For her father, Wilho Hakari of 4532 Sycamore Drive, Carmichael, the next few days were a tortuous affair, remarking that "This is hellish, just sitting here and not knowing and not being able to do something. She knows wherever she may be and no matter what happens, she is loved". The mother of Judith stated "Please, I beg of you, whomever has taken my child, in some anonymous way contact authorities so we can find her. We just want to bring her home to take care of her".
Investigators immediately issued a one thousand dollar reward to anybody with information on her whereabouts, but as the days turned into weeks, hopes of finding the 5'2", 118 lbs, brunette alive started to fade away. These hopes were completely dashed when on April 25th 1970, just seven weeks after her abduction, a grisly discovery was made by Leonard Theis (26) and his girlfriend Susan Reed (19) while visiting old mine shafts alongside the extremely rural Ponderosa Way in Weimar, who noticed a knee protruding from the earth and immediately reported their finding to police. Leonard Theis stated "We had spent the day hiking around the American River canyon country, panning gold and looking for places to fish. We had gone back to my car on a dirt road off Ponderosa Way in Weimar, and were going to leave when I remembered, from once before when I was in the area, a small mine and an old cabin. I told Susan 'Let go back and look at the gold mine'. We saw a knee protruding from the dirt between the cabin and the mine, a shaft which goes about five feet into a slope". Leonard Theis described the grave as very crude, as though somebody had just thrown dirt over the body and tamped it down a little. He added "There are all kinds of places near where a grave could have been hidden better than that". Sheriff-Coroner William A. Scott described the grave as approximately four feet long by two feet wide and 24 inches deep. William Scott stated that "she was the victim of one of the most godawful assaults I've ever investigated".
After an examination of the body, pathologist Dr. Donald Jones unearthed the gruesome findings of a cruel death. Judith Hakari had been so savagely beaten, her nose had been reduced to a pulp, her jaw had been broken in several places, some teeth had been knocked out, and she had been strangled by her own stocking causing a fractured hyoid bone. She had also been sexually attacked (possibly raped), with the perpetrator/s placing her underwear in the grave beneath her body, which was still dressed in her nurse's uniform, partially wrapped in a canvas bag (manufactured in Sacramento for the San Juan Unified School District). Although she was still wearing a diamond ring, one of Judith Hakari's shoes was missing, along with her nurse's watch and purse. Despite an extensive examination of the gravesite alongside Ponderosa Way, Lieutenant Arthur Ables, co-ordinating the investigation, and Sheriff's Inspectors William Ravenscroft and Edward Reynolds, failed to uncover any further clues to crack the case.
The year 1970 ended with the hunt still ongoing in the murders of 23-year-old Judith Hakari (March 7th to March 13th), 28-year-old Nancy Bennallack (October 25th or 26th) and 22-year-old Carol Beth Hilburn (November 14th), described in a newspaper article entitled Year Ends, But Hunt For Killers Of Three Capital Women Goes On. The newspaper made comparisons between the brutal deaths of the three women, with Carol Beth Hilburn and Judith Hakari receiving a brutal beating to their face, with Nancy Bennallack suffering at least 30 stab wounds and near decapitation. Wilho Hakari described the murderer of his daughter as "an animal, not a human", with detectives contemplating whether one or more persons were involved in each murder. The newspaper noted the close proximity of the Markston apartments parking lot (where Judith Hakari was abducted) to the residence of Nancy Bennallack, who lived at the Tahitian apartments on 1830 Bell Street. The two locations are about 850 feet apart. The Hakari and Bennallack murders were both described as extremely brutal, in which both of their faces were attacked, both were engaged to be married, both were attacked at weekends and both women were employed in professional fields. Although Lieutenant Jerry Saulter was quick to caution in drawing the conclusion these two murders were connected Below is an older photograph of Richard John Davis, recently identified as the murderer of Nancy Bennallack. A younger photograph would be advantageous in making a comparison to the sketches created in the Bennallack and Hakari slayings. Richard John Davis must be considered a potential suspect in the murder of Judith Hakari.
A trail of the assailant's blood (believed to be from his hand or arm) was sampled and stored, and was later instrumental in identifying Richard John Davis through genetic genealogy in 2022. Richard John Davis (born in 1943) was 27 years of age at the time of the murder (and according to his roommate lived at the Tahitian apartments until 1974 or 1975). In addition to the comparisons noted above, both the murder of Nancy Bennallack and abduction of Judith Hakari may have occurred just before midnight at the weekend, with the trail going cold in each case in the parking lot of two apartments, separated by 850 feet in distance. One has to ask the question, why did the blood trail end in the parking lot of the Tahitian apartments and not the home of Richard John Davis? There could of course be many reasons - but maybe it was deliberately engineered to give the impression of a getaway vehicle, and a murderer not resident in the Tahitian apartments or close vicinity? Or was a vehicle parked here with the original intention of abducting Nancy Bennallack from her apartment, similar to the abduction of Judith Hakari? If Davis had an accomplice (such as a lying roommate, or friend), it may have been wise to use a vehicle and leave the area to dispose of the weapon and misdirect police away from the apartment complex.
It will be interesting to discover more details on the characteristics and life of Richard John Davis in the coming months, and see if he can pass as a man of 6'0" tall, slender to medium build, with dark brown/black hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion, driving a sedan. We already know he was the correct age range when the landowner spotted the three individuals on March 13th 1970. Additonally, did he, his roommate, or any of his friends have any connection to the San Juan Unified School District canvas bag found in the gravesite of Judith Hakari? Time will tell.