In 1999, Cary A. Stayner took the lives of three women in Mariposa County near Yosemite, California.
The names of his victims were Carole Sund, 42, her daughter, Julie Sund, 15, and Juli’s friend, Silvina Pelosso, 16. Stayner posed as a maintenance man and convinced them to let him into their room in order to commit the gruesome acts.
For weeks, hundreds of FBI agents and California Highway Patrol officers attempted to locate the three missing women.
Carole Sund and Pelosso were eventually found in the trunk of Carole’s Pontiac rental car; reports indicate they were beyond recognition. A note was later sent to the police that indicated the location of Juli.
When Stayner detailed the murders in court in 2001, he addressed the room, saying, “I am a desperate man.”
The outlet goes on to outline the horrific details of the deaths. “Juli Sund, according to the tape-recorded confession played during the third day of Stayner’s preliminary hearing here, endured a night of terror and sexual assault after her mother and friend were slain and before she herself was tossed dead on a hillside above Lake Don Pedro.” According to the San Francisco Gate, once he disposed of Carole Sund in the trunk of his car, Stayner “ripped the clothes off the teenagers and sexually tortured and assaulted them for some time, including trying to get them to perform sex acts on each other.”
According to the SF Gate, Stayner’s statements in court “sent Pelosso’s father into a rage.”
The Murder of Joie Armstrong
Stayner was also responsible for the death of National Park Service naturalist Joie Armstrong.
Armstrong, 26 in the summer of 1999, was reported missing by her friends and was later found decapitated in the park. She was described by friends and families as an “ebullient” young woman.
Describing how he came across Joie, Stayner said during his taped confession, “I was just over there throwing rocks in the creek and just happened to notice her walk out again and again. It seemed like she was alone.”
ABC News writes, “He held her at gunpoint in her cabin as he bound her with duct tape and then forced her into his car. As he was driving, he said, she fell through the window of the vehicle and started running. Cary Stayner caught up with her and slit her throat.”
It was Stayner’s car that gave him away. After the death of Armstrong, FBI agents were told that eyewitnesses saw a blue 1979 International Scout parked outside the cabin she was staying in. That car was eventually traced back to Stayner. As story has it, Stayner was eating lunch at Laguna Del Sol, a “clothing optional” resort near Sacramento, when police tracked him down and took him into custody. There, he confessed to the murders of Armstrong, Carole and Juli Sund, and Silvina Pelosso.
Today, Stayner remains on death row in San Quentin Penitentiary in California.
Be sure to learn more about Stayner and his crimes on tonight’s episode of ABC News’ 20/20.