Case 161

The Yosemite Sightseer Murders

*** Content Warning: child victims, sexual assault ***

[Part 2 of 2]

After the decapitated body of 26-year-old naturalist Joie Armstrong is found in Yosemite’s Foresta region, investigators are quick to deny that her murder is linked to that of Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso. But when suspicions are cast on a local maintenance worker, the investigation takes a shocking turn.



Casefile Presents



Research – Jessica Forsayeth

Writing – Elsha McGill 

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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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?



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



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 



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



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

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