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True Crime/Cold Case Files     EAR Crime Index

The Case of the East Area Rapist AKA The Original Night Stalker

261 Rape

Victim No. 15— WFJ 16 years

Friday, March 18, 1977

About 10:45 p.m.

Dolecetto/Benny Way

Rancho Cordova

Tactical Misuse

East Area Rapist

  He is the real life Michael Myers. He looked like the average teen, except for his morose eyes. Yet he is the No. 1 serial offender in history. He was so careful, he is known only by his DNA. The East Area Rapist, as he was known, struck California communities for 10 years— 1976-1986. Toward the end he became a murderer now known as the Original Night Stalker. He has 50 rapes and 12 murders to his record. Then he vanished. He would be about 58 years old now, living what appears a normal life. These are the files on his crimes.

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Narrative

The front of the victim’s house is heavily shaded by a maple tree. As such, the front was quite dark. There is no public lighting along Benny Way/Dolecetto Street. The ranch style house was therefore quite dark when victim, age 16, pulled up at 10:45 p.m. She had just gotten off from her shift at Kentucky Fried Chicken. She had a chicken dinner with her, Kitchen2which she was going to take to her friend’s house. Her parents had left for the weekend that afternoon, and she was to stay with a friend. It was curious to her that the porch light was not on. Although victim’s parents were away, she assumed they would have turned the porch light on before they left in the afternoon.

   The house is designed with the kitchen in front, next to the front door. The victim came in, switched on the kitchen light, set down her chicken dinner on the counter. The phone was on the counter, next to the dining room. The dining room connects via a door to the garage. Before she dialed she heard a sound and looked over her shoulder.

     Assailant stood behind her, face covered in a green mask with slit for eyes. He already had a green handled ax raised over his head, ready to bring it down on her.

     “Don’t scream or I’ll kill you,” he snarled in a clenched, hissing whisper. Kitchen-dining

     She froze.

     Assailant continued to bear the ax over her while he reached and ripped the phone from her hand. He yanked the cord from the wall socket. He pushed her into the family room. “Get on the floor. On your stomach.” He yanked her arms behind her and then tied her wrists tightly with shoelaces. He already hard cut the cord from the iron and used that to bind her ankles.

     Assailant left her alone in order to rummage through the house. Then she heard the sliding glass door to the backyard open. After a period of silence, she heard the living room drapes being opened and closed.

     The phone in the master bedroom started ringing. This caused the assailant to halt and remain silent. He quietly pawed over to her. When the phone stopped, he was standing silently over her.
Black tennis shoes
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     She suddenly jolted as he hissed through clenched teeth. “My car is just a block away,” he whispered. Then he added, with a sinister warning: “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll kill you.”

     He stepped away and started to cut strips off a towel with a scissors.

     She watched him. His prowling eyes did not leave off her as he walked back toward her with the towel strips ready.

     She begged him not to hurt her.

   “I’m not going to hurt you. I just want your money.”

     “Really?” she replied with relief.

     “Just do as I tell you,” he snarled.

     Assailant gagged and blindfolded victim with the cut strips. He then rummaged about the house. Then it was silent. Victim believed he had found what he wanted and had left. However, apparently the assailant had padded up to her. He suddenly snipped scissors next to her ear, jolting her. The second time he did it he used the ax blade. He padded up after a period of silence and suddenly jolted her by running the cold blade over her neck. He rummaged the house again. She heard closet doors slid open, drawers emptied in the kitchen. Silence again. Then, suddenly, the cutting sounds of scissors by her ear.

       Phone rang again from the master bedroom. Victim counted 30 rings.

     Assailant was by her side again. He removed the gag.

     “When is your family coming home?” he demanded.

     She told him her sister was at a friend’s house and her parents were in Tahoe. “Please don’t hurt me,” she begged again.

       “Shut up!” he snapped.

       He was kneeling by her feet, and soon his gloved hands removed the cord binding her ankles.

     He now whispered through his clenched teeth: “Have you ever fucked ---- [personal name]?”

