`Never Give Up Hope' in Serial Murders, Detectives Struggle against Long Odds

Article excerpt

It's been 10 years since someone murdered Angela Bugay.

The blonde 5-year-old disappeared just a few steps from her front door in Antioch, Calif., on Nov. 19, 1983. Her body was found in a shallow grave a week later. She had been sexually assaulted and asphyxiated.

The crime has never been solved.

"The investigation is still open and ongoing," said Sgt. Rick Marchoke, investigation unit supervisor of the Antioch Police Department. "We still get tips on it. There are a couple of people we have looked at. Nobody is excluded. We still consider everybody."

Antioch, population 46,000, is 45 miles east of San Francisco. It is 2,000 miles west of St. Louis. But in one sense, Antioch is much closer: in terms of child murder.

Angela Bugay's slaying serves as a reminder that the search for the killer or killers of St. Louisans Angie Marie Housman and Cassidy Senter may be a long or perhaps never-ending siege.

The 100-plus investigators with the St. Louis task force say they are confident, determined and enthusiastic about the investigation. But they also understand what they are up against.

The problem is just as Marchoke put it: Everybody must be considered.

Investigators track criminals by eliminating suspects from lists created by evidence and information from those connected to the victims. But when there are few clues and no witnesses, narrowing the list is much more difficult. When the victim appears to have been picked at random - as may be the case in the murders of Cassidy and Angie - the task becomes nearly impossible.

"If it's a random-type thing, yeah, they are tough," said James Nelson, the head of the St. Louis FBI office. But Nelson said it's not certain that the murder victims were picked at random. And he cannot say for sure that the killer of Cassidy and Angie is the same person.

Angie, 9, disappeared near her home in St. Ann after getting off a school bus Nov. 18. Her body was found by a deer hunter in St. Charles County on Nov. 27. Investigators have said the girl died "an extremely violent death."

Cassidy, 10, was abducted about a block from her home in north St. Louis County on the afternoon of Dec. 1. Her body was found dumped in St. Louis eight days later. She had been beaten on the head.

"It is not conclusive that it is the work of the same person, but there are a lot of striking similarities that (would suggest) it is the work of the same person," Nelson said.

The FBI's profile of the killer of both Angie and Cassidy is the same: a lone male 20-45 years old who has trouble relating with women and who may have recently encountered a stressful situation.

Marchoke, the Antioch police investigator, said officers still refer to that same generic FBI profile in the Bugay murder case and pick up on the arrest of every child-killer they can. …