SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – They may be the most horrific crimes ever committed in Utah.
More than 40 years ago, boys started going missing from their homes.
A task force was even established to find the perpetrator and to determine if the missing boys were still alive or who may have killed them.
For four years, parents were on edge as the cases remained unsolved.
Over the next few nights, the Justice Files will attempt to show who these five boys were and what they meant to their mothers and loved ones.
“It was happening once a year. A child just disappeared, a young boy,” says Creighton Horton, a former Salt Lake deputy district attorney.
It started in 1979. Salt Lake City Police began looking for a four-year-old boy. His name was Alonzo Daniels.
He made headlines back then, but other than the fact he was one of five boys murdered by a serial killer, very little was known about him.
The four-year-old boy was playing when a man who lived in the same complex lured him to his apartment with a promise of candy. Little Alonzo was never seen again.
Meanwhile, there was an all-out search for the young boy. Police went door to door and even into the Jordan River looking for Alonzo.
One person caught the attention of investigators.
“He was interviewed, and the detective thought he was a weird guy,” Horton describes.
But this person of interest was never arrested. Little did the police, know that inside the man’s apartment, Alonzo was already dead.
The killer would later place the little lifeless body in the trunk of his car and bury the boy’s body in a remote area near Cedar Fort in Utah County.
He was never found, and his mother suffered an unimaginable pain.
In a blog posted online, it’s believed the heartbroken mother writes this about Alonzo: “The day my child was born was the greatest day of my life. Even though I was so young when I gave birth to him, I know Alonzo is a blessing from God. You see the day he was born was a miracle.”
Alonzo’s mother did not agree to be interviewed and out of respect for her privacy, ABC4 will not reveal her identity.
The mother was 14-years-old when she gave birth to Alonzo in Salt Lake City. She said it was a difficult birth, there were complications and she was heavily sedated.
“Finally two days went by,” she says on her blog. “I finally was able to see Alonzo. His eyes open up. I saw a spirit of his soul. So sweet and full of love. He was my miracle baby. I remember always being overprotective of him.”
But on that fateful day in October, 1979, a stranger found an opening.
“What parents have to realize is that children are picked not for any special purpose,” the killer would tell ABC4 in a 1984 interview. “They’re picked because they’re there. They’re available.”
For the next four years, the remains of Alonzo Daniels were never found.
Monday, as the Justice Files story of “Five Boys” continues, an 11-year-old boy is kidnapped in broad daylight.