This is an actual photo of the spent rounds from the gun that killed Claude Snelling. Sorry for the low quality of it… I’ve been unable to obtain a better version. It’s still chilling to see, and I thought it would be the perfect item to use to remind people about this tragic murder.
On September 11th, 1975 at 2:20 AM, journalism professor Claude Snelling was shot to death while interrupting the abduction of his daughter by a masked man. The man was suspected of being the Visalia Ransacker, a sexually-motivated burglar who had been targeting the small town of Visalia, California since 1973.
While examining the physical evidence, investigators carefully noted ballistics information on the bullets that killed Snelling. They didn’t have a match for them, but since the Ransacker was suspected of being the killer, they began digging.
On August 31st, 1975, the Visalia Ransacker stole a gun during one of his many burglaries. Even though the gun had been stolen, the owner of the gun had filed a police report and when they came into contact with him again, he told investigators that they could find some old rounds that he had shot into a canal bank at a location nearby. These rounds were recovered and the ballistics were tested against the ballistics from the gun that killed Snelling.
They were a match. The Visalia Ransacker was the killer.
The weapon has never been recovered, and unfortunately, the Visalia Ransacker has never been identified. Some researchers feel that he later evolved and became the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer. Identifying one or both of these criminals would go a long way toward finding closure and justice for many victims.