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When Cara Knott was found strangled to death and tossed off a bridge in December 1986, the California community of Escondido felt pretty shaken. Apparently, Cara had left her car and then fallen victim to some attacker. KCST News figured it was time to advise viewers on what they should do to avoid that kind of situation.

"Once you get into a car with somebody, you're at their mercy," said the expert they interviewed, Officer Craig Allen Peyer. "Just stay in vehicle, lock all the doors, turn on your emergency flashers, and wait for help to come. Even if you have to wait all night, it's better to be in the safety of your vehicle and spend the night than to try and get assistance. Anything can happen. Being a female, you could get raped, robbed if you're a male, all the way to where you could be killed. Once you get in that other person's car, you're at their mercy."

Peyer had some scratches on his face during the interview. He said he'd walked into a fence.

After the TV segment aired, dozens of women phoned the police to say they'd had encounters with Peyer. He'd pulled them over, hit on them, and had sometimes gotten handsy. A few of these women had actually filed complaints already, which had gone nowhere. 

Now, with increased attention on the man, investigators matched an unusual bit of thread found on Cara's body with a patch on Peyer's uniform. Soon, they found more evidence: besides those scratches: witnesses had noticed odd behavior, and it even looked like a drop of his blood landed on Cara's shoes. 

It took a couple different trials, but Peyer was sentenced to 25 to life. By the time he's eligible for parole, he'll be 77 years old. 

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For more criminals who liked the spotlight too much, see also:

5 Real Murderers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie

5 Brilliant Crimes By People Who Totally Sucked At Crime

5 Brutal Murderers Who Aaaalmost Got Away With It

Top image: NBC

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