Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: Many years ago, a cocktail waitress or bartender was killed at the Sail Inn in West Sacramento. Was her killer ever found and/or prosecuted?
Submitted by: Sacsun, Antelope
ANSWER: Virginia Mochel, a bartender at the Sail Inn Tavern, is one of 10 people whose deaths have been attributed to notorious serial murderer Gerald Gallego.
Mochel, 34, disappeared July 17, 1980, after her night shift at the West Sacramento tavern. According to stories in The Bee, Gallego kidnapped and strangled her. Her body was found near Clarksburg in Yolo County.
Gallego, an itinerant bartender, embarked on a two-year killing spree in 1978, enlisting his former wife, Charlene Williams, to lure victims by promising money for distributing fliers or other menial jobs.
Williams, who later testified against Gallego, said the pair kidnapped and murdered 10 people before the FBI nabbed them on the run in Omaha, Neb., in November 1980. Gallego was convicted of two of the killings in California and another two in Nevada.
Gallego, who died in 2002 of rectal cancer, had been on Nevada's death row since 1984. Williams was released from a Nevada prison in 1997 after serving nearly 17 years for her part in the murders.
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