     Victim was near to panic. “No, please!”

     He undressed her lower body. Assailant tossed pants over the lamp shade to dim the light in the room.

     “You have a beautiful body, don’t you ---[personal name]?” She did not reply. Angrily he demanded with a hiss: “Don’t you!?”

     Victim sniveled. “Yes.”

     He placed his penis in her hands and ordered her to “Play with it!” He bragged it was about 8 inches long.

     He raped her. 

     Assailant left her side and ransacked the house some more. He then quietly returned and raped her again. This followed a number of times. He raped her in various positions.

     Victim was a virgin.

     The rape was cut short by the victim’s girlfriend, the same girlfriend with whom she was going to spend the evening. Worried about the lack of the victim answering the phone she came by to check. It was 11:40 p.m. She rang the bell and knocked on the door. Rapist escaped out into the backyard. Victim heard a thud on the roof.

Investigation

Investigators arrived to see the cut cord and shoelaces on the family room floor, and victim’s pants on the lamp shade. A quick check proved he had pried garage door to gain entrance. Searching the backyard with their flashlights uncovered several good size 9 shoe prints, with zigzag pattern soles. Flashlight beams swept over the roof, illuminating a Vaseline jar, the source of the thud the victim had heard. Assailant had thrown it on the roof when he fled. The Vaseline jar did not belong to the house. Sheriffs also discovered that the assailant had left Nike-herringbone4the ax on the backyard fence. He had drunk a Dr. Pepper and left the empty can in the yard. This must have been during one of his breaks in between raping her.

     Despite The EAR bragging about his organ being 8 inches long, victim assessed it to be like a hot dog.

     Victim’s driver’s license and 2 of her rings, along with her sister’s school ID, could not be found. EAR had apparently taken them during his roamings of the house.

     Victim’s residence had been receiving hang-up phone calls for 6 months. On one occasion the mother, angry at the frustrating calls, blew a whistle into the receiver.

     A bloodhound picked up EAR’s scent in the backyard, followed it through the side gate, across the neighbors’ front yards to Ellenbrook Drive where the dog quickly vectored indicating it had lost the scent. EAR must have parked here. According to Lt. Richard Shelby (Hunting a Psychopath) the dog had stopped at 2626 Ellenbrook, which was essentially behind the victim’s house. According to Lt. Larry Crompton (Sudden Terror), it was only a few doors around the corner (or Dolecetto) which would actually be a blind spot at the corner of Ellenbrook and Dolecetto (There is no 2626 Ellenbrook). Crompton’s recounting makes it sound as if the house was on Dolecetto across from the canal. Shelby states it is Benny Way. (See Analysis below).

   At the point where the bloodhound vectored, a gray 1966 or 1967 Chevy Belair station wagon had been parked off and on for the last month. The car would disappear for a few days and then return. No driver/subject was ever seen. 1966-belair-stationwagon

     Ax belonged to the house.

     The EAR might have been waiting for a while on the property of the victim. The neighbor behind the victim’s house had noticed that his dogs were growling outside between 8:30 and 9 p.m. that night.

Perpetrator Description

Balaclava-frontseamAssailant was about 5 foot 8 to 5 foot 10 inches in height, young, in his late teens to mid 20s. Victim assessed this height when he pushed her into the family room and walked alongside her. In her high heels they were pretty close in height, making the EAR about 5 foot 10 inches tall. Canvas dark green jacket. Shoes were dark, no heel tennis shoes, zigzagEAR-March18-supposed pattern.

     There is contradiction about his type of mask. Lt. Crompton says it was canvas. Shelby said it was a tight balaclava (slit for the eyes). The latter appears to be correct. According to a Sheriff Memo submitted on May 2, 1977, the victim here got a clear frontal view of her assailant. It is not stated when, but is must be deduced here that it was through the blindfold before or after the assailant orally manipulated her. To do so he would have to stretch the eye slit area of the balaclava down and hook it under his chin. The composite that was made, under hypnosis, shows this visage. Victim also said he had a young, round face. However, the visor area of a tight balaclava hooked under the chin would create this appearance, even in a man with a longer face.

