35 years later, Huntington Beach may honor 12-year-old murder victim

Photos of Robin Samsoe adorn a shelf at her family's home.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Thirty-five years after a 12-year-old girl was abducted off the streets of Huntington Beach and murdered in the foothills above Pasadena, leaders in the beach city are exploring building a memorial to the girl.

Robin Samsoe was abducted in 1979 as she biked to a ballet class. Her decomposed body was later found in the brush in the Angeles National Forest.

Rodney Alcala, a prolific serial killer and a onetime “Dating Game” contestant, was convicted three separate times for the child’s murder – the first two convictions were reversed on appeals. He was also convicted of killing four Los Angeles area women and two women in New York during the 1970s. Alcala is now on death row.


Council members in Huntington Beach said it is past time to create a memorial honoring the girl, who was Alcala’s youngest victim.

Meeting last week, council members voted unanimously to create an ad hoc committee to study creating the memorial. It is possible the memorial would take the form of a bench or a plaque at Pier Plaza, which faces the ocean and the city’s historic pier.

Robert Samsoe, Robin’s brother, told the council that a memorial could help heal the family’s wounds.

Councilwoman Jill Hardy said she was about the same age as Robin when the girl was killed and remembers the lecture she received from her family about what to do when approached by a stranger.

“I really like the idea of a bench because I could see myself sitting with my daughter, who is now the same age I was in 1979, and using that as a spot to have that discussion that every parent needs to have,” she said, tearing up as she spoke.

Councilman Jim Katapodis, a retired LAPD officer, said he remembers every child abduction case during his 35 years of service and said the memorial could serve as an educational tool for parents.


“This is the least the city could do in Robin’s memory,” Councilman Dave Sullivan said.

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