Inside the hunt for a serial killer stalking Stockton: ‘This person’s on a mission’
Stockton, Calif. – You’re looking at this guy, John D. Kelly of Stockton. He’s 5-foot-8. He weighs 155 pounds. He’s got a goatee and a moustache. He’s a dark-skinned guy. He’s in his 50s. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, blue jeans and cowboy boots.
He’s been on the radar since October, when police received an anonymous phone call reporting that a man fitting his description was walking down the street carrying a plastic bag.
Since then, the crime-solving police have been on him, with officers outfitted with body-worn cameras and equipped with a metal detector because officers say a serial-killer with “The Beast” tattoo on his neck has struck again.
Police have so far arrested one man, but they haven’t found any evidence to connect him to the case in Stockton, let alone to the unsolved murders with which Kelly is now linked in other cities, including Sacramento, Sacramento County and Stockton.
And the reason police have stopped pursuing the case: Kelly has a $1 million bounty on his head.
In Stockton, city leaders, a local attorney general and an FBI agent all agreed – Kelly has the ability to kill again and police would have to act in order to stop him.
Kelly, now in the custody of the FBI following a monthlong manhunt, is not a suspect in the murders there. However, his presence is still a factor in the case and a factor police have not been able to resolve.
“The main question in this case is not whether he’s here or whether he’s there,” said John Thomas of the FBI’s San Joaquin Field Office.
“The question is ‘where are you or where are his victims?’ And that’s what we must find.”
The fact that Kelly has been on the city’s radar for more than two years has led investigators to wonder whether he’s done something to scare them off.
The only concrete evidence police have is the phone call from an anonymous caller.
“We were able to reconstruct the timeline,” said Sergeant Steve Whitmore of the Contra Costa County Sheriff