How Did He End Up In Los Angeles & At The Cecil Hotel?
Becoming a literary success while incarcerated, Unterweger was granted parole in 1990. His writing career took off, and he was in demand for bookstore readings and talk shows as he produced books, plays, and stories. His autobiography was taught in schools and his stories for children were performed on Austrian radio.
In September 1990, prior to Unterweger's move to the U.S., a murder spree unfolded while the Austrian writer was quickly becoming a celebrity.
Moving to Prague to study its red-light district, Blanka Bockova, a Czech sex worker, was strangled with her underwear. Seven other prostitutes later died this same way in Austria over the next six months.
Unterweger headed for L.A. to further study the red-light district, with claims he even rode with LAPD to be given an official tour of the downtown area.
During his stay, where he set up at the Cecil Hotel, three sex workers—Shannon Exley, Irene Rodriguez, and Peggy Jean Booth—were strangled with their bras, with a signature knot favoured by Unterweger.
How Was Jack Unterweger Caught?
After having him under surveillance under the suspicion of murders in Austria, police in Graz eventually found enough evidence to arrest Unterweger. However, by the time police arrived at his home, he had escaped with his girlfriend Bianca Mrak, through Switzerland and France.
Unterweger became a fugitive until he was eventually captured in Miami, Florida, in 1992. He was extradited back to Austria and charged with 11 murders, with the jury later finding him guilty of nine.
In 1994, Unterweger was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. That night, Unterweger died by suicide at the Graz-Karlau Prison.
Where Has Jack Unterweger Appeared In Popular Culture?
For years since his death, Unterweger has gone on to inspire several series and films.
In 2015, Elisabeth Scharang directed the thriller film, Jack, documenting a fictional retelling of the serial killer's life. Austrian actor Johannes Krisch took on the title role. The story of the police investigation, pursuit and prosecution of Unterweger is the subject of an episode of The FBI Files titled "Killer Abroad".
And of course, most recently, Unterweger's story appeared in Netflix's latest true-crime series, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.