     In order to maintain the chronological narrative, it must be underscored here that this composite, right, was done under hypnosis. It was not released contemporarily. It was used behind-the-scenes by the sheriff sketch artist to do a highly anodyne “artist conception” that was released on May 19, 1977. For an in depth look at the composites, refer to Witness in Charcoal. Little faith was placed in a sketch done under hypnosis, one reason why it was never released.

Geography

The house was one row over from an extension of the same canal EAR had used before. The same canal runs behind La Loma, Dolecetto Drive, and Los Palos. Like with victim No. 6, the EAR struck a house opposite the street and not on the canal.

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His only strike in Rancho Cordova in 1977. Dolecetto Drive, too, was on the canal via which he had stalked No. 6 on La Loma Drive.

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House

The house is a single story, detached middle class home like in the previous attacks.

Analysis

This is a particularly significant case. This victim had been receiving hang-up phone calls for about 6 months, which is the longest so far that any intended victim had received them. This places the phones calls beginning late September or early October 1976, near the time when Victim No. 6 was attacked quite far away on La Loma Drive. Although far away, the houses are at the opposite ends of the same canal in this area. The strikes are nearly identical. The houses in question are on the opposite side of the street from those homes whose backyards on the canal..

     However, the canal did not directly play a role in that night’s tragedy. Nevertheless, it still represents a curious tactical element that EAR frequently used. In a Summary drawn up by a sheriff’s department investigator (possibly Jim Bevins) on December 8, 1977, the writer noted under the section heading Nearby Terrain that “Unfortunately a compilation of locations abutting open areas was not made. From memory only, it seems that a preponderance of victims’ homes offered escape routes through open fields, schoolgrounds, parking lots of apartment complexes, the levees of the American River, or concrete lined drainage ditches.”

     This is true many times, but not here. Yet the canal is not a coincidence either. Rather EAR had used it to stalk the community months before. Those hang-up phone calls testify to his interest in the community some 6 months prior already. One reason why he remained so faceless was that he stalked a community from afar and used such tactical allies like a canal to his advantage. When EAR started refining his choice of what victim to take, he came in closer. We see that here. It was not an escape route anymore.

     According to Crompton, the bloodhound left the side gate and went past a few of the neighbor’s homes and then rounded the corner to Ellenbrook where he stopped. According to Shelby the bloodhound stopped at 2626 Ellenbrook. This is confusing, for that part of Ellenbrook, though behind the victim’s house, is quite a distance into Ellenbrook.

     However, the accounts of the escape mutually agree. Thus it would seem certain EAR had jumped the backyard fence and bee-lined it for his parked car. The only way to reconcile the accounts is to accept that the scent the hound had picked up was the route by which EAR had come to the house and not the way by which he had fled.

     In support of this surmise is the witness account of a 15 year old neighbor girl across the street. She recalled seeing a young man walk over the victim’s lawn (about 9: 30 p.m.) and then up to the side gate. She was disturbed by this and locked the windows and door and went back to watch TV but did not call the sheriffs.

     Put together this suggests a curious similarity to EAR’s actions at Thornwood Drive in the case of Victim 14. He had parked behind the victim’s house there as well, though there is no proof he did that the night of the attack. Rather if Shelby’s memory serves, he walked around the block and waited under the corner house’s tree. It would seem easier and safer under the cover of dark to just jump the neighbor’s fence behind the intended victim’s house. Apparently he did not do that at both of these locations.

     In the case of No. 6 EAR had not been interrupted. He merely left again through the side gate and must have walked down the street to a car or followed the levee to another part of town where his car or lair was.

     EAR must have kept quite a complex ledger of phone numbers of intended victims, considering that he had been calling this residence since Fall 1976. He also must have done an incredible amount of stalking, enough back in the Fall to have selected a few viable victims, obtain their phone numbers, and commence the hang-up calls to determine their family schedules.

