Terror in the Night – Part 2

Terror in the Night – Part 2

The Rapist Returns – September 6th, 1977

Despite being dormant all summer, Detectives in still spent many hours investigating the case of Sacramento’s sudden terror. The East Area Rapist had not been heard from or linked to a single case for the duration of the summer period. That however would change on the morning of September the 6th, 1977, when the attacker moved into a new neighborhood almost an hour away in Stockton.

Detectives still working the case received a call from the Stockton PD and after going over the preliminary reports they became increasingly convinced they were dealing with the same man. The behavior of the offender eerily mirrored that of the rapist from Sacramento, from waking his victims with a flashlight and holding them at gunpoint with the threats of death to the methods used to bind the victims and the dishes that were placed on the male victims back.

Just like in all of the Sacramento cases also, the victims failed to get a proper description of the offender and reported that he attempted to disguise his voice. The female victim reported that the rapist seemed to have erectile problems and that he may have brought a rubber penis with him, which had also been reported in various assaults in Sacramento county.

There was still lingering speculation that it may be the work of a copycat, however the detectives investigating the case felt as if the MO employed here was too similar for it to be the work of another individual. The attacker had become even more brazen with this latest assault as two young children were present in the home while their parents were assaulted by the rapist.

While canvasing the area, the officers found shoe impressions in the backyard of the victims home and also a few of the adjoining properties that were later identified to be Converse All-Star tennis shoes. Along with the standard reports of barking dogs and strange cars being seen near the area day prior, this was a significant development for law enforcement given the continued lack of evidence left behind at the previous scenes.

While under hypnosis, one of the daughter of the latest victim believed she saw a tattoo that investigators later established to be the Schiltz Beer Bull on the rapist’s arm. Despite leaving a knife behind at the scene also, no finger prints were recovered as the intruder wore gloves at all times. Overall this attack provided authorities with much of the same old information but the tattoo and the sneakers finally gave the investigators something else to move forward with when investigating new suspects.

Almost a month later the East Area Rapist returned to Rancho Cordova, claiming his 24th victims when he assaulted a seventeen year old girl who was at home with her twenty-one year old partner. Just a few days prior to this assault the female victim had undergone an abortion and had been staying with her boyfriend and she had not been feeling well until the rapist struck.

Just like in many of his previous assaults, the victims shotgun that had been kept next to the bed was discovered to be unloaded by the crime scene technicians. The shells were found to be lined up under the bed, most likely by the rapist while the victims were not home. Police had been becoming increasingly concerned as the victim count grew and his behavior deteriorated that the individual responsibly for these attacks had the ability to kill his victims. Now one can only wonder if he would have killed these victims had they had been able to reach for the shotgun as he was already beginning to taunt victims by placing his gun to their heads and cocking it before backing away.

While stealing the belongings of his victims, the attacker began taking photo identification belonging to his female victims and would use it to make harassing phone calls even months after the attacks. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to trace the phone calls, many victims reported to be continually harassed and while the rapist continued to strike almost at will. One of these calls was captured on a victims answering machine and all it consisted of a growling voice whispering insults and threats of death before hanging up.

Perhaps it was the already deranged offenders way of prolonging the victims terror and prevent them from rebuilding their lives. Reminding them that they were still his hostage and that he was still out there watching them. Eventually all that the police were able to ascertain from these calls was that the rapists behavior was deteriorating and that it may only be a matter of time before he turns to murder to satisfy his sadistic desires.

2/2/1978 – The Maggiore Murders

A young couple were out walking their dog one night in Rancho Cordova, enjoying each others company and the warm weather. Police speculate that all was well until the male victim, Brian Maggiore must have noticed something suspicious about an individual he spotted in the area. As a member of the military police one would assume he felt like he could hold his own against most others and decided to confront the suspicious individual until things took a turn for the worse.

