Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon, Alleged Killers of 4 Women, Could Face Death Penalty

See the update at the bottom of Page 2 on the charges and possible penalty facing two alleged serial killers of at least four Orange County prostitutes.

ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 14, 7:01 A.M.: We'd reported how some experts did not believe a serial killer was responsible for the deaths of a young prostitute whose body was found in an Anaheim trash recycling facility and three women missing from Santa Ana.

The Anaheim and Santa Ana police departments have essentially announced those experts were wrong.

A Serial Killer Isn't Preying on OC Prostitutes, Say Experts, as Bodies Pile Up and Women Go Missing

The departments jointly announced that drifters and registered California sex offenders Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were arrested Friday for the deaths of: Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, of Oklahoma; Kianna Jackson, 20, of Las Vegas; and Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28, both of Santa Ana.

Upcoming Events

Estepp is the victim whose body was found March 14 by employees of a recycling center in the 1100 block of North Blue Gum Street in Anaheim. Jackson had just arrived at the bus station in Santa Ana in October 2013 when she disappeared, and Vargas and Anaya had last been seen in an area of Santa Ana known for drug sales and prostitution in October and November of that same year.

"During the initial phase of our murder investigation, homicide detectives from the Santa Ana Police Department contacted us with information about three women reported missing from their city,'' Lt. Bob Dunn, an Anaheim Police spokesman, told City News Service. "The investigation led to the identification and arrests" of Cano and Gordon about an hour apart on East La Palma Avenue in Anaheim.

According to the California registered sex offender database at, Cano (who also goes by Frank Cano) and Gordon (a.k.a. Skeeter Gordon and Skeeter Dean Gordon) are each registered sex offenders due to convictions for lewd or lascivious acts with children under age 14.

There are obviously many holes left to be filled. How did the report of the missing women lead to police zeroing in on the pair of men? How do they know the women missing from Santa Ana are dead? Are there incriminating witnesses or evidence?

Hopefully answers to those questions will be provided at a press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. today. Police do say they fear there may be other victims besides the four women, possibly in states other than California.

Detectives are asking anyone with information that can help them to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.TIP.OCCS or visit, where anonymous tips are welcome.

Photos of the victims follow on the next page ...

Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, R.I.P.
Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, R.I.P.
Kianna Jackson
Kianna Jackson
Josephine Vargas
Josephine Vargas
Martha Anaya
Martha Anaya

UPDATE, APRIL 14, 3:16 P.M.: Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon faces multiple charges of murder and forcible rape, as well as special circumstance allegations that could lead to the death penalty, the Orange County District Attorney's office announced today.

Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Santa Ana.

Cano and Gordon face four counts each of murder and forcible rape as well as the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a rape, multiple murders and lying in wait, prosecutors said.

Gordon has two prior strike convictions, for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 in 1992 and kidnapping in 2002, reports City News Service, which adds Cano was convicted in 2008 for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14.

Both sex offenders pleaded guilty last year to failing to register in Nevada and were sentenced to time served in custody, according to federal court documents cited by City News Service.

Cano and Gordon had their cases sent back to Orange County, where they were both on probation at the time of their arrests, prosecutors said.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >