Series 4 - The Hitchhiker Slayer

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In late 1976 and early 1977, female students at the University of California in Santa Barbara were terrorised by a grim series of lookalike murders, so-called because the victims closely resembled one another. Acting out a sick fantasy, Thor Christiansen struck while they were hitchhiking and desecrated their bodies after killing them.

Despite a huge police operation, investigators and the community were baffled by the disappearances. The murderer was Thor Christiansen, a youth who had grown up in Solvang, a local community founded by Danish expatriates. From an early age, people had noticed a dark side to his personality.

He abducted at least four young women from the college town of Isla Vista, sexually assaulted them after he had killed them, then dumped the corpses. He was caught after a fifth intended victim escaped and later identified him in a Hollywood bar.

This documentary takes an in-depth look at Christiansen's character through the first-hand accounts and testaments of the people who knew him best. Detectives, journalists and leading experts in criminal psychology also offer their insight, as the film asks whether abuse of drugs and alcohol set this young man on the path to murder? Or was Thor Christiansen born to kill?

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