During a five-month span in 1999, Cary Stayner killed four women near Yosemite National Park. Former FBI Agent Jeff Rinek was the agent who took Stayner’s shocking confession to the murders.
Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will interview Rinek, as well as former FBI Agent John Boles.
What should you know about Rinek? How did he pull out Stayner’s confession? Read on.
1. He Worked with the FBI for over 30 Years
Rinek worked with the FBI for over 30 years. During that time, he conducted investigations into matters involving crimes against children, behavioral science matters, violent sexual assault, child abduction and more.
As a Special Agent, according to FBI Retired Signature Directories, Rinek, “served as the primary coordinator for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) which is commonly referred to as Criminal Profiling. Jeff Rinek was certified as a Criminal Profiler. Additionally, he served as the primary coordinator for Crime Against Children, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP), and the Kidnapping Coordinator.”
2. He Is the Current Owner of Rinek and Associates
Rinek retired in 2006.
Today, he is the owner of Rinek and Associates, a private investigative and consulting business specializing in comprehensive investigations for both private and public entities.
His bio on FBI Retired Signature Directories reports that he is currently collaborating on a book depicting his life and accomplishments.
Rinek also finds time to work as an adjunct college professor at Folsom Lake College. According to his LinkedIn, he attended Albright College, where he earned his BA in History in 1974.
3. He Had Been Removed as Lead Agent on an Investigation of Three Yosemite Tourists Who Were Murdered in 1999
When Rinek got the call that he would have to spend a weekend investigating a man named Cary Stayner, a possible witness to a murder, he thought his career was near over.
According to the SF Gate, Yosemite was a “sore spot” for Rinek. Just months earlier, he had been removed as lead agent on an investigation of three Yosemite tourists who were murdered. Little did he know that these previous cases would be linked to the one he was about to investigate.
Rinek was 47 at the time, and according to the SF Gate, he planned on retiring within two years.
4. He Pulled the Confession out of Stayner
Then, one weekend, he was asked to pick up Cary Stayner and question him as a material witness to a murder. As the SF Gate points out, “It wasn’t Rinek’s case. His office just needed a driver.”
Rinek found Stayner eating at a nudist camp. They then brought him in for questioning. That’s when they discussed Stayner’s brother, Steven, who had been kidnapped by a child molester at 7-years-old. In his book, “In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent’s Relentless Pursuit of the Nation’s Worst Predators,” Rinek chronicles the interrogation with Stayner.
He writes, “It was just Stayner and me alone in that interview room and he had dropped a bombshell, claiming responsibility not just for the killing of Joie Armstrong but also for the murders of Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso.”
5. He Has Written a Book About Some of His Biggest Investigations Against Child Predators
Rinek has penned a book about some of his biggest investigations against child predators. It is titled, “In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent’s Relentless Pursuit of the Nation’s Worst Predators.”
In an excerpt about his interrogation with Stayner, Rinek writes:
I could feel anger rising up inside me. I had felt a bond of trust and empathy growing between Stayner and me. He had allowed me to glimpse some of both the pain and the ugliness roiling inside him and had made the decision to reveal to me the terrible secrets he had been carrying so I could stop him from killing again. By putting conditions on his confession now, I worried that Stayner’s motivation was not about “giving closure” and telling the truth because it was the right thing to do. Instead, it looked like he was seeing what he could get out of us—and not just something like a plea bargain, which would be understandable, but something so base and unspeakable even he couldn’t say the words.
He goes on to write what Stayner said that day, including telling statements like, “This is gonna be my last pizza,” and “Never got to see Star Wars.” Stayner even told Rinek, “I know they’re going to give me the death penalty.”