The suspect drew a weapon and aimed it at Brian, forcing he and his wife Katie to flee for their lives down the street. In an attempt to hide from the man who gave chase, they entered the backyard of one of the homes along La Gloria Avenue. The owner of the property looked out his window to see what could possibly be causing such commotion at such a late hour. To his horror all he managed to see was the suspect catch up to Brian and shoot him at point blank range in the chest before continuing the chase for Katie.

Katie made it as far as the adjoining backyard before the suspect caught up to her and shot her in the same way he just shot Brian. While still being watched by occupant of the first house, the suspect calmly exited the scene down the side of the house next door. Another witness emerged from one of the adjoining homes and almost had a confrontation with the suspect who calmly looked at the witness before turning away and fleeing down the street.

Speculation ran wild in the early days of the investigation about the identity of the suspect. Some suggested that the murderer was the East Area Rapist simply by the location of the crime. But it wasn’t until pre-cut bindings that were discovered at the crime scene and the specialist knot tied in them that provided a definitive link to the masked maniac. The bindings featured the signature Diamond-Knot of the man who had already claimed approximately thirty victims and may have just recently graduated to murder.

The Rapist Moves South – 1978

Police worked with the witnesses of the Maggiore Murders on developing a composite sketch of the suspect. Some still had their reservations that this was the work of the man who had been terrorizing the local area for over a year now. However after the new sketch of the Maggiore’s killer was released, the rapist disappeared once again. This time however, with a twist.

Claiming his thirty-second victim on the 14/4/78, a teenage girl. The rapist claimed his last victim in the area that had been his stomping grounds since the beginning of this terrifying series. Similar to other serial offenders such as Ted Bundy, the East Area Rapist had already shown to be a highly mobile offender with his attacks in Stockton. This time however, he would take that characteristic to a whole new level. On the 6/5/78, the suspect struck in northern parts of Modesto.

Normally a place with a small town atmosphere and low crime rates, the man who had terrorized the state’s capital for almost two years made his presence felt when he attacked a married couple while their child slept in the next room. Despite being in another jurisdiction, Sacramento detectives were quick to arrive on the scene and talk to the victim. They informed the local authorities that the MO of the attacker was identical to that of their serial offender and began to share all of their existing information with the local agencies.

Modesto was not the only suburb to fall prey to the deranged assailant. Within months of his arrival, rapes with similar profiles began occurring in other places including Davis, Concord, San Jose, San Ramon and Walnut Creek. Contra Costa County was now experiencing the same terror that the had plagued the Sacramento suburbs for two years and but in some cases it got worse. With each case attributed to the suspect, the fear that the next time he struck the victims may not survive.

The overall demeanor of the rapist continued to become increasingly bizarre. The he would make became increasingly terrifying and the way he would particularly treat the female victims when a man were present suggested his hatred for the gender was only growing with each assault. The psychotic assailant was beginning to add elements of physical torture to this already psychologically torturing experience.

Victims were reportedly gagged after being bound so tight that it cut off the blood circulation. In addition, the rapist was beginning to physically assault his victims whilst being in control of the scene. Investigators would find victims suffering lacerations and bruises along side the rape that was reaching almost forty separate cases over half the state of California.

In many of his cases he was still taking the belongings of his victims at the conclusion of the sexual assault. In his latest cases he had stolen almost fifteen hundred dollars from one victim and the wedding bands from another couple. Amazingly however, all of his victims were fortunate enough to escape with with their lives.

His final attack in this area occurred on the 7/5/79 in the suburb of Danville when he stalked another couple in the late hours of the night. This time was different however. The husband, who along with his wife were aware of the East Area Rapist, had a plan incase he ever attacked their home. Incensed by the thought of a man preparing to their home to rape his wife, jumped out of bed confront the attacker and appeared to catch him off guard.

Rather than carry out his common threat of “blowing their *expletive* heads off”, the rapist seemed stunned by the husbands display of courage as his wife was able to exit the scene. The man reported to police that at as he lay in bed he heard a noise outside his house and realized that a prowler was lurking outside his bedroom window. After looking into a mirror he saw a man placing a dark colored mask over his head and holding what appeared to be shoe laces.

