Mack Ray Edwards was born in Arkansas. He moved to Los Angeles County in 1941. As a heavy equipment operator contracted by Caltrans, he worked on freeways. The body of one of his victims was found underneath the Santa Ana Freeway, and he claimed to have disposed another of his victims under the Ventura Freeway. Edwards killed three children from 1953 to 1956, and three more in 1968 and 1969. In 1970 Edwards and a teenage male accomplice kidnapped three girls from their home in Sylmar. When the girls escaped, Edwards surrendered to police and confessed to molesting and murdering six children. After three bodies were recovered, Edwards pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and was sentenced to death. On 30 October 1971, following two unsuccessful attempts, Edwards was successful in committing suicide by hanging himself with a television cord in his cell in San Quentin State Prison.
Edwards may have committed other murders, but his own account was inconsistent: while in prison he claimed to have killed 18 children, but in an interview with the Los Angeles Times he said the number was only six. The twelve-year interval between the disappearance of Baker and Howell, and the shooting of Rochet, led investigators to suspect Edwards may have committed similar crimes during that time.
As of March 2007, the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating the possibility of Edwards’ involvement in the disappearance of Thomas Eldon Bowman, 8, of Redondo Beach, California, who disappeared in Pasadena, California on 23 March 1957. Author G. Weston DeWalt was researching the Bowman disappearance when he noticed the similarity between a photo of Edwards and a sketch of Bowman’s abductor. DeWalt was later shown a letter which Edwards had written to his wife in which he states that he “left out” Thomas Bowman from his confession to police. Edwards is also considered a suspect in the disappearances of Bruce Kremen of Granada Hills and Karen Lynn Tompkins and Dorothy Gale Brown of Torrance, California. Kremen, 6, disappeared from a YMCA camp in Angeles National Forest on 12 July 1960. Tompkins, 11, disappeared on 18 August 1961. Dorothy Gale Brown, 11, disappeared on 3 July 1962. Her body was recovered from the ocean at Corona del Mar, Newport Beach; she had been molested and drowned.
On 15 June 2011, the Santa Barbara, California Police Department announced plans to search the area near a Goleta freeway overpass that was under renovation, looking for the remains of Ramona Price, a 7-year-old girl who disappeared in August 1961. The police did not announce at that time what evidence led them to believe Price’s remains may be buried there, but local news reports suggested a possible link to Edwards. On 16 June 2011, local media reported that four teams of cadaver dogs had alerted on the same “area of interest” at the site, but that a decision had not been made about whether to undertake further excavation. The news reports indicated that comments made by Edwards about other victims, along with the fact that Edwards worked in Goleta at time of Price’s disappearance, suggested a link.
- January, 18, 2019
- October, 30, 1971
- San Quentin, California
Cause of Death
- Suicide by hanging