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Altemio C. SANCHEZ






A.K.A.: "The Bike Path Rapist"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Serial rapist
Number of victims: 3 +
Date of murders: 1990 / 1992 / 2006
Date of arrest: January 15, 2007
Date of birth: January 19, 1958
Victims profile: Linda S. Yalem, 22 / Majane Mazur, 32 / Joan Diver, 45
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Erie County, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to 75 years in prison with no chance of parole on August 15, 2007

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Altemio Sanchez is an American serial killer who murdered at least three women and raped at least 14 others in and around Buffalo, New York, over a span of 25 years (1981-2006). He is also known as The Bike Path Rapist.

His victims were: Linda Yalem, a sophomore at the University of Buffalo who was killed September 29, 1990; Majane Mazur, murdered in November, 1992; and Joan Diver, who was murdered on September 29, 2006, and whose body was found on a bike path in Newstead, New York, on October 1, 2006.

The killer acquired the nickname due to the fact that many of his crimes took place near secluded bike paths. On May 16, 2007, Sanchez pleaded guilty to the murders of Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur, and Joan Diver.

Arrest of Altemio Sanchez

On January 15, 2007, police in Erie County, New York, arrested Sanchez and charged him with the murder of Majane Mazur, a charge to which Sanchez pleaded not guilty. On January 19, 2007, an Erie County grand jury voted to indict Sanchez for the murders of Yalem and Mazur.

Police say DNA found at eight crime scenes matches DNA secretly taken from Sanchez before his arrest.

Many of the rapes attributed to Sanchez will go unprosecuted due to the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape that was in effect in New York at the time those crimes were committed. He is also a suspect in an ongoing investigation for the murder of a 15-year-old girl in 1985.

On August 15, 2007, Sanchez was sentenced to 75 years in prison with no chance of parole. He is currently being held in the Clinton State Prison; he may be moved to a facility closer to his family if he confesses to further murders.

Exoneration of Anthony Capozzi

In March 2007, Anthony Capozzi was freed from state prison after serving 22 years for two rapes with a similar modus operandi. After the arrest of Sanchez, investigators realized that the crimes were similar, took place in the same area, and that Sanchez and Capozzi resembled each other. A sample of DNA from Sanchez was linked to the rapes for which Capozzi had been convicted in 1985.

Capozzi had maintained his innocence, and was thus denied parole. Capozzi is schizophrenic, and his attorney hopes a civil lawsuit will force the state to provide for his medical care. Recently, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and State Senator Dale Volker introduced legislation that would expedite such lawsuits. This bill is known as Anthony's Law.


AMW capture data file for Altemio C. Sanchez


Police: Serial Rapist On The Loose

For 20 years detectives in Buffalo, NY have been hunting for a predator. They know what his blood type is and they even know his genetic make-up. What they don't know is who he is.

The man has been dubbed the Bike Path Rapist because many of his attacks have occurred on bike paths in Buffalo and surrounding communities. From 1986 to 1994 women in Buffalo lived in fear of this predator. He always attacked women and teenagers walking alone. In an eight year span police say the Buffalo Bike Path Rapist raped nine women and killed two of them. 

Linda Yalem, was a sophomore at the Unversity of Buffalo when she was killed on Septmber 29, 1990. Majane Mazur left behind a five year-old daughter when she was killed in 1992. Then after one more attack in 1994, the attacks stopped. Until 2006.

On September 29, 16 years to the day after he killed Linda Yalem, the Bike Path Rapist struck again. Joan Diver, a stay-at-home mother of four was found murdered alongside a bike path. The Bike Path Rapist was back..

With each haunting attack, detectives have been able to find out more about this serial rapist and murderer. Now detectives are hoping that AMW viewers can help them solve this case.    

The Attacks  

Detectives say that the rapist is very patient and waits for the right time to attack, rather than the right victim. He attacks his victims from behind and strangles them with a rope or a wire.

Several times he has strangled his victims until they were unconscious and then dragged them into wooded areas where he raped them. The Bike Path Rapist also uses strips of duct-tape and white medical adhesive to tape his victim's eyes, noses and mouths shut. All ten of the attacks have occurred in the morning between May and October on every day except Sunday.

Police: We Know So Much

The Bike Path Rapist left DNA at nearly all of the crime scenes so police have been able to find out a lot about him.

His blood type is O.

He is a white man with Native American ties. His genectic make up most closely resembles one of a Hispanic man. 

Between 1992 and 1994 he lost the ability to produce sperm, either through a vasectomy or a medical condition.

Police also know a lot about the the Bike Path Rapist from what victims have been able to tell him. He once said that his name was "Dave" and that he had just gotten out of jail for raping and killing a woman. The suspect has worn different types of clothing in his attacks, including a gray jogging suit, blue jeans, a red t-shirt and a blue flannel shirt- jacket. He has also carried a duffel bag and worn a fanny pack. Police think that the Bike Path Rapist may have had medical or military training.


Sanchez Pleads Guilty

I strangled her"

On May 16, 2007 Altemio Sanchez pleaded guilty to three murders in the Buffalo Bike Path rapist and murder cases.  He faces 75 years to life in prison and will be sentenced August 2.  He sobbed in the courtroom as he told the judge three times "I strangled her"--signifying each of the murders he says he was responsible for. This is the latest in a string of events that culminated in January of 2007 when detectives arrested Sanchez.

Sanchez Capture

Police in Buffalo, NY arrested Altemio C. Sanchez, the man accused of being the infamous "Bike Path Rapist," after he left work on the morning of January 15, 2007. Initally, DNA evidence linked Sanchez to two murders and numerous rape cases but now detectives say they have discovered the unthinkable.

Through DNA evidence, detectives have uncovered that the wrong man has been in jail for two of the Bike Path Rapists' crimes. Police say Anthony Capozzi was wrongfully convicted in 1987. Capozzi, who suffers from schizophrenia has been in prison for over 21 years. DNA evidence has cleared Capozzi of two 1984 rapes that took place in Buffalo's Delaware Park. Tests have proven that the DNA belongs to Sanchez.

Detectives are now hesitant to estimate how many rapes Sanchez is responsible for.  They are afraid it is a number that is incomprehensible. 

Detective Dennis Delano was worried long ago that the wrong man might have been convicted of some of the Bike Path Rapists' crimes. Delano and his colleagues have worked around the clock following the seasoned detective's gut instinct. Their hard worked paid off when they found evidence from rape cases at Erie County Medical Center. Delano and his team immediately sent the evidence in for testing. The results confirmed Delano's worse fears, Capozzi and his family have also been victims of Sanchez's reign of terror.    

Old Case Yields New Leads

Sanchez has been arraigned on three counts of murder. He has pled "not guilty" to second-degree murder charges for the killings of Linda Yalem in 1990, Majane Mazur in 1992 and Joan Diver in 2006. 

Unfortunately, Sanchez cannot be charged or prosecuted for the several rapes he is suspected of commiting because the statute of limitations has passed. 

Police say Altemio C. Sanchez first came to their attention after the rape and murder of Linda Yalem in 1990. A water bottle found near the crime scene had fingerprints on it, but police say they didn't get a match with Sanchez -- so he was ruled out as a suspect.

Many years later, police say they turned their focus to Sanchez again. This time, a police task force had begun investigating several old cases of sexual assault.

A man named Anthony Capozzi had already been convicted of some of those crimes. But police say they discovered that these cases bore a resemblance to the Bike Path Rapist crimes, even though they'd started in 1981. Police took a closer look at these cases, including a rape in Buffalo's Delaware Park.

That victim said that she'd seen a man she believed to be her attacker at a local mall. She wrote down the license number of the car as he was driving away, and police traced the vehicle to Sanchez's uncle, Wilfredo Caraballo. At the time, police say Caraballo told them he hadn't taken the car out in months.

In January 2007, more than two decades later, police say Caraballo told them something he hadn't said before -- that his nephew, Altemio Sanchez, had borrowed the car from him.

