Rodney Alcala: The “sociopath next door”

Last Tuesday night, I woke up at about 2 AM unable to sleep. I turned on CNN and there was Rodney Alcala, a man who lived down the street from the house I grew up in, in Monterey Park, California. I was not surprised to see a story about him since I knew of his arrests and convictions for murder.

When Anderson Cooper said the police just released hundreds of photographs found in a Seattle storage locker belonging to Alcala, I sat up to take a closer look. Sure enough, at least 4 pictures of me at age 17 were among those found by police and released out of worry that they depict victims.

My initial reaction was one of embarrassment, and I eagerly awaited the hours to pass so I could telephone the police and ask them to please take those pictures down. I also worried that my mother would see them and feel frightened. I finally got through to the police late that afternoon. As I told the detective about my interactions with Alcala, I realized that this was one of those “teachable moments.” So when he asked me if his department could pass along my name to the press, I agreed.

I have given detailed information to a number of inquiring journalists. I am very disappointed with them so far. Isn’t it rather ironic that one of the people Rodney Alcala photographed and “spared” is now devoted to raising awareness of and preventing the disorder he has? Instead of sensationalizing a sociopath, shouldn’t the press (out of respect for the victims) be educating the public about sociopaths and sociopathy?

Members of the press, please use this moment to teach people about the sociopaths who live in the neighborhoods of America!

In subsequent weeks, I will share more details of my encounters and conversations with Alcala. He did leave a lasting impression on me for several reasons aside from his arrest and convictions for murder.

First and foremost, it was Alcala who told me about the organization Mensa. He was very proud of his own “genius” and wore jewelry with the Mensa logo. Initially, I thought I remembered a neck medallion on a silver chain but having looked at pictures of Mensa items, I can’t say for sure if there wasn’t also a ring. Knowing what I know now, I believe it is entirely possible that Alcala was never a member of Mensa and that his claims were an example of pathologic lying.

But, assuming that Alcala is a genius, how rare is he? How common are genius sociopaths? The numbers are actually staggering. There are 219 million adults living in America. Anywhere from 1-4 percent are sociopaths. That gives us an estimate of 2-8 million adult sociopaths in America. That also means that 1-4 of every one hundred people you meet or who live near you is a sociopath.

Since psychologists love to administer IQ tests, there has been quite a bit of research examining intelligence in sociopaths. In all, the results show that sociopaths do not score any differently on these tests than anyone else. If you look at a group of sociopaths, there are dull, average and very intelligent scoring people in the same frequency as the general population. Researchers have argued about this data because many clinicians believe the average sociopath is “of superior intelligence.” But I can explain why one might get that impression.

If it is true that a group of sociopaths scores the same as a group of non-sociopaths on an IQ test, then roughly 2-4 percent of sociopaths are geniuses, depending on how you define genius. That means there are between 40,000-320,000 genius sociopaths living in America. In other words, perhaps 1 of every 1,000 adults you meet is a genius sociopath!

Now also consider by the definition of average looks, there are between 20,000 and 160,000, average to good looking, genius sociopaths in America. That is not very rare. About 300,000 people die every year from heart attacks and we think that is a big number. Why aren’t we more concerned about the problem of sociopathy?

Everyone keeps asking me, “which of the pictures is you?” I am #s 123, 186, 194 and 197.

Liane Leedom, M.D. age 17

Photograph taken by serial killer Rodney Alcala

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I suspect more of the ‘successful sociopath’ types are found in Mensa actually but really they only consitute a very small part of the population (around 2%)
We have to worry about the rest too. I agree with you Stargazer when you say that they are not so much brilliant as crafty. They’re mostly cunning and excellent at manipulation because they have no conscience – my father always says that about the ones he has met.
An ex of mine who was ‘boy next door’ hurt me more than anyone else ever has. I firmly believe he had N and S traits – when we first met he was Mr Super Sensitive but my God did he grow colder as time went on. I wasn’t prepared for the ending. I won’t go into details (I may have already mentioned it on here actually) but suffice to say I got the shock of my life about who that guy really was. I saw him clearly and wow did I get a lucky escape!

kim frederick

Yeah, I would think that being a member of Mensa might work as narcissistic supply for the typicle arrogant, and Oh-so superior attitude of the P’s. A very attractive draw….But, I’m sure there are some very intelligent good guys there, too….
So again, I guess we just have to be aware, and listen to our guts, and learn to see red-flags, no matter where we are.

Quantum Solace

The author is surprised by the fact that the press is more interested in sensationalizing the gore details of this Psychopat’s blood trail than in educating people on the disorder. And I am surprised that she is surprised. The only thing the press is good for these days is sensationalism, misinformation and destruction of lives. The victims and their stories don’t count; what’s of relevance here is story. In fact, I’m surprised that 20/20 or one of those other corporate media shows hasn’t already done a one-hour interview with the killer from his jail cell.

Funny, I have a friend who works for NBC as a reporter, he also worked for the Miami Herald, News Week and Time Magazine at one time. I called him the other day and asked him why there weren’t more stories about the rapes, violence, murders, etc., going on in this country (USA). He flat out told me, “Because those type of stories don’t generate any ad revenue”. I said to him, “you’ve got to be kidding me”. He said, “No”, in a very non-chalant manner.

Anyway, these are our media representatives!


Yes….the world revolves around the old $$$$$$.

Look where it’s gotten us!!!



Dear Dr. Leedom, I remember back in the 80s saying to my best friend and co-worker Barbara after reading numerous texts on the anti-social personalities, as we tried to figure out and understand a logical explanation of what we were working with with (co-workers and the then lower level managers) … “there is a reason we are learning what these folks that lie so readily are all about with no remorse.” For our own self preservation, we had to figure out why they constantly had the need to cause chaos/problems to erupt among the ranks in our workplace. Why was there no peace and harmony. Why they always were the first to run up to the bosses and bad mouth individuals that had absolutely nothing to do with said destructions, as they acted innocent of any of the ruins spewing out. Destroying careers and reputations of those these anti-social personalities found threatening to their very existence in our agency. The anti-socials, of course, were always in charge behind those in charge and of course, pretended to be innocent of any damages they created. They were well oiled machines by their early 20s and perfected their craft of destruction over the years. They would start their venomous process weeks, months or even years before the hammer fell upon the targeted victim(s). They are all about destruction. Any kind of destruction.

It’s ironic how God gradually grooms us to our stations in life. You on the national stage, me and other survivors in the ranks.

Peace and God Bless.



I got a laugh from your Jan 09 (may have been 08) posting….the list of things to do in the New year…..
I copied it and reposted it because it really , really made me laugh……
We elected hens to be the one to buy the condoms and ask the clerk where the fitting room was…
thanks for brightening up my day!!!!!
See…..we just never know when our posts are gonna make someone laugh, even years later….whoduthunk!!!

good to see you again….I hope your doing well!!!

Ox Drover


Missed you gf!!! That is one of the BEST posts you ever did! and you are so ooooooooo RIGHT! DESTRUCTION! ((((huggies!!!))))


Oops I just realised Liane I called you Diane by accident in my posting yesterday. Sorry about that! =O xx
Wini you are so right about workplaces, I’ve experienced bullying at work and it’s awful, destroys lives. In the end it seems that the worst troublemaking people are left employed and all the good people are on the outside unable to work for fear of being abused again.
I’m still rebuilding my confidence several years on.
Namaste xx


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