The Killer Next Door

He left clues all over, but it still took investigators years to unmask the serial murderer in their midst

He seemed to require abnormal amounts of attention. "He'd make straight A's, but he wasn't content to make them," she says. "He wanted acknowledgement for them." The one teacher he remembered as an adult was the one who'd disliked him. "He liked to get praise."

It didn't sit well with classmates. "He was beat up a lot," says Gina. "It was humiliating. And some of these were bad beatings. He didn't handle it real well."

Even at an early age, he behaved strangely around girls. Gina recalls that when they biked around the neighborhood together, Tony would pick out houses of girls he wanted to harass. He'd send Gina to knock on the door and ask for the little girl. When she came out, Tony would grab her and try to fondle her.

Bartender Ramiro Gonzalez says Shore went out of 
his way to be helpful.
Daniel Kramer
Bartender Ramiro Gonzalez says Shore went out of his way to be helpful.
Even as a convicted child molester, Shore was 
allowed to stay in his house near a school playground.
Even as a convicted child molester, Shore was allowed to stay in his house near a school playground.

"They were really upset," Gina says. Finally, a woman who answered the door turned out to be one of Gina's teachers. "That was the last time I knocked on any doors."

Her brother's high jinks only escalated. When he was 13 and living near Orlando, Tony told his sister that he and his buddies had beaten up a bum in a swampy area behind the Publix grocery store. "I think we killed the guy," she recalls him saying. "I think we killed the guy."

He seemed agitated, but he never cried.

He told her not to mention it again; he certainly never did. She was his little sister and his friend. She listened, then tried to forget.

Rob Shore finally settled in Houston in the mid-'70s, but his family still had one more difficult move ahead. In 1976, when Tony was 14 and attending Clear Creek High School, his parents got divorced. Deanna returned to her native California with the three kids.

Rob didn't fight her for custody. "I figured she'd be a better single mother than I'd be a single father," he says.

Although they differ on details, Deanna and Rob say the marriage ended when Rob, who hadn't hit Deanna before, beat her up. He says he told her he was leaving and she shattered a beer stein over his head. "When someone hits me in the back of my head with a beer mug, I respond very badly," he says.

Tony often tried to buffer his mother during his parents' arguments, Deanna recalls, inserting himself between the couple. That caused Tony to face his father's wrath -- and his belt, she says. (Rob claims no memory of that.)

Tony was hardly sad to see the couple divorce. "He said, 'Good, we're rid of him,' " Deanna says. "…He was 14 and he wanted to take over!"

Deanna wouldn't allow it. "I told him what the rules were," she says. When Tony borrowed her car one night while she was sleeping, she called the cops.

Back in Sacramento, she was going to school and working two or three jobs, including a long stint as a waitress at Denny's. Often, she'd come home, make dinner and head out to work again. She remembers Tony as a great help, but she wasn't home enough to monitor his activities.

He'd found new ways to get attention. He joined a jazz band and starred in theatrical productions. He told his family that, while hiking one day, he'd almost died in an avalanche. There, he said, he'd seen the face of God -- an epiphany that briefly compelled him to criticize family members for smoking or cursing. "You never knew how much he was dramatizing it," Deanna says.

He'd grown into a handsome kid, a clotheshorse who enjoyed sporting the tight pants and gold chains of the '70s. His mother thought he looked like Pernell Roberts, who played Adam on Gunsmoke and later starred as the titular Trapper John, M.D. He told his mom that he signed up for ballet classes to meet girls; he always seemed to have a girlfriend.

His aggression toward females continued. Gina remembers cruising bus stations and high schools with him. He'd ask girls if they wanted a ride home, then pointedly remind his sister that she had somewhere else to be.

"They'd see me in the car, and they'd be more comfortable getting in," she explains. "But then he dropped me off."

She's convinced he then molested the girls. "I know that kind of makes me guilty by association, but I helped him," she says.

They'd talk about it sometimes. "To him this was no big deal," Gina says. "This is what all the guys were doing."

After dropping out of community college, Tony returned to Texas, took a job working for Southwestern Bell and got married. He was 21. In three years, he and his wife, who was also named Gina, had two daughters.

Even then, he was on the prowl, his sister Gina says. He still cruised the high schools, even though he'd grown much older than the girls he was trying to seduce, even though he was married.

At 24 years of age, police say, Shore became a killer.

Fifteen-year-old Laurie Lee Tremblay left her house at 6:30 a.m. to catch a Metro bus to her school for troubled kids in Montrose. An hour later, her body was found behind a Ninfa's restaurant three miles from her apartment complex. She had been strangled.

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