Two registered sex offenders who have known each other since 2012 have been accused of raping and killing four California women over the last year. Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were charged with 4 counts of special circumstances murder and 4 counts of rape. If convicted the men could face the death penalty. Police are investigating the possibility of more victims.
Police allege that Cano and Gordon met when they cut their ankle monitors in 2012 and fled under fake names to Las Vegas. They were apprehended by federal agents in May of 2012. Cano used the name Joseph Madrid and Gordon used the name Dexter McCoy. Cano and Gordon were ordered to register as sex offenders after being convicted in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. Gordon was convicted in 1992 and also in a 2002 kidnapping case. Cano’s conviction was in 2008. After being recaptured, the two pled guilty to failure to register and were ordered to provide DNA and be electronically monitored.
The investigation into the killings started after the nude body of Jarrae Estepp, 21, was found on a conveyor belt that was separating recyclables from trash at an Anaheim facility. Detectives connected that case to the disappearances of three other women who frequented Santa Ana.
The two men were in full compliance with department check-ins and police have said that they linked the men to the crimes using their GPS monitoring bracelets and the victims’ cellphone locations.
The string of disappearances in Santa Ana began in October when Kianna Jackson, 20, arrived for a court hearing on prostitution charges and loitering. She suddenly stopped responding to text messages. Josephine Vargas, 34, was last seen on Oct. 24th after leaving a birthday party to go to the store. She was trying to turn her life around after rough times with drugs and prostitution. Martha Anaya, 28, asked her boyfriend to pick up their daughter so she could go to work on November 12th then stopped responding to messages. Estepp had become a regular on the strip of Beach Boulevard known for prostitution before her death.