Real Name: Ricardo Caputo
Aliases: Ricardo Diaz
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: 1977
Details: Richard Caputo is known for attracting and then killing the women he draws into his life. His first known victim was his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Natalie Brown. The two had been dating for over a year and had talked about getting married. On the night of July 31, 1971, he murdered her at her parent's home in Flower Hill, New York. After stabbing Natalie to death, Caputo called the police to report the crime. After his arrest, authorities learned that he was from Argentina and had been treated there for mental illness before arriving in the United States in 1970. After a mental health examination, he was declared not mentally fit to stand trial. As a result, he was sent to the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
While in the asylum, he met twenty-six-year-old psychologist Judith Becker, and the two became friends. In 1973, he was transferred to a minimum security asylum, which allowed Caputo to leave the facility during the day. As a result, Judith and Caputo began spending time together outside of the facility. She even introduced him to her family, but claimed that the two worked together at the facility. Then, on October 21, 1974, Judith's parents went to her home after not hearing from her for several hours. Her parents then found her strangled to death in her bedroom. After Caputo murdered Judith, he took her car and money and fled the area.
In 1975, he arrived in San Francisco and began dating twenty-eight-year-old book editor Barbara Ann Taylor. At some point, the two went on a romantic getaway to Yosemite. Then, on March 31, 1975, she was found beaten to death in her apartment. Caputo's fingerprints were found at the crime scene. By the time her body was discovered, Caputo had fled the area.
Then, just five days later, Caputo was found in El Paso, Texas, by immigration officials; however, he was calling himself Ricardo Diaz. He was held in an immigration detention center and on April 7, 1975, he and two other detainees took a guard hostage. The men stole a car and fled to Mexico. The other men were arrested, but Caputo escaped and fled to Mexico City.
In 1975, he moved in with a twenty-one-year-old college student named Laura Marie Gomez. Two years later, on October 3, 1977, he tortured and beat Laura to death. At autopsy, it was discovered that Laura was two months pregnant; it is assumed that Caputo was the father.
Although he has not been seen since 1977, some believe that Caputo has killed others. He is suspected in the murder of sixty-three-year-old author Jacqueline "Jacqui" Bernard, who was found dead in her Manhattan, New York apartment on August 2, 1983. On January 22, 1985, a private investigator hired by Jacqueline's family received an anonymous phone call claiming that Jacqueline's killer was Caputo. The caller also claimed that Caputo had bragged about killing several other women and some men. The landlord for Jacqueline's apartment identified Caputo as a man seen attempting to break into her apartment. However, authorities have yet to conclusively connect Caputo to Jacqueline's murder.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the December 12, 1990 episode. It was also featured on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. Caputo turned himself in to police in March of 1994, claiming that his victims were haunting him and that he feared he would kill again. During his time on the run, Caputo had married twice and had traveled throughout Central and South America. He pleaded guilty to Natalie and Judith's murders and was sentenced to 25 years to life. He also confessed to Barbara and Laura's murders. In October of 1997, while playing in the prison courtyard, he died of a heart attack; he was forty-eight.
Along with the murder of Jacqueline Bernard, Caputo is suspected in the 1981 murder of Devon Green from Los Angeles, California. A coworker of Devon recognized Caputo as a man who had worked with them at a restaurant shortly before Devon's death. However, Caputo was never officially deemed responsible for Devon or Jacquelines' murders.
- Ricardo Caputo at Wikipedia
- Ricardo Caputo at Murderpedia
- After 20 Years of False Identities, Man Admits to 3 Killings
- Ex-Fugitive Pleads Guilty in a 1971 Killing
- Amorous murderer put away
- L.I. Killer Faces New Rap
- Argentine admits killing psychologist
- Serial killer confesses to '74 Yonkers killing
- Admitted serial killer given the max
- Trying to Pierce the Veil of a Serial Killer
- Ricardo Caputo at Find a Grave