Upon jumping out of bed he proceeded to shout obscenities at the individual. These seem to startle the suspect who seemed to become disorganized. Completely disregarding the possibility that the suspect may be carrying a weapon, the man continued his tirade towards the suspect knowing his wife was out of harms way. The man’s wife had made it to the front of the property to call for assistance and it was not long before neighbor had alerted law enforcement.

The suspect managed to flee before the police arrived who through the use of a sniffer dog  picked up on his scent and followed it from the property to where it was lost. However the handler claimed that the dogs behavior would suggest that the scent was only few minutes old. Interviews conducted with witnesses also provided information that helped investigators attribute to the case to the East Area Rapist. A jacket worn by the suspect matched descriptions from other earlier victims.

A neighbor reported hearing a prowler on her porch at approximately 2am before proceeding over the five foot fence onto the property of his intended victims. The man who confronted the prowler also reported seeing the suspect donning his disguise. This begged the question of the rapist becoming so arrogant and confident in his abilities that did he only utilized his veil when he was ready to strike?

This may explain the lack of any kind of weapon being reported by any of the witnesses as the suspect may have placed them aside while covering his face. Back in one of the earlier Rancho Cordova cases a witness noticed a man in a ski mask entering the house opposite her property. This would become just another example of the rapist becoming increasingly brazen, only this time his face was almost seen for the first time.

The Rapist Vanishes Again, or does he? – October 1979

With the onset of October, many of the Contra Costa County officers were expecting the East Area Rapist to strike again. October had been one of his prime periods after a summer of silence. With the exception of the Stockton attack in 77, four victims were claimed in October ’76, three in ’77 and another three in the same month of ’78. They braced themselves for the call of another case matching the all too familiar MO of the offender but nothing came.

Many of the detectives began to feel a level of relief that the offender was no longer harming people in their community. However many felt disappointed that they were never able to apprehend the man who’s victim count that now stood at almost fifty. Almost fifty women had fallen pray to this phantom predator yet there was almost no solid evidence in the case to provide a prime suspect to detectives. Time continued to pass and speculation on the case continued as one of the lead investigators on the case, Detective Larry Compton in Contra Costa continued to work the task force that had been established years prior.

He theorized that the offender had never really stopped committing these crimes but had likely moved to another part of the country as he had already proven to be a mobile offender. It would not be until years later that he would be proven right as cold case investigators managed to link a series of horrific murders and a single attempted murder in Southern California. Through advancements in DNA technology and an MO identical to that of the East Area Rapist. The suspect was about to finally graduate into what investigators had feared for years now, a serial killer…

To be continued…

First Composite Sketch of the EAR

This was the first composite sketch released by the authorities of the East Area Rapist, one cannot determine how accurate it really is since the rapist was known to always wear a mask and no victims ever seem to manage a good look at him in general but the attacker did appear to vanish for a good period of time after its release.

Terror in the Night – Part 1

Foreword:
I have always found crime to be fascinating. Following real-world criminal cases has been my hobby for several years now, in particular following those cases involving serial killers. From the “Son of Sam,” to Ted Bundy, or  the unsolved “Zodiac murders,” each spate of serial murders has captivated me. I love the endless speculation around “the unsolved,” as a student of criminology I can’t help but want to try and solve these cases myself. Yet serial killings are gory by nature, it is not something that everyone can handle. Yet, I’ve become desensitized to it all, instead of seeing brutal murder I merely see the facts, details and statistics. I view these heinous crimes through the lens of an amateur criminologist, I separate my emotions from the cases and seek out the cold hard facts. I will watch even the most gruesome documentaries, read graphics books, or horrible articles and not flinch at all. It has become second nature to me, I fear not these crimes, nor the criminals that perpetrate them. Instead I look to understand the crimes, the criminals, and perhaps one day solve a case-gone-cold.