Police talked to another of Sanchez's family members, who allowed them to take a DNA sample. Using this sample, police say they were able to tell that this person was a close match to the Bike Path Rapist -- and police thought they knew who the exact match would turn out to be.

Police say they then put Altemio Sanchez under surveillance. On Saturday, January 13, 2007, they say they followed him and a woman they believed to be his wife to a Buffalo-area restaurant.  After he left, police went in and obtained Sanchez's DNA off a glass he'd been using during dinner. 

Within 24 hours, police say, DNA test results told them that Sanchez was the "Buffalo Bike Path Rapist."  Police say they are also investigating whether Anthony Capozzi may be innocent of the crimes for which he has been convicted.

Detectives say Sanchez has a prior record, and was arrested on charges of patronizing a prostitute in 1991 and 1999. Police believe Sanchez has lived and worked in suburban Buffalo for most of his life.



Sep 29, 2006


Time: morning
Location: Clarence / Newstead bike path
Victim: Joan Diver, 45, jogger
Means of Attack: Strangulation; blunt force trauma
Link to Suspect: DNA match


Oct 19, 1994


Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Behind a junkyard at 276 Military Road near Hertel Avenue in the Riverside section of Buffalo
Victim: 14, high school student
Means of Attack: # Victim grabbed from behind, used rope and tape # Link to suspect: M.O.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


Oct 30, 1992


Time: Last seen 10/30/92; body found 11/22/92
Location: Body found in a field off of Exchange Street in Buffalo
Victim: Majane Mazur, 32
Means of Attack: Grabbed her from behind; used rope and tape.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


Sep 29, 1990


Time: 12:15 p.m.
Location: Ellicott Creek bicycle path, Town of Amherst
Victim: Linda S. Yalem, 22, University of Buffalo student, jogger
Means of Attack: Unknown. Body was discovered the next day in thick underbrush near the path. She had been raped and strangled. Cause of death was asphyxiation due to ligature strangulation. Her mouth and nose both had been taped.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


May 31, 1990


Time: 7:30 a.m.
Location: Shortcut path near a Hamburg high school
Victim: 32, walking on path
Means of Attack: Means of attack: Attacked her from behind and immediately rendered her unconscious with a cord tightened around her neck. Victim dragged to a clearing in the underbrush, but never saw the rapist and was unconscious throughout the attack.
Link to Suspect: Location, time of day and M.O.


Aug 24, 1989


Location: Willow Ridge bicycle path, Town of Amherst
Victim: 15, high school student
Means of Attack: Attacked her from behind using a rope that he tightened around her neck to control her. Forced her to a nearby clearing, where he tied her hands behind her back and used white adhesive tape to secure her hands, eyes and mouth. May have had a knife. Brought the victim in and out of consciousness and left her for dead.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


May 01, 1989


Location: Shortcut path to Riverside High School in Buffalo
Victim: 15, high school student
Means of Attack: Walked toward her on the path and smiled as he passed her. Then attacked her with a rope, forced her to an abandoned building and gave her white tape to tape her eyes.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


Jun 10, 1988


Location: Shortcut path to Riverside High School in Buffalo
Victim: 16, high school student
Means of Attack: Walked toward her and after passing her, attacked her with what she felt was a wire. Forced her to walk about 600 feet to a junkyard, where he used gray duct tape to tape her mouth.
Link to Suspect: DNA match


Jul 14, 1986


Time: 9:20 a.m.
Location: Shortcut path near a Hamburg high school
Victim: 17, high school student
Means of Attack: Attacked her from behind, with a white clothesline that he tightened to gain control of her. Forced her to a cutoff in the path about 300 yards away..
Link to Suspect: Time of day and M.O.


Jun 12, 1986


Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Delaware Park, Buffalo
Victim: 44, jogger
Means of Attack: The rapist jogged toward his victim, passed her and then attacked her from behind. Used a cord that he tightened to gain control of his victim. Took her to some underbrush near the path. Later tightened the cord until she lost consciousness.
Link to Suspect: DNA Match.



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