Despite being born on opposite ends of the globe, American Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, who grew up in China, would eventually meet and team up to be a savagely deadly serial slaying duo.
The two sadists met after Ng escaped military custody after being caught attempting to steal from an armory while a member of the Marines. A mutual acquaintance pointed Ng to Lake, who helped the young Asian hide out from authorities. Eventually Ng was re-captured and served time in Leavenworth Prison. After his release he and Lake reunited and became fast friends. Ng spent most of his time with Lake at a remote property the latter lived on near Wilseyville, California.
By this time Lake had already murdered his own brother, Donald, in 1984. The true killing spree did not begin until later in that year. Lake, a survivalist, had built a fortified bunker at the rural residence, though it's only use would prove to be as a holding cell for women that he and Ng would torture and kill. Oftentimes the women were kidnapped along with their signifigant others and their children, who were evidently quickly dispatched to free the killers to practice their disgusting sadism on the female victims until they grew bored and slaughtered them. The two also used credit cards and belongings of their victims to benefit financially from the crimes.
Both were apprehended on June 2, 1985 when Ng was seen shoplifting a vise. He escaped on foot but Lake was taken in when it became obvious he was holding false identification (later found to be in the name of a former victim). He would never be questioned by police, however. Lake swallowed a cyanide pill almost immediately after being taken into custody and died days later, having never regained consciousness. Ng, meanwhile, eventually went into hiding in Canada.
After discovering Lake's true name, detectives began a search of the Wilseyville property. They undoubtedly found more than they bargained for. First they discovered a diary filled with tortuous fantasies written by Lake, followed quickly by the finding of pieces of identification belonging to several missing persons and a cache of weapons. Videotapes were soon also discovered that showed women being sexually abused and tortured by Lake and Ng. An excavation soon began and bodies, plus many unidentified parts, were dug up from several locations near the house and bunker. Areas where it was obvious bodies had been burnt were also apparent throughout the property. Police believe that at least twenty-five people died at the Wilseyville property, including Lake's best friend and two past co-workers of Ng. Two entire families, both couples with a young child, were wiped out by the two slayers. Victims had been apparently chosen at random and covered a wide range of types, from homosexual males to ex-hippie drifters to young women. Only twelve corpses were officially recovered.
Ng was finally arrested in 1985 after shooting and wounding a security guard while being questioned about a shoplifting in a Calgary store. He was identified and covicted of several charges related to the shoplifting and sentenced to four years iun prison. It was August 26, 1991, before Ng was successfully extradited to California to go on trial for the serial killings committed there. Ng, an expert at delaying trial proceedings, was finally convicted of eleven murders and sentenced to death in June of 1999, fourteen years after he was first sought in the murders in Wilsyville.