That is not to say I feel no sympathy for the victims and their families. I can’t begin to imagine the pain these people go through and hope that in all cases they see justice served. But one case in particular in which I read an article while in bed trying to get some sleep, my favorite hobby had the opposite effect. A cold case involving one of the most prolific criminals in the history of American Jurisprudence. I laid awake for hours after putting down IPhone in fear and the slightest noise outside my bedroom window would make me instill a greater level of fear despite subconsciously knowing there was nothing outside.
He was known as the East Area Rapist and later the Original Night Stalker as time passed and he went uncaught, which sadly gave him time to escalate as many serial offenders do if they are not caught. He would break into homes and prepare them for when he would return and bound both the female target and her partner if present before committing the sexual assault. Through DNA analysis he was linked to approximately fifty rapes in the Sacramento Area and ten horrific homicides across various locations in Southern California.

The most amazing aspect of this case is to me is that a proper suspect has never been developed. Beyond the unknown offender profile developed by the F.B.I, there is little information into who the  assailant is or was. It’s been more than twenty years since this offender was last heard from but memories and victims remain. I firmly believe that anything is possible and therefore there must be somebody or something out there that holds the answer to this terrible mystery, even after all this time.

Due to the extensive nature of this case, I feel it is best that I cover it in multiple parts in order to make it easier to read.

Introduction

18/6/76

In the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova on a warm summers night a young woman that happened to be home asleep in her bed became the first victim of a masked intruder who would go on to attack numerous other women in the county and its surrounding areas. She awoke from her sleep to find a masked man standing at the end of her bed blinding her with a flash light whilst brandishing a knife. The man never spoke a word, he simply communicated his evil intentions through whispering to his victims. He proceeded to bind his victim before committing the sexual assault using items he took from her closet before he commenced the sexual assault.

The victim was bound so tight that the blood circulation in her body was cut off through the use of a special type of diamond-knot that would later become the offenders signature used to link him to a vast array of other offenses. He would linger in the house even after the sexual assault was complete and the victim would not freed until law enforcement arrived the next morning. This offender would also help himself to other items around the house by rummaging through the victims belongings.

When law enforcement took the victims statement, she reported that she felt she was being watched as a suspicious vehicle was appearing in the neighborhood on a regular basis and every time she would look to take note of the driver he would conceal his appearance. She also reported that she had been receiving mysterious phone calls where upon answering the call the person on the other end of the line would say nothing and simply end the call after a brief moment or two. However she believed that she was just being paranoid and had nothing to worry about. Even on the night of the attack she received one of these mysterious calls and checked all the doors in the house just to be sure they were locked.

Police later discovered that the attacker had entered through a side window as they checked out the crime scene. The only piece of evidence they could really utilize at the time however was that the suspect was caucasian because when he entered the bedroom where the victim was sleeping she caught a glimpse of his bare legs through the blinding flashlight. She also noted he was approximately 5’9 and that his mask fit tightly while having no nose or mouth holes. Sadly that description would continue while his crimes escalated and perfected his craft.

The attacker began breaking into homes prior to his offense to prepare them for his eventual return. Police would find window screens removed, guns unloaded and phone lines cut by the offender before returning during the night. Detectives also theorized that the rapist would surveil his victims before hand in order to gain insight into their movements in order to further ensure the success of his attacks. The crimes intensified to the degree where the presence of a man or other individuals in the house did not deter this attacker. One might suggest that the presence of multiple individuals at the scene would only further the thrill that this offender gained from the experience.

The Crimes Continue

Over the course of the first months of these attacks the East Area Rapist claimed eight victims in the various suburbs surrounding California’s capital. However the seventh and eight victims were both claimed on the same day which prompted law enforcement to finally inform the general public as to what had been going on in their local community. It did not take long for an intense level of panic to grip local communities such as Rancho Cordova, Carmichael and Citrus Heights. Police began warning the local population to ensure that their homes were secure before going to bed each night and urged women not to spend nights alone wherever possible.

