Violent sex offender at large after removing GPS tracker, LAPD warns

Los Angeles police are warning the public that a violent registered sex offender who raped a woman nearly 25 years ago and threw her off a cliff has cut off his court-ordered GPS monitoring device and fled.

Joseph Serapiglia, 43, was last seen near the intersection of Sepulveda and Roscoe boulevards in Panorama City on Dec. 19. On July 30, 1991, he was sentenced to 42 years in prison for attempted murder and rape. He was released to live in the city of San Fernando on April 16 this year after serving 23 years of his sentence.

But now police say they don’t know where the parolee is and they are asking for the public’s help in locating him so he can be captured.

Photos of Serapiglia show him with a bushy mustache. He is described as standing about 5-foot-11, with tattoos on his arms and back.


The former Canoga Park resident was convicted of raping a neighbor and stabbing her six times after he lured her to Topanga Canyon. He then threw her down a 25-foot cliff, leaving her for dead, according to authorities.

Blood-soaked, she managed to crawl back up the embankment and across the road, crying: “Somebody help me.”

Serapiglia, originally from Rhode Island, was a part-time stock clerk at the time who lived in the same apartment complex as the 31-year-old victim – a mother of two.

The woman was a friend of Serapiglia’s father, who owned and also lived in the same Canoga Park apartment complex.


Another woman came to her rescue, helping to transport the victim – who had a punctured lung and fractured skull among other injuries -- to a hospital.

Serapiglia had called his victim, a casual acquaintance, after midnight, claiming that his father was missing in Topanga Canyon and that he needed her help because he was unfamiliar with the area, authorities said at the time. The woman told deputies that Serapiglia beat her inside his van and raped her after driving to the top of the canyon.

The woman who took the victim to the hospital said she saw her stagger out of the darkness.

“Hey you guys, somebody please help me, I’ve been raped and stabbed,” she said, her rescuer recalled. “She walked up to us, and as soon as she got close enough I could see that she was bloody from head to toe.”

As she and a friend drove her to the hospital, the rape victim kept apologizing to them, as if embarrassed to ruin their evening.

Twitter: @hbecerralatimes

The stories shaping California

Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.