Where is Cary Stayner now? | The Yosemite Park Killer

Cary Stayner

What did Cary Stayner do? 

Cary Stayner is an American serial killer who killed 4 women between February and July of 1999.  He was dubbed “The Yosemite Park Killer” as the murders were committed in Mariposa County, California, near Yosemite National Park.

In 1997, Stayner was hired as a handyman at the Cedar Lodge motel near Yosemite National Park, and this is where he found all of his confirmed victims. On the 18th, 1999, Carole Evon Sund and 16-year-old exchange student Silvina Pelosso, were found dead in the trunk of the burnt remains of Sund’s rental car. Sund was strangled with a rope and shot while Pelosso was raped and shot. A week later, a note sent to police revealed a map with the location of another victim, Sund’s 15-year-old daughter Juliana. Investigators found the remains of Juliana Sund, who had been raped and had her throat slit. 

How was Stayner caught, and what happened at the trial? 

On the 22nd of July 1999, another body was found, and this time it was Yosemite Institute employee, Joie Ruth Armstrong. Eyewitnesses said they saw a blue 1972 International Scout parked near the cabin where she was staying the previous day. The detectives on the case traced the vehicle to Stayner. They arrested him, and during the interrogation, he confessed to all 4 murders. 

Stayner was tried in federal court for Armstrong’s murder, as it occurred on federal land. Stayner pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death sentence. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Stayner pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the other 3 murders. He was found to be sane and convicted of 3 counts of first-degree murder on the 27th of August 2002. He was sentenced to death for the brutal killings. 

Where is Cary Stayner now? 

Cary Stayner has been incarcerated at the Adjustment Centre at San Quentin Prison in California since 2002. He is 62 years old. There have been no executions in California since a court ruled in 2006 that there were flaws in the administration of capital punishment in the state.

There was a brilliant 3-part documentary series about the case called Captive Audience, released on Hulu in 2022, which also told the story of the shocking kidnapping of Cary’s brother Steven years before the serial killings in Yosemite Park. 

What do you think of Cary Stayner’s case? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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