Community meetings were held in order inform the community meetings in order to dispel the extensive speculation and rampant rumors that were being generated by the attacks thus far. Up until now the attacks had been somewhat of an urban legend due to the police enforced news blackout. The gossip included bizarre claims such as the attacker cutting off ears, fingers and even the nipples from his victims breasts. However the police had been reluctant to address these rumors previously due to a lack of evidence in each case leaving them with nothing to really relay to the public.

The paranoia amongst the local population was also accompanied by intense anger towards law enforcement stemming from the widespread disbelief that an individual could commit such actions and leave almost no trail. In particular a man stood up at one of the town meetings stood up and claimed that he did not believe these attacks could not be happening the way they were being reported and proclaimed he would be prepared for the rapist had he broke into his house. However within in a month after that specific meeting, that man and his wife became victims of the East Area Rapist.

Many came to wonder if the rapist had been present during the meeting since many serial offenders before him, seemed to follow the media coverage of his crimes and altered his behavior accordingly. When it was disclosed that the all of his previous victims had been alone or had been home without the presence of an adult male to combat the offender, the offender modified his MO. In the Spring of 1977, the offender claimed his first couple in the Orangevale area. The offender woke the female and forced her to wake her partner before bounding them with his signature diamond-knot.

Apart from the sexual assault, the rapist lingered in the house for hours. He would consume food stored in the house while chewing loudly enough to ensure that his victims would hear it. Throughout the night he would return to wear the female victim was lying to further terrorize them and remind them that they were still his hostage. Upon his eventual departure from the scene the victims were left still bound inside their own home under the threat that if he heard any noise from the victims in an attempted to escape then everyone in the house would be killed.

When the authorities arrived the next morning they were shocked to realize that a male had been home while the offender had struck. A canvas of the area also turned up very little just like in all of the previous East Area Rapist cases. However a witness did come forward stating that after being woken her dog bark at approximately 6AM and upon checking what her dog was barking at she took note of a dark colored car leaving the area and reported that it also had a heavy exhaust but failed to see the driver.

However a Police bloodhound picked up the scent of the attacker and managed to follow it three blocks before it lost the scent. This attack however gave credence to the speculation that the offender was a member of the local law enforcement as another neighbor reported noticing what they thought was a police officer near the victims home weeks prior. When questioned about such an encounter, the victim said she had never spoken to a police officer.

As more of the neighbors were questioned, the police were told by a neighbor that their house had been burglarized approximately two months prior. Despite reporting the incident to the authorities, nobody turned up to investigate the incident further. While another neighbor reported chasing a prowler around the same time out of her backyard and over some fences before losing him. All of the neighbors gave the same description of the suspect: 5’9 or 5’10, Athletic Build and between the ages of 25 and 30 years of age. There was no doubt in the minds of the detectives, this was the East Area Rapist.

The Attacker adds a new Signature – 4/15/77

Almost two weeks after the rapist attacked his first couple, the suspect added a new signature to his already twisted MO. The offender broke into a home in the Crestview area of Sacramento and after tying up both of the victims, he stacked a number of dishes on the male victims back and told him that if he heard a rattle in the dishes he would kill his partner. While his partner was being sexually assaulted in another room, the male tried to loosen the bindings in order to give himself some relief from the extreme pressure the rapist had applied in binding him.

Upon hearing the rattle of the dishes, the rapist returned to the room and placed a gun to the victims head whilst providing one final warning that if he heard another rattle of the dishes he would not only kill his partner, but him as well. This providing police with evidence that the offender was not only becoming smarter in his offenses but he was also escalating in the level of violence committed in his crimes.


The Rapist Vanishes – 5/17/77

It was the dawning hours of the 17th of May when the East Area Rapist assaulted a couple in the Del Dayo area of Carmichael, California. This time however, he raised the level of fear in the community exponentially. During the assault, through his trademark clenched teeth whispering, he told the victims to let law enforcement know he could have killed two people that night and that if he didn’t hear that in the press the next day that he would kill two people the following night.

