‘The Phantom’ serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

By Morgan Loew
By Gilbert Zermeno
By Edward Ayala


SIERRA VISTA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) –

The email arrived in the CBS 5 Investigates email inbox on April 7. The first line stood out to producer Edward Ayala.

“I have information regarding the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency (Parole) releasing a serial killer into the community,” it read.

Six days later, we were driving out of state to interview the woman who sent the email, to listen to the story of how a serial killer, who referred to himself as “The Phantom,” murdered two young girls and targeted a third, and how this person would be let out of prison and allowed to live in an unsuspecting Tucson neighborhood.

The story begins in 1967 in the town of Sierra Vista. The population was 5,000 at that time, most of the residents there because of the adjacent Army post, Fort Huachuca.

[VIDEO: ‘The Phantom’ serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson]

“Sierra Vista at that time did not have a violent crime problem,” said David Santor, who was 22 years old back then, and has a vivid recollection of the events of that spring and summer, events that would change the community in ways that only fear and tragedy can.

“The element of universal trust was gone,” said Santor.

On Sunday, April 30, a 7-year-old blond haired girl named Cindy Clelland walked down the street, looking for bottles that she could turn in at the neighborhood store in exchange for candy. Three days later, a search team found her naked, lifeless, mutilated body in a desert area 120 feet into the boundary of Fort Huachuca.

“Throughout the three days she was missing, they would find, like, clothes and underpants, and they would bring it to my mom and say, ‘Is this Cindy’s?’” said Darlene Roi, who is Cindy’s older sister.

She remembers how her father was a sergeant in the Army at the time, and deployed overseas.

[VIDEO: Morgan Loew confronts William Huff in Tucson]

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