Murders at Torrey Pines Beach receiving renewed attention - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Gruesome murders at Torrey Pines Beach receiving renewed attention

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Two brutal and sadistic murders in San Diego, which for the past three decades have remained unsolved, are receiving renewed attention in an upcoming episode of the cold case program "Dark Minds" on the Investigation Discovery channel.

On August 13, 1978, the body of Barbara Nantais, 15, was found naked, beaten, and strangled near lifeguard tower seven at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach.

The lone survivor of the attack - and then boyfriend of the victim - told CBS News 8 he is hoping for a break in the case. Jim Alt was age 17 when he decided to camp out with Nantais in sleeping bags on the beach.

DNA testing on evidence from the murder of a teenage girl at Torrey Pines beach nearly 35 years ago.

The last time DNA testing was done on evidence from the case was in 2006, according to Lt. Ernie Herbert with SDPD homicide.

"We have put in requests on evidence," said Lt. Herbert. "We are sending through our lab requests in a very methodical way to see if there is anything new."

Alt, now in his 50s, still has a titanium plate in his head from the brutal attack, which damaged his brain.

"What was used from that fire pit was a rock and a log to bash my head in," said Alt. "I remember waking up cold and wet. I couldn't see."

Nantais was discovered spread eagle on the sand. The killer had cut into the circumference of her nipple with a knife, according to the autopsy report.

CBS News 8 video from 1978 showed crime scene investigators collecting evidence, including two sleeping bags.

"We had two sleeping bags, and I had zipped them both together," recalled Alt.

Police also are investigating the unsolved murder of another teenage girl on the same beach six years after the death of Nantais.

The two cases may or may not be linked; but in 1984, Claire Hough, 14, was also found strangled at Torrey Pines beach. This time, the victim's breast had been completely amputated.

Additionally, at both crime scenes, the girls were found with sand in their mouths.

Over the past three decades, Alt has become frustrated with the progress of the police investigation.

"Every year, the time just ticks and ticks and ticks and nothing changes," Alt said.

Alt has a message for the killer, if he or she is still alive.

"You better hope that they catch you before I do," he said.

This episode of "Dark Minds" on Investigation Discovery is scheduled to air Wednesday, April 16 at 9 p.m.

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