The man lingered in the house for hours, cooking food while conveying the usual taunts and threats of murder if he heard a single noise. After entering through the sliding door at the back of the house, the MO of the event given to police upon their arrival mirrored that of the twenty previous victims to almost every detail. The well documented 5’9 approximation, athletic build, caucasian appearance and occasional stutter in his voice were reported once again.

A week later he struck again, only this time he told his victims that his threat to kill his next two victims if he heard absolutely anything about this latest attack from the media. However by this stage the police patrols in the Sacramento area organized by the task force that had been established to catch this menacing offender. These patrols garnered much media attention and helped in generating various rewards for information leading to an arrest.

However, the best break in the case may have come after the police were finally able to piece together the numerous witness accounts, the Sacramento police were able to release a composite sketch of the suspect. Coupled with the exhaustive police patrols, this was believed to not only have force the suspect out of the local area but the reason for his disappearance all together for the entire summer period.

A Summer of Speculation – Summer 1977

Not a single attack over the period was attributed to the suspect and of course the speculation as to what had happened began. Did someone kill him during an attack? As one could imagine the fear the rapist put into the community lead to huge jump in the demand for security equipment. Gun sales jumped almost thirty percent in some areas and some began to question whether or not the rapist had been killed during a burglary and nobody had made the connection.

It was also suggested by elements of the population and media members that the rapist was a member of law enforcement and that the investigators had been reluctant to make an arrest and allowed him to continue his attacks. This theory was reported in a number of news outlets and gained credibility due to the MO of the perpetrator. The precision of his break-ins, the binding of the victims and how it was widely believed he was stalking the victims before his eventual assault. But this speculation played into the police holding town meetings in order to dispel such gossip.

However the public’s fear and anger aided the rapist in his crime spree. While responding to one of the assaults in Rancho Cordova, a witness reported that she saw a man wearing ski-mask and going around the side of the house across the street but failed to report the sighting as she knew the rapist was in the community. This was arguably the best chance yet the police had to apprehend the suspect but due to the fear instilled in the public, it was lost.

Leads on potential suspects continued to flood authorities but one by one they were eliminated by police. Women would report suspicious vehicles watching their homes but in cases where the police managed to track down the owner of the car, it turned up as a dead end. Reports of prowling had continually occurred since the beginning of the rapist’s crime spree, fueling the paranoia throughout the community.

All the police managed to surmise this far was that the rapist would stalk his victims for a period of times to establish their movements. He would break into homes and prepare to the crime scene and in one case he unloaded a gun in the bedroom of his eventual victims. In many of the cases police would find window screens removed and theorized the rapist would also use this time to study the layout of the house.

Many of the detectives involved in the case grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress they were able to give the communities affected. However this was also the reason for the lack of initial disclosure about the case as the officers investigating the case had no solid information to convey to the public. But as summer progressed, nobody was able to forget about the man who had come to be known as the East Area Rapist.

To be continued…

Hello world!

Hello everyone!

I’m an aspiring author as well as a true crime buff who has turned to the blogging world as a way to improve my writing skills as well as provide an outlet for one of my favorite hobbies. In doing so I created this blog in order to explore old cases of unsolved crimes from around the world to share my thoughts and get the feedback of others into these fascinating stories. All feedback is welcome and encouraged as speculation about any unsolved crime is boundless and one of my favorite topics for conversation.

First off I will cover one of my favorite cases, The East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker case from the 70’s and 80’s in California. How a lone individual could get away with 50+ counts of rape and 10 homicides is something that I have never been able to comprehend but have spent many hours studying the case and speculating as to who the offender may have been. I’ll do my best to cover as much of the case as I can but as one of the biggest cases in the history of American Crime, feel free to comment and fill in any details you feel should be added.

I aim to be as factual as possible in my research into each case and will look to validate anything I place in my coverage of each story. Again any feedback you may have both positive and negative is appreciated and I aim to reply to all comments on the stories that I cover especially in relation to the speculation about the case you may have.

Yours Sincerely,
Valin