Police halt search for serial killer’s victim

Times Staff Writers

Los Angeles police on Friday suspended their search for the body of a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death by a child serial killer in 1968 and believed to be buried near the 23 Freeway in eastern Ventura County.

Acting on new information, investigators on Monday had begun excavating a site near the freeway offramp at Tierra Rejada Road in Moorpark in search of the remains of Roger Dale Madison. Mack Ray Edwards, a former neighbor and friend of the boy’s family, confessed to police in 1971 that he killed six children, including Roger.

Police suspended the search Friday afternoon, said Det. Vivian Flores of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“It’s really hard for me,” Flores said. “The team wanted to go through the weekend. . . . How do you go to sleep at night when you have not finished what you need to do? But we have to move on. We did what we had to do. Did I bring him home? No. It’s very disheartening.”


Sherry Barlow, Roger’s sister, who flew in from Oklahoma this week, went to the excavation site to give her brother a long-delayed memorial. “Even if they don’t find anything, I can stand there close to where he is and say goodbye,” said Barlow, 53. “Because I never got a chance to say goodbye.”

The last time anyone in his family saw Roger alive was in December 1968, when he left the family’s Sylmar home after an argument with his father.

The family thought he had run away. Two years later, their mother sat down with Barlow and her younger sister Annie to tell them the bad news.

“She said she had something to tell us about Roger,” Barlow said. “Me or my sister asked when he was coming home. She started crying and said he’s not coming home.”


Roger had been murdered, police told the family -- and not by a stranger but by Edwards, a trusted friend and neighbor. Married and the father of two children, Edwards lived five houses down from the Madisons and was a regular visitor.

“He was practically a part of the family,” Barlow said.

Edwards, a heavy-equipment operator, got along well with her father because the two had worked in construction, Barlow said.