Alcala was working as a counselor at a children’s arts camp in New Hampshire, when two of the children saw his Wanted poster in the local post office and reported him.
Alcala was soon arrested and sent back to California.
In 1986, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nullified another conviction and sentence claiming that police investigators had hypnotized a witness.
His father, Raoul Alcala Buquor, abandoned the family when he was young. In 1968, he graduated from the UCLA School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and later studied film under Roman Polanski (whose wife would later become a victim of the Manson Family) at the New York University under the name "John Berger".
When he was 12, he, his mother Anna Maria Gutierrez, and his sisters, Christine and Marie, had moved to suburban Los Angeles. In the summer, he worked as a counselor at a drama camp for children in New Hampshire.
After 34 months, in 1974, he was released and kidnapped a 13-year-old girl named as "Julie J." in court records, forced her to smoke marijuana and kissed her.
In spite of what he had done, he was only found guilty of giving marijuana to a minor and violating his parole and was released after two more years of indeterminate sentencing.
Alcala's first known victim was an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro, whom he abducted as she was on her way to school.