Hot topics close

Who was Richard Ramirez - the true story behind new Netflix series Night Stalker

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer is now available to stream on Netflix

A brand new crime series was released on Netflix earlier today.

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer is a four-episode docu-series following the violent killing spree of murderer Richard Ramirez.

Rated certificate 18 on the streaming site, the dark Netflix Original follows detectives Gil Carrillo and Frank Salerno as they connect a series of murders, rapes and kidnappings occurring in 1985 LA.

During the hunt for Ramirez, the number of his victims rises rapidly, an impounded vehicle leads to a possible break-through, and a missed opportunity to catch the killer leaves the detectives frustrated.

But in the final episode of the docu-series, it's the public who rise up and stop the Night Stalker's reign of terror.

Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles

TV shows and documentary series about real-life serial killers are hugely popular with Netflix viewers.

But before the release of Night Stalker, Ramirez was largely unknown to the British public.

Who was Richard Ramirez?

Born in 1960, Ricardo Leyva Munoz Ramirez was an American serial killer who murdered 14 people and raped and tortured dozens more.

He was dubbed 'Night Stalker' by the press following his violent murder spree, which occurred in Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

In his early life, Ramirez, the son of two Mexican immigrants, grew up in El Paso, Texas, in a reportedly abusive household at the hands of his father.

He was heavily influenced by his older cousin, Miguel, who had returned from fighting in the Vietnam War with stories and photographs of torture and human mutilation.

Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles

Miguel went on to murder his wife, with Ramirez present at the scene of the crime.

Dropping out of school, he moved to California, developed a drug habit, discovered an interest in Satanism and was involved in a string of thefts.

Thefts developed into the violent murders, tortures and rapes that cemented Richard Ramirez's place as one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.

Who were his victims?

Ramirez had 14 known victims.

His first murder of nine-year-old Mei Leung was not initially connected to his 'Night Stalker' killing spree.

April 1984: Mei Leung, nine, was raped and stabbed in the hotel where Ramirez was living.

June 1984: Jennie Vincow, 79, was stabbed during the burglary of her apartment.

March 17, 1985: Dale Okazasi, 34, was shot dead during a burglary of her condominium.

March 17, 1985: Tsai-Lian Yu, 30, was shot after being dragged from a car.

March 27, 1985: Vincent Zazzara, 64, and his wife, Maxine Zazzara, were both beaten and stabbed to death during a burglary.

May 14, 1985: William Doi, 65, was shot to death during a burglary of his house.

May 29, 1985: Mabel Bell, 84, was shot to death during a burglary of her home.

July 2, 1985: Mary Louise Cannon, 77, had her throat cut during a burglary of her home.

July 7, 1985: Joyce Lucille Nelson, 61, was beaten to death during a burglary of her home.

July 20, 1985: Maxon Kneiding, 68, and his wife, Lela, 66, were both shot to death during a burglary of their home.

July 20, 1985: Chainarong Khovananth, was shot to death during a burglary of his house - his family was also assaulted during the burglary.

August 8, 1985: Elyas Abowath, 31, was shot and killed during a burglary.

Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles How did he get caught?

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the documentary yet and want to wait to find out how Ramirez was brought to justice, look away now.

The public were largely responsible for the capture of Richard Ramirez.

With Ramirez covered extensively in the press for months, on August 30, 1985, a group of elderly Mexican women spotted the murderer in Los Angeles.

They shouted 'El Matador' ('the killer' in English) to alert others and Ramirez ran off in a panic.

He attempted several carjackings as he tried to escape but failed as he was pursued by bystanders.

Eventually, a mob of local residents caught up with the killer, striking him over the head with a metal bar and beating him until the police arrived to arrest him.

His trial began in 1988 and in 1989, Ramirez was convicted of all charges including 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries.

He was sentenced to death in California's gas chamber but died a death-row inmate, in hospital, aged 53, from health complications as he awaited his execution.

You can stream the limited four-episode docu-series on Netflix now

Similar news
  • Netflix's Richard Ramirez documentary The Night Stalker doesn't tell you everything
  • Richard Ramirez victims list: How many people the Night Stalker serial killer murdered, and how he was caught
  • Night Stalker on Netflix: What have survivors of Richard Ramirez revealed?
  • Learn more about serial killer Richard Ramirez on these podcasts after watching Night Stalker
  • Night Stalker review: This true crime series is neither tasteful nor compelling
This week's most popular news