Calaveras County crypt opened in the hopes of shedding light on ‘80s serial killing duo

Wess Haubrich
Top: Leonard Lake; Bottom: Charles NgCriminal Minds Wiki

In the ‘80s in Calaveras County, sexually sadistic serial-killing, ex-marine duo Leonard Lake and Charles Ng were raising all kinds of unspeakable hell.

The duo’s dynamic was a bizarre one. Lake was the psychotic alpha recruiting the submissive Ng to live with him in a mountainous region of Calaveras County, near a makeshift dungeon/torture chamber Lake had built from (of all places) a literary inspiration: English author John Fowles’ 1963 novel “The Collector”. In it, a disturbed young man kidnaps an art student and keeps her secluded in the basement of his country estate.

From their rural abode in Calaveras County, Lake and Ng slaughtered victims from as far away as San Francisco and the Bay Area to even the neighboring property to their dungeon.

To quote Calaveras County Sheriff Lt. Greg Stark, “I was about 12 years old when this happened. I’ve heard many stories living in this community. This obviously touched a lot of members of our community.”

The serial killings continued through the 1980s until Lake took the coward's way out via sucide in June of ’85. Ng was later captured and remains on death row in San Quentin. The final total of dead: 11 victims accounted for, 25 suspected.

Now investigators are saying that new technology could link further victims to Lake and Ng. This started when new technology combined with the old-fashioned detective’s hunch. So, they took the top off a crypt in a San Andreas cemetery and removed some bone fragments which they hope to link to Lake and Ng’s streak of evil through cutting-edge DNA technology.

It’s unlikely the true number of victims will ever be known. But here’s to hoping investigators find someone. Watch this space for more as we hear it.

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact:


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