Rafael Resendez Ramirez Railroad Killer

Angel Maturino Resendez, also known as Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, is popularly called the Railroad Killer. Rafael Resendez, was a Mexican serial killer who was responsible for as many as 15 murders across the United States and Mexico during the 1990s.

Many of his crimes also involved sexual assault. Resendez gained his infamous nickname because most of his crimes were committed near railroads where had jumped off the trains he had been using to travel across the country.

The Railroad Killer's Methods

Resendez’s killings were centered around the railroad. By jumping on and off trains within Mexico, Canada and the United States, Resendez was able to continually and illegally cross borders without detection. Furthermore, Resendez was able to evade authorities for a long time because of his MO.

Law enforcement, at the beginning of the investigation into the murders, could not consistently track him because he had no fixed address. Government records also show that he had been deported to Mexico at least four times after his arrival in the States by 1973.

Resendez killed as many as 15 people with a variety of weapons, including rocks, pickaxes, and blunt objects in the homes of his victims. Resendez would stay in the home after the murder in order to eat. He also took family treasures and would often lay out the driver’s license of each of his victims to learn more about their lives. He would also take jewelry and hand them over to his wife when he returned to Mexico.

Oddly, Resendez usually left money at the scene and preferred to keep important objects, which ended up being later restored to the family of the victim. Sexual pleasure was a secondary intent for Resendez to murder, as he preferred to take memories of the victim of with him. Resendez would also cover the victim before he left with a blanket to obscure them from the immediate view of others.

Rafael Resendez Execution

Ramirez Found Through IDENT

The investigation first led to Resendez as he was implicated for the killing of Dr. Claudia Benton in December of 1998 near Houston, Texas. In January of 1999, the police obtained a warrant for his arrest and launched an extensive effort to find him. Over the course of the year, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies attempted to form enough task forces to capture Resendez. Resendez was even placed on the FBI’s infamous list of “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.”

A Border Patrol intelligence offer from Del Rio, Texas uncovered that Resendez had been enrolled into a database known as an IDENT, an automated fingerprint identification system. It allowed INS employees to identify and track illegal aliens much like Resendez through electronic comparisons of their fingerprints.

The officer discovered that Resendez had actually been apprehended by patrols in Texas and New Mexico and had been returned to Mexico without any law enforcement realizing what Resendez had done up to that point. Resendez would return to the United States in June of 1999 and kill four more people. On July 13, 1999, Resendez eventually surrended to the United States and Texas law enforcement officers near El Paso, Texas.

The police tracked down Resendez’s sister, Manuela, as she feared that her brother would continue to kill others or would be killed during an FBI raid if he was ever caught. She agreed to help the police, assisting a Texas Ranger named Drew Carter to a meet on a bridge between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in Mexico. This is where Resendez surrended to Carter and was apprehended.

Railroad Killer Trial

Resendez would be tried for the murder of Dr. Claudia Benton. On May 24, 2000, Resendez was found to be guilty of the murder and was also sentenced to the death penalty for his actions. Resendez would continue to appeal, being denied in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

They affirmed the conviction and his sentence. Resendez filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, and was also denied. Subsequent later appeals by Resendez and his lawyers to the Texas Court of Appeals and US District Courts were denied and the case was eventually closed for Resendez.

It is reported that as execution witnesses filled the chambers to witness Resendez’s execution, the killer nodded towards them and apologized for his crimes against their families. "I want to ask if it is in your heart to forgive me," Maturino Resendez said in a quiet voice. "You don't have to. I know I allowed the devil to rule my life. I just ask you to forgive me and ask the Lord to forgive me for allowing the devil to deceive me. "I thank God for having patience with me. I don't deserve to cause you pain. You did not deserve this. I deserve what I am getting."

Death and Law Enforcement Lessons

Rafael Resendez’s execution was held in Huntsville, Texas on June 27, 2006. One of the most notable failures of law enforcement in this case was the fact that through IDENT, law enforcement had Resendez in their custody for a significant period of time.

IDENT has been more proactively used since Resendez’s case in identifying illegal immigrants who have been considered felons in the eyes of the law. It is reported that many of the officers were not familiar with the IDENT system and law enforcement across the United States have been trained in how to use the system.

It is speculated that while law enforcement acted in accordance with procedures for IDENT use during the time of Resendez’s apprehension, further developed and more serious cases against potential felons within IDENT could have posed a significant risk.


Rafael Ramirez Serial Killer

Up next: The Angel of Death Serial Killer: Donald Harvey


Jenna May

My step-father’s identity was stolen and used by Angel Maturino Resendez back in the 1990’s. Daniel Arnold. I was 8 years old and came home from school and found a lockpick near the front door; I only found it bc I accidentally left my own key at home, and was stuck wandering around the yard for about an hour, waiting on my mother. Later on, we learned who it was that had tried breaking into our home. It was made worse bc my step-father was a Major in the U.S.A.F.; he declined all interviews at the time but was forced to retire shortly after, and we had to move up north.

Hadrian Alexander

Glad they put that animal down.

Dominique Arnold

Rafael Resendez is similar to Ted Bundy and Jeff Dahmer. These two (2) serial killers said, “No one did anything to them”.

Thomas Konvikca

David Sarris
You have got to be the most ignorant ass-hole in existence, you stupid motherfucker what moronic logic can you have used to come to such a brain-dead conclusion such as a pet (dog) would have made a difference!
This SOB murder killed a father and daughter, so you think he would be deterred by fido!
Oh by the way ass-hole my mother did have a dog and she was murdered!


David sarris. You r a moron. Do u not know many ppl who have had dogs, the dogs themselves were killed as they cant reply bullets or weapons. Having a dog is NOT a reason for this evil perp to attack defenceless ppl. R u also a killer and this is why u r defending the perp snd bot the victims? If he went after your family and killed them, would also defend him?


So the commentator above David Sarris, described the people who were murdered by ramirez as evil Losers because they didn’t have a dog? What kind of sick twisted logic is that! They were murdered by this sick evil doer through no fault of their own! So having a dog may have saved them, but they chose not to have a dog, it was their choice. If our immigration system would’ve found out that ramirez was wanted for murder also, before they deported him back to Mexico, it would’ve have saved these people. Get the facts and your thinking straight before you decide to judge anothers!

David Sarris

I will without any doubt bet not 1 of this
Dead a-holes (since he was joyfully executed by law enforcement) the killer that is, who was sentenced and executed in 2006 i believe, not one of his victims, was a DOG OWNER. Why people live without a dog in their lives is without sound thinking
In my book. Even though most of this evil
Losers victims lived on acreage or homes capable of dog ownership they chose not to. Each one of them would be with us today if they would have made a trip to their local pound, where they could have saved a dog about to be put down and brought it home with them.. In turn giving it a chance to save their lives….They may have never known the dog they saved saved their lives as well. Why? Why because the Railroad killer would have never stopped for a second at the home of a barking dog.
You never know the life you save by going to the pound might be your own……thats all i have to say give it some thought. Thanks

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published