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Four Women Allegedly Murdered By Men Under State’s Watch

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Two parolees accused of raping and murdering four women in Orange County from 2013 to 2014 were poorly monitored by state parole officers, records show.

The L.A. Times obtained parole records that said 28-year-old Franc Cano and 46-year-old Steven Dean Gordon, both convicted child molesters, were considered "low risk" parolees even though they both cut off their GPS trackers and fled the state together—twice. Even then, the officers apparently didn't look into what the two men were doing together despite their checkered history.

It wasn't until authorities found a fourth woman's body at a trash sorting facility that police began searching all GPS monitoring devices for registered sex offenders in the area. That's when they linked Cano to the murders based on his paths traced on his GPS tracker, and then later brought Gordon in for questioning. After the two were arrested, authorities later found from the GPS trackers that the men were frequenting red light districts where the victims, who were believed to be prostitutes, were last seen.

Most disturbing is that Cano and Gordon checked in with their Anaheim parole office on their weekly visits the morning after they allegedly killed and raped one of the victims. One of them checked in to his parole office the same day one of the other murders took place.

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While parole officers are supposed to monitor the activities of parolees, these officers seemed to check in with Cano and Gordon around the same time and location. There didn't seem to be an element of surprise for these parolees. The officials also didn't regularly interview people who had close contact with Cano and Gordon, something they're required to do to keep track of parolee's activities.

State correction officials told the Times they reviewed the case and found that the parole officers involved in monitoring Cano and Gordon followed out the requirements of their job. Therefore, no disciplinary actions were taken. Ondre Henry, president of the Parole Agents Assn. of California, said the parole agents were overloaded with way too many cases, which caused their work to suffer.

Franc and Cano are currently facing multiple charges of the murder, rape and kidnapping of the four women: Kianna Jackson, 20; Josephine Monique Vargas, 34; Martha Anaya, 27; and Jarrae Estepp, 21. They've pleaded not guilty.

Authorities said that Cano's DNA matched the DNA that they found on Estrepp's body. There was also a disturbing text message exchange between Cano and Gordon on the night of Estrepp's murder, where Gordon seemed hesitant about hurting Estrepp. He texted Cano saying that he didn't know what to with her, to which Cano texted back that he should "get rid of her" by "happy hand," a phrase prosecutors believe means strangling. It ended with Gordon's last chilling text of "Bye-bye, Kitty."

Anaheim police Det. Julissa Trapp told the Times that when they took Gordon into custody, he confessed to the murders. He managed to pick out photos from a lineup of the four women who were killed. Gordon told authorities in the interview when and where the murders took place. However, Gordon said a fifth victim was missing from the photo lineup, though that woman was never identified, Trapp said.