Although his name isn’t particularly synonymous with serial killers in the United States, there’s something gripping about the case of Randy Steven Kraft. Although officially convicted of the murders of sixteen men, his total body count may be over sixty. It’s likely some of these victims would have never been tied to him if he had not kept track of most of them through a cryptic list, a ‘scorecard’ of words and phrases found in the trunk of his car following his arrest in 1983.
Now in his seventies and residing on California’s death row, Kraft maintains his innocence, stating that the list consisted of nicknames and information about his friends. However, the evidence begs to differ. Over seventy photographs of unconscious or dead men were also found in his car, and personal belongings from some of his presumed victims were located at his residence. The most damning of all was the body of Terry Lee Grambel, found in Kraft’s car when he was arrested.
Some of Kraft’s victims were easy to confirm, as they were either identified through the photographs or by personal belongings found during the investigation. Others were connected through the scorecard.
All but two of his confirmed victims were tied to the scorecard in various ways. Edward Daniel Moore was listed by his initials EDM, while MC HB Tattoo likely referred to Robert Loggins, a Marine with a large tattoo on his arm who was last seen at the Huntington Beach Pier.
While he was only convicted of sixteen murders, several more connections were made through the scorecard and Kraft’s known modus operandi. Although most of his victims were suffocated or strangled, Kraft was known to drug his victims with excessive amounts of alcohol and antidepressants, sometimes causing fatal overdoses. He would also torture his victims while they were still alive, emasculating them or otherwise multilating their genitals, burning them, and shoving objects up their rectums- socks, sticks, pens, and in one case a man’s own severed genitals. Several of his victims were dismembered post-mortem. At least thirty other murdered or missing men were officially listed as being possible victims through the scorecard.
However, there are some entries never connected to any unsolved cases. Some are speculated to be but not conclusively tied to missing or unidentified person cases, and Kraft’s two victims not thought to be on the list technically could be on it with no known link. Aside from the first few murders, there seems to be no order to the names on the list.
There are 19 entries on the scorecard, possibly referring to 21 victims, that could not be linked to a known case. They are, in the order they appear on the list: Angel, Hari Kari, Marine Down, Van Driveway, 2 in 1 MV to PL, LB Marina, Diabetic, Portland, Navy White, User, Iowa, 2 in 1 Hitch, Front of Ripples, Carpenter, MC Dump HB Short, Oxnard, MC Plants, England, Oil, and What You Got.
The 2 in 1 entries seem to refer to double murders, as referenced by confirmed victims Geoffrey Nelson and Rodger DeVaul, who were listed under 2 in 1 Beach. Even if the two confirmed victims with no known spot on the list are actually on it with some unknown connection, this still leaves nineteen potential victims unaccounted for. These could refer to missing people who have yet to be discovered, remains so decomposed that no trace of Kraft’s modus operandi could be detected, or even attempted or intended victims or ‘dummy’ entries meant to throw off authorities. Some of his victims were homosexuals or male prostitutes, and the stigma surrounding this when the murders occurred might have prevented surviving victims from coming forward. However, as Kraft still maintains his innocence, the truth behind these entries may never be known.
The unconnected entries on the scorecard aren’t the only mysteries surrounding the Randy Kraft case. Four of his alleged victims are still unidentified, with a fifth confirmed victim being identified after the 1988 article detailing the scorecard.
Forensic reconstruction of the ‘Wilmington’ John Doe.
The first of the unidentified victims on the scorecard, known as Wilmington, was a young man found by the side of a road in Wilmington, California in 1973. He was strangled to death and a sock was found in his rectum. He was likely between 17 and 24, standing at 5’8″ and weighing about 140 pounds. His hair and eyes were brown and he had multiple scars on his lower right leg.
Another California victim, called 76, was found dismembered behind a Union 76 gas station in Long Beach in 1979. He was decapitated with his limbs severed; only his head, torso, and left leg were recovered. He was described as a white male between eighteen and thirty, six feet tall and 140 to 160 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He had a chipped front tooth and a scar on his left knee. His cause of death is either unknown or has not been released.
The last of Kraft’s unidentified victims was either known as Portland Eck or Portland Elk, was found in 1980 in Marion County, Oregon. Investigators are unsure what the latter part of the nickname could be. He was on the older end of his victims, at 35 to 45, and was 5’6″ and 160 pounds. He had balding brown hair and a moustache, with blue eyes. He did not appear to be tortured or mutilated, but he was strangled with a ligature and had high levels of alcohol and antidepressants in his system.
The fourth unidentified person is actually second of the unidentified victims on the list, taking place shortly after the ‘Wilmington’ murder in 1973. It is also possibly the strangest of all of Kraft’s victims in its circumstances. With the exception of the scorecard, the 1988 article, and a graphic newspaper article from the time of the body’s discovery, there is no record of this man, known as Hawth Off Head, ever existing. There is nothing to suggest he had been identified but there is no NamUs or Doe Network page for him either, nor has a coroner’s report been made public. All that is known is that he had been emasculated and strangled, and his dismembered remains were found across the Wilmington and Long Beach areas. No physical description of this man is known to exist.
Links of Interest
Pertaining to case in general:
‘Wilmington’ John Doe:
’76’ John Doe:
‘Portland Eck/Elk’ John Doe