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SHERIFF DECLARES 'BITTERSWEET VICTORY' IN '92 KILLING ARREST.

Byline: Ryan Oliver Staff Writer

Twelve years after a 21-year-old Northridge mother disappeared on her way to a modeling job, her killer was identified in court Tuesday as a registered sex offender who was tracked down by detectives who never gave up on the case.

The arrest of David Rademaker, 40, of Burbank in the death of Kimberly Pandelios brought closure to authorities, who said their unsolved-homicides unit used telephone records from 1992 and interviews with witnesses to link him to the slaying.

``This is a bittersweet victory,'' Sheriff Lee Baca said during a news conference at sheriff's headquarters in Monterey Park. ``The satisfaction is knowing we solved the case through bulldog, investigative police work.

``There is no justice with murder, there is only punishment,'' he added. ``The tragedy of a loss of this magnitude to a husband and a 1-year-old child will never go away.''

Pandelios' mother, Magalay Spector, was vacationing in her native Cuba and could not be reached for comment. But her husband, Yves Chabal, said Spector has anguished over Kimberly's death for 12 years.

``Obviously, this news is bringing back a lot of pain,'' Chabal said in a phone interview from the couple's home in Holmdel, N.J. ``At the same time, this is a very important thing and she's grateful police could get the person who allegedly did it.

``The real closure will come when the trial takes place.''

Pandelios, who was married and the mother of a 15-month-old son named Nicholas, was last seen alive Feb. 27, 1992, after telling her husband, Peter, that she was meeting a man named Paul for a modeling session.

Kimberly, who came to the United States with her mother during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, had recently moved to Los Angeles from Florida to pursue her modeling career.

Her car - a black 1991 Chrysler Laser - was discovered the next day, engulfed in flames, along Angeles Forest Highway. A year later, her remains were discovered in a shallow grave near the remote Monte Cristo Campground, about two miles away.

Sheriff's homicide Capt. Ray Peavy said authorities believe Rademaker lured Pandelios using a classified advertisement soliciting young, female models.

Rademaker had been identified early in the investigation as a ``person of interest'' by Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide detectives, but he was never determined to be a suspect, Baca said.

In fact, Baca's predecessor, Sheriff Sherman Block, had linked Pandelios' slaying to freelance photographer Charles Rathbun, who was convicted in 1996 of the sex slaying of another aspiring model, Linda Sobek. Baca said Tuesday that Rathbun, who is serving life in prison for Sobek's murder, had no connection to the Pandelios case.

Rademaker, who authorities said ran a teen party line, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison after pleading no contest in 1998 to charges of procuring a child to engage in a lewd act and furnishing controlled substances to a minor. He originally had been charged with 14 offenses involving minors, including statutory rape and sodomy.

The investigation into that case led to the case that was presented to the grand jury in the Pandelios case. When he was released on parole Jan. 6, investigators immediately placed him under surveillance.

``When he got out, we were on him right away,'' Peavy said.

Detectives watched Rademaker visiting sex-oriented businesses in the Hollywood area, in violation of his parole. He was taken into custody March 3.

``We developed information that we felt was significant and identified him as the murderer,'' Peavy said. ``He was a danger to the public at this point.''

A grand jury indicated Rademaker on charges of murder, with the special circumstances of rape and kidnapping that could make Rademaker eligible for the death penalty.

Rademaker's attorney, Kim Pearman, said there is no DNA evidence linking his client to Pandelios.

``They say they've got statements from people that he said some things to,'' Pearman said. ``I don't know who. I don't know when. I don't know what. I didn't even know he was going to get indicted.''

Pearman also said he has been unable to meet privately with Rademaker and had just obtained a court order allowing him to do so.

``I've never had so much trouble seeing a client, ever,'' he said. ``What a disaster.''

Rademaker is being held without bail as sheriff's detectives begin to look for more women who may have been victimized by him before he was sent to prison.

``We've got to believe there are other victims out there,'' Peavy said.

Staff Writers Jason Kandel and Charles F. Bostwick contributed to this report.

Ryan Oliver, (818) 713-3669

ryan.oliver(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2 -- color) David Rademaker, 40, of Burbank was indicted in the 12-year-old slaying of Northridge model and mother Kimberly Pandelios.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 21, 2004
Words:796
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