     Victim #15 had obviously been a target for quite some time, but possibly not the exclusive target, as others had received the hang-up phone calls. One neighbor had been receiving them at various times of night and day from mid January to late February. Moreover, one neighbor with 2 teenage daughters had found one of their bedroom windows wide open 5 days before the attack. Pry marks had been found, but it appears no one had entered the home. These teenage girls had been away from the house for only a couple of hours and perhaps EAR was just then trying to enter and fled at hearing someone enter the house again. In February last, the neighbor reported that a man with a nylon mask had peered in her window while she and her husband watched TV.

     These reports fit with the reports of the old Chevy station wagon seen parked off and on for a month prior to the attack. Indeed that very night, at about 11:05 p.m., an old Chevy, judged at 1972 chevy stationwagonbeing 1972 or newer, was seen pulling away from the curb by a young man who was sitting in his car down the street. The car pulled out normally. It did not speed away. It does not seem that this incident is related. EAR was still in the house at this time, and the street this happened on (whether Dolecetto or Ellenbrook) is not even given in published accounts. (Shelby says it was on Ellenbrook, reported by a youth driving home to his Garrett Way address.)

     A certain hesitation should be maintained about these cars and young men and their association with EAR. At the time of some of these reports EAR seemed to be using an old faded yellow side step Ford. (Shelby says that such a truck was also seen on Malaga Way once, at the corner of Ellenbrook, with a young man in it writing something down.) EAR certainly must have had access to old cars, but if all the reports are to be believed he seldom overlapped them, that is, though he stalked many communities in advance, one community reports a certain type of old car, like the Chevy station wagon here, or the old side step Ford around Thornwood. If all these were driven by EAR, then along with his ledger of phone numbers he kept a complex list reminding him what cars he used in what communities and then used only that specific car in that community.

       The differences in masks seems answered by Richard Shelby. Although his memory is sometimes questionable, the belief that this victim saw the EAR was corroborated by the Sheriff Department Memo of May 2, 1977.

     Apparently, EAR had no weapon on him at all. The ax came from the house. This would become his MO in his murders beginning in 1979, but it is best not to jump ahead here.

     In other rapes, the EAR told patently misleading things, like “I live down the street”; “I’m going to Bakersfield”; “I only need money,” etc. However, in this case he said he was parked only a block away, which in fact turned out to be true.

     Much investigation was directed at this incident for another reason:

     That very day, March 18, 1977, at 4:15 and at 4:30 p.m. a male phoned the Sheriff’s Department, saying “I’m the East Side Rapist.” He then laughed and hung up. The caller had held the receiver far from his mouth in order to disguise his voice.

     At 5 p.m. precisely, the same male voice called again, saying: “I’m the East Side Rapist and I have my next victim already stalked and you guys can’t catch me.” He hung up.

     It should be noted that the almost exclusive term for the rapist was East Area Rapist in print media. Only occasionally was he referred to as the East Side Rapist, and this in the Sacramento Union

     Credence is given by some to this being the actual rapist since Victim #15 certainly fit the bill of being an intended victim for that night. It may merely be coincidence.

     In all accounts of this incident no mention is made of how close this area is to the supposed location of Attack No. 8 on Los Palos, again raising the concern about that incident’s exact location.

     With this attack, the east area of Sacramento started on its path to the panic that would seize it in May. The Bee, which had been marking each new case on maps, released the map below. Each “X’ began to highlight the predator’s turf. It also began to highlight how unrelenting he was.  

