises, gets life sentence – The Signal 

Capital’s FBI chief removed from post – The Sacramento Bee 

Fourth slaying jolted cabbie – The Sacramento Bee 

Family finds evil truth at hearing – The Sacramento Bee 

Jury selection begins in Cary Stayner trial – The Californian

Horrific Stayner evidence – The San Francisco Examiner

Yosemite killer demanded child porn before confessing – The Visalia Times-Delta

Expert says Yosemite killer has deformed brain – The Hanford Sentinel

Psychologist says Stayner is highly psychotic – The Hanford Sentinel

Stayner’s attorney blames mental illness The Californian 

Jurors to determine sanity of convicted Yosemite killer – The Californian  

Friend pleads in court for Cary Stayner’s life – The Sacramento Bee  

Stayner jury urges death – The Sacramento Bee

 

ONLINE ARTICLES:

Overshadowed all his life/low-key Cary Stayner took back seat to kidnapped brother – SF Gate  

A shade of his brother – Time Magazine 

A voice in the dark – Esquire 

 

BOOKS:

I know my first name is Steven – Mike Echols

In the name of the children: An FBI agent’s relentless pursuit of the nation’s worst predators – Jeffrey L. Rinek and Marilee Strong

 

VIDEOS:

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 1 – Two brothers tied to Yosemite, one a hero, the other a monster 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 2 – Steven Stayner’s abduction changes family’s life forever

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 5 – Mother, two teens’ 1999 disappearance near Yosemite leads to massive search

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 6 – After third Yosemite victim is found, suspected killers are apprehended  

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 7 – The Yosemite serial killer claims his fourth victim 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 8 – FBI finds Cary Stayner has fled to a nudist colony 

20/20 Evil in Eden, Pt 9 – Cary Stayner confesses killing innocent women 

The story of Cary Stayner

 

THIS EPISODE’S SPONSORS

 

FightCamp – Try FightCamp for 30 days

DoorDash – Get 25% off and FREE delivery for your first order with promo code ‘FILES’

Feals – Become a member and get 50% off and free shipping for your first order

BetterHelp – Get 10% off your first month of professional counselling with a licensed therapist

Quip – Get your first refill pack FREE with a QUIP electric toothbrush

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