Angel Resendiz, The Railroad Killer In ‘Catching Killers’ Season 3, Explained: Is Resendiz Dead?


The third season of the docuseries Catching Killers once again makes us privy to criminals who were once dreaded by society and who became nightmares for the law enforcement authorities. The biggest problem that any police officer encounters is when the crime has no pattern. It is generally the case when the criminal is just killing people for his own sadistic pleasures without any motive whatsoever. When there is no probable cause behind a killing, there is no lead, and there is no link that can be established which could lead to the killer. So, let’s find out in this recap of the third season of Catching Killers Episode 1, how the Texas Rangers and the FBI caught hold of the Railroad killer and saved the society from the wrath of a madman.

Who Was The Railroad Killer?

In 1998, the state of Texas was shaken when a lot of people were murdered by a man for no rhyme or reason. It all started when Randy Kennedy, chief of police in Hughes Springs, Texas, got a call about a woman named Leafie Mason who had gone missing. Leafie was Randy’s friend, and her relatives were worried as she had to be at her sister’s house, but she hadn’t turned up and there was no communication from her end. Randy decided that he would go to Leafie’s house and check for himself if she was there or not. He never imagined that he would see Leafie in such a state. The poor woman was bludgeoned with a blunt instrument. There were marks on her entire body, and Randy couldn’t understand why anybody would murder Leafie, as she didn’t have any enemies and lived a very simple life. There were two unusual things that Randy Kennedy found in Leafie’s house: first, her identification card had been taken out of her wallet and kept out as if the murderer wanted everybody to know the feat he had achieved. The second amusing thing was that someone had eaten a meal and kept the plate in the wash basin with scraps of food left on it. Randy had a feeling that it was the perpetrator who had eaten the meal, but it was nerve-racking to imagine that after killing somebody in such a gruesome manner, the murderer would go to the kitchen and make food for himself. Randy knew that they were not dealing with a sane person and this man was not going to stop before killing many other innocent individuals for his own pleasure. 

The only piece of evidence that Randy got his hands on was the palm prints of the killer on the window glass. There was a railway track running near Leafie’s house, and Randy had a hunch that the killer was making use of the trains to commute. Kennedy circulated the information about the killer in all the local police stations so that if anybody had come across a similar MO, they would find some more evidence and get closer to catching the killer. Luckily, Randy was contacted by Ken Macha from West University Place, and he told him that a woman named Dr. Benton had been murdered in a similar manner. In Dr. Benton’s case as well, the identification card was kept in such a manner that everybody could see it; somebody had eaten food in the kitchen, and the weapon was once again a blunt instrument. There were fingerprints recovered from Dr. Benton’s house, and when they were run in the database, a match was found. The fingerprints belonged to a guy named Rafael Resendez Ramirez. The problem was that this man had no permanent address, and looking for him was like finding a needle in a haystack. The man could be anywhere, and the main thing was that he was murdered without any motive. His victims were not his enemies, and in fact, Randy knew that he just killed for pleasure. He traveled by train, so it was not even like he was operating in a specific area. He could be anywhere, and there was no pattern that could be ascertained by the police officers.

How Did The Railroad Killer Get Caught?

By the time the law enforcement authorities found Rafael Resendez, he had made nine more people his victims. After killing Dr. Benton, he went to Weimar Texas and killed a pastor and his wife with a sledgehammer. The railroad killer used to sexually abuse the women before he killed them, and the officers figured that the DNA evidence left at the pastor’s house matched the one at Dr. Benton’s. Drew Carter, a Texas ranger, was called to take charge of matters in Catching Killers, episode 1, and even the FBI was looped in eventually because the case had garnered a lot of media coverage nationally. Thomas McClenaghan, from the FBI, knew that there would be a clash of egos as the Texas Rangers were not used to taking orders, and asking them to lead an investigation in a particular manner was going to be an uphill task. So, Thomas McClenaghan asked one of his agents, Kimberley Barkhausen, to work with Carter on the case.

Thomas knew that finding a person who was just wandering from one place to another with a sledgehammer in hand without any sort of motive was going to be an impossible task. He knew that it wasn’t the time for conflict, and they had to act together to find the railroad killer. Thomas made sure that the entire country knew about this madman, and apart from printing his photo in every newspaper, he also got more than 40000 flyers printed with the description of the railroad killer so that if anybody had any kind of information about him, they would give it to their local police station. There was a lot of fear among the people because, for this man, killing was a game, and he was having a lot of fun in the process. He murdered a woman named Josephine Konvicka, and in a matter of hours, he went on to murder another woman by the name of Noemi Dominguez. The RailRoad killer left clues on the crime scene as if he was telling the law enforcement authorities to catch him if they could.

In Catching Killers, episode 1, Drew Carter went on the controversial America’s Most Wanted show because he thought that if the profile of the criminal was circulated among the masses, they might get hold of someone who knew something about this man. Fortunately, they struck gold. A woman named Lupe called and told them that Rafael Resendez-Ramirez was her cousin and that his real name was Angel Resendiz. She said that he had a sister named Manuela, who lived in Albuquerque. Drew and Kimberley went to meet Manuela, and she told them that she didn’t have any clue where her brother was. Drew told her that he would try to contact her, now that he had nowhere else to go.

Meanwhile, there was another double murder in Gorham, Illinois. One day, Angel called his sister Manuela and told her that he was tired of running and he wanted to surrender. The man showed no remorse even after brutally killing so many innocent people. He said he was just bored and tired of running from one place to another, and had the FBI and the Texas Rangers not launched such a big manhunt, he would have kept doing what he did. The case was amusing because a reality show had helped the officers catch the killer, and though Drew Carter was criticized for going on the show, it turned out that he did the right thing. Angel Resendiz confessed to killing more than nine people, and after being convicted of capital murder, he was finally executed by lethal injection in 2006.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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