15th-Bee Map

Files on the EAR/ONS

QQ

Preliminaries

Introduction

A Word About Rape

   Notes on Personal Investigation

Logic verses Instinct

The Folklore of “Copycat”

Updates

 

Prehistory

The Summer of ’76

Victim #1
— The Beginning—
Rancho Cordova

Victim #2
—Careful Selection—
Del Dayo

     Victim #3
— Foiled Attack—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #4
— Violent Improvisation—
 Crestview

   Victim #5
— Selected Target—
 Citrus Heights

Victim #6
— Curious Tactics—
 Rancho Cordova

     Victim #7
— Baring Down—
 Del Dayo 

     Victim #8
— Interrupted Arrival—
 Rancho Cordova

Analysis of First 8 Strikes

Victim #9
— Revealing Mistake—
 Citrus Heights

Victim #10
— Fair Oaks—
 Undaunted

  Living Dangerously
— The Year of the EAR—
1977

Victim #11
— Cats and Fields—
Sacramento

Victim #12—
 Blind Spot Reveals—
 Citrus Heights

Victim #13
— Unexpected Jogger—
Carmichael

Ripon Court Shooting

 Victim #14
— Over the River . . .
and Through the Woods—
  Sacramento

Victim #15
— Tactical Misuse—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #16
— Opportunity Knocks a Clue—
 Orangevale

Victim #17
— Unexpected Spoke in the Hub—
 Crestview

Victim #18
— Moving Upwards—
La Riviera

Victim #19
— Presentiment
 of
 Impromptu Danger—
Orangevale

Victim #20
— Blind Spot
 and a
Stop Watch—
 Citrus Heights

Victim #21
— Tactical 1—
Del Dayo

Victim #22
— Tactical 2—
South Sacramento

Panic!

  After the Lull—
1977’s Autumn of Fear

 

Victim #23
— Tactical 3—
 Stockton

Victim #24
— Switcharoo—
 La Riviera

Victim #25
— Follow Diablo—
 Foothill Farms

Victim #26
—  Dump Truck Biker—
 Carmichael

Victim #27
— Condo Commando—
La Riviera

Victim #28
— Tail of Diablo—
 Foothill Farms

Victim #29/30
— Assault!—
 Carmichael

Maggiore Double Murders
— Critical Clue—
 Rancho Cordova

   Yet Another Year— 1978

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       Witness in Charcoal

Victim #31
— Distant Roaming—
 Stockton

Victim #31B
— Back to Rancho—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #32
— Little Pocket, Big Clue—
 South Sacramento

Victim #33
— The Deep Dig—
 Modesto

Victim #34
— Co-Ed—
Davis

Victim #35
— Back—
 Modesto

Victim #36
— Forth—
 Davis

Silent Victim
— Lateral—
 Modesto

Victim #37
— Forth North—
 Davis

A New East—
 Contra Costa Corridor

Victim #38
—  Surreal Schedule—
 Concord

Victim #39
— Opportunity Kicks—
 Concord

Victim #40
— Cats and Fields Again—
 San Ramon

Victim #41
— The Way to San Jose—
 San Jose

Victim #42
— Sobbing in San Jose—
 San Jose

Victim #43
— Danville—
 Playing it Close

 

   No Stopping Him— 1979

Lacing with Ligatures— Thunderbird Place

Victim #43B
— Auld Lange Syne—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #44
— Along the 680—
 Fremont

Victim #45
— Follow the Cats—
 Walnut Creek

Victim #46
— Sticking to Routine—
 Danville

Victim #47
— Walnut Creek—
 Dig and Retreat

Victim #48
— Shouted Out—
 Danville

Victim #49
—  The Unsuspected —
Goleta

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Murder
—Original Night Stalker—

Goleta
— Doctor Duo—
 Dec 30, 1979

Ventura
— Cats & Murder—
 March 13, 1980

Laguna Niguel
— Exclusive—
August 19, 1980

Irvine
— Home Alone—
 Feb. 6, 1981

Goleta
— Dig & Retreat Again—
 July 27, 1981

Irvine
— Epitome of MO—
May 4, 1986

 

         Phantom Predator—
  Analysis of EAR Crime Spree

       Analysis of EAR Prowling MO

Portrait of Terror

The Lair of an Arch Rapist

     The Mystery of the Silent Dog

Phone Calls

Thwarted!

Persons of Interest

Introduction

RP

MRL

 

Night Predator
Files on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker

The Website of Gian J. Quasar

Contact