Episode 127: Jeff Rinek – Yosemite Park Murders, Child Predators, PTSD (Part 2)

Retired agent Jeff Rinek served in the FBI for 30 years, two years as a support employee and 28 as a Special Agent. During his career, he primarily investigated cases of missing and murdered children. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Jeff Rinek reviews how he obtained a confession from serial killer Cary Stayner, responsible for the Yosemite Park Murders, the brutal slayings of two women and two teenage girls. He also discusses the mental toll working child predator and murder cases had on him, and how his family helped him cope with case related  PTSD and attempted suicide. While assigned to the Sacramento office of the FBI, Jeff Rinek assisted police and sheriffs departments’ throughout Northern California in active and cold-case investigations involving missing children, child kidnappings, and the abuse, exploitation, and murder of children. He also served as a certified profiler for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. In 2003, he was named Investigator of the Year by the California Sexual Assault Investigators Association, and in 2006, received an Award for Excellence from the International Homicide Investigators Association. He was also a member of the SWAT team and, and a co-pilot in the Sacramento Office’s aviation squad. He has been featured on numerous TV documentary crime shows, including A&E’s American Justice, TruTV’s Crime Stories, and Investigation Discovery’s Real Detective. Jeff Rinek is the author of In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent’s Relentless Pursuit of the Nation’s Worst Predators, his personal account of child predator and murder investigations. Each chapter is dedicated to the victims of the cases he worked, including a chapter for his wife and sons.

Special Agent (Retired)

Jeff Rinek

1/12/1976 – 5/31/2006









The following are links to newspaper articles regarding the results of Jeff Rinek’s investigation of the Yosemite Park murders of Carole Sund, Juli Sund, Silvina Pelosso, and Joie Ruth Armstrong:

CBS News – Photo Gallery of Victims and Family from Yosemite Park Murders

New York Times – 7/28/1999:  Suspect at Yosemite had Fantasy of Killing Women

Deseret News – 12/13/2000:  Details of Yosemite killing given

FBI missing persons flyer for the Yosemite tourists Carole Sund, Juli Sund, and Silvina Pelosso.













Pre-arrest photo of Cary Stayner taken just before he confessed to Jeff Rinek regarding the murders.














The true crime book by Jeff Rinek – In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent’s Relentless Pursuit of the Nation’s Worst Predators – can be purchased here.
















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.


  1. […] To listen to more FBI Retired Case File Review case reviews with former BAU profilers here. To listen to case reviews about serial murder here. During the case review, Jim mentioned the case review I did with retired agent Jeff Rinek. Episode 126: Jeff Rinek – Yosemite Murders, In the Name of the Children (Part 1) and Episode 127: Jeff Rinek – Yosemite Park Murders, Child Predators, PTSD (Part 2) […]

  2. AJAugust 29, 2020

    Jeff and Laura – thank you!

    For you and your work, enjoy your time. We sleep easier because of people like you. I feel trauma listening but also pride and I don’t even know you.

  3. Vincent J McNallyAugust 19, 2018

    Thanks Jerri for allowing your podcasts to discuss suicide which is traumatic and difficult to address. By doing so and as Jeff stated …it might offer someone who is suffering through depression and contemplating suicide a way out and a step forward to seek assistance. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

  4. Vincent J McNallyAugust 19, 2018

    This podcast thoroughly discussed the reality of depression, PTSD, and suicide as they are present in police work as well as the peer support of fellow Agents and the non- support of management. The non- support of management greatly exasperates any cumulative stress and promotes a toxic workplace. Experiencing PTSD myself and having listened to others traumatic events I first did not know that you could also be traumatically stressed out ( vicarious traumatization). Jeff and his wife were dramatically impacted by his case work and with the support of his peers sought the assistance he needed the most. When I left the Employee Assistance Program around 2000 we had instituted Post Critical Incident Seminars for the employee and spouse, as well as debriefings and trauma education for those working Innocent image cases ( reviewing sexual exploitation cases of children). Hopefully we still have these programs. I was the 2nd and last of two Agents who supervised the Employee Assistance Program which I learned is now run by mental health professionals. More importantly I would like to thank Jeff and his wife for perserving and being Survivors and not victims. Thank you very much for your work and sacrifice in working these most emotionally difficult cases.

    1. Jerri WilliamsAugust 19, 2018

      Vince – My interviews with you on the subject of PTSD and law enforcement suicide provided me with basic skills so that I wasn’t (too) afraid to ask questions and make observations during my discussions with Jeff and Lori. Thank you for your work in this field.

  5. Kathy FilyawAugust 4, 2018

    This was such an important show…I have listened to them all and my fascination with Law Enforcement comes from my Dad who was in Law Enforcement for over 30yrs and retired as a Police Chief in our small town in Alabama. There were many stories he would share but sooo many more that he could not. He is such a compassionate man and like Jeff people were drawn to him and sometimes that is a Heavy Burden to carry. PLease Thank Him for sharing the the Real World of how these awful events can effect the men and women in Law Enforcement and their Families.
    If you are ever looking for unsolved cases there are a few from my home town that the FBI were heavily involved in. Thank you for your service and continuing to promote the truth about Law Enforcement.
    PS I never have left a comment but I felt very strongly about this!

    1. Jerri WilliamsAugust 4, 2018

      Thank you Kathy. It means a lot for everyone in law enforcement to know that they are supported in their mission to keep us safe.

  6. Lynn MAugust 3, 2018

    The story of Carol and Julie Sund, Silvina Pelosso and Joie Armstrong have haunted me since I was a child. I camped with my family in Yosemite when I was just a kid and always loved the peace and beauty of the park. It felt like home. To hear what happened to Carol and Julie and Silvina horrified me for years. Now that I’m a single mother of two daughters, the horror of what they went through still chills me to the bone. What a brave and human soul is Jeff Rinek. I can’t wait to read his book. He and his family are indeed survivors of Cary Stayner. The story also resounded with me because I remember so well the story of his brother, Steven. Their story is an American Nightmare. Thank you for this episode. Jeff Rinek made the victims come alive for me. I think of them often. Thank you for your great work.

    1. Jerri WilliamsAugust 3, 2018

      Thank you for listening. I’ll share your comments with Jeff.

  7. CharkletAugust 2, 2018

    Thank you both for this interview. Brave, necessary, so very necessary to hear—for many more people to hear. Some of the other interviews with retired FBI agents I’ve listened to on this podcast have brought up (for me) everything that’s blind about law enforcement in general—blindness that is a nearly inevitable result of generations of arrogance and power. But this one (2-part) interview wipes away much of my lack of trust in them. (Respect I have, absolutely, but lack of trust in their skill in the field, due to overall narrow views of the world, of human beings, of those involved in their cases, etc.) and sometimes shocking arrogance about these views.

    While I understand that case-entrenched law enforcement need to be able to keep their emotions in check in the field and keep their focus on the cases, what that has meant historically is that too many have become emboldened by the social and financial rewards they receive in being *tough*. But don’t think those tough guys don’t act out and often hurt and traumatize others, too. Not by killing (other than sometimes themselves, so it seems), but with abuse and neglect of family, addictions, rage, suppressed emotions, immaturity, etc. And at the same time, demonize the “criminal.” This interview, though, helps break the news that actually, we’re all on a spectrum, as human beings among other human beings.

    (And agreed, thanks to Esther Ludlow at Once Upon a Crime for leading me here!)

    1. Jerri WilliamsAugust 2, 2018

      Thank you for expressing your views, past and present, so well. Jeff said he was sharing his story to help people understand the sacrifices made by those who investigate violent crimes. It looks like he was successful.


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