If this is legitimate and pans out that he is the Golden State Killer/Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist…
I know I’ve suggested the similarities before, It’s still a stretch to be sure…
It isn’t uncommon that a child may fear the night, the darkness, the feelings of loneliness and isolation can often leave a child afraid of the dark. Not adults, especially married couples. The family home is supposed to represent ones sanctuary, our feeling of security in this ever-turbulent world.
The last place one would expect to encounter evil of the highest order. One’s home is the place they go to escape their fears, not meet them standing at the end of their bed when they awaken. Be free of the outside world, not confront it’s worst in the middle of the night.
In this day and age it may even seem inconceivable to some that a man can rape approximately fifty women and murder ten people and not be apprehended before a case reaches the unimaginable heights that it did. Surely someone would notice a trend in behavior, a physical characteristic or even the general description of The East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker or even more recently The Golden State Killer.
As quickly as he would appear in the Northern California night, he would vanish. Leading many to believe there was some kind of connection with the military or law enforcement. How else could one disappear so quickly into the night without some kind of special training?
Officials may argue that it does not take being in the Military of being a member of Law Enforcement to acquire these skills. Personally, I’ve found it hard to read or study something that requires such a high degree of skill to be as successful as this suspect was and remain undetected.
Through my own time in the Military, we are trained to account for so many different variables and so many different scenarios in urban environments that I find it hard to believe that he successfully evaded capture without successfully completing some kind of professional training where he could account for Police Patrols, Witnesses, or even Family members breaking routines and being home when he believed they wouldn’t be.
Attention to detail is paramount in these scenarios. Not just the locations of the buildings but which direct they face, the number of windows from which we can be seen and what I will call the surrounding avenues of movement. Such as alleyways, side passages around the home and their adjacent properties. We are trained to take all of this into account when planning our movement into and out of the area, even when a single structure may have already been identified as holding our target.
Growing up in Australia, The Case of Mr. Cruel comes to mind in some ways when I think of this suspect. Both were brazen to the point they were fearless in their attacks. Even now there exists no accurate description of the suspect outside of some generalities that describe nearly every grown man in their respective cities.
Height ranging from 5’8 to almost 6ft tall and Caucasian, Tell me that doesn’t describe nearly Average Joe in your local community. You could walk around your neighborhood and could you honestly tell me that you didn’t pass multiple people that fit such a general description? Another similarity is that both would whisper when communicating with their victims. Perhaps disguising some kind of accent or maybe a highly recognizable voice. I could be wrong but one cannot tell me there isn’t at least one person in their lives whose voice they wouldn’t recognize without seeing their face.
Perhaps there are even multiple voices that one might recognize without a face present. Personally I could name at least a dozen people whose voices I could recognize with a few mere words. From my best friend who always talks really fast to my mother’s thick Australian accent to a lady friend who has the laugh of a 4-year-old girl. This has always stuck in my mind as something the offender was trying to hide.
Even Mr. Cruel seemed to hide his voice according to police reports in that he would whisper to his victims in giving commands. Perhaps to disguise a speech impediment or an accent that may lead victims to be able identify him.
I know I have already documented my thoughts on this case in the past. However with all the information that has been made available on this case in recent years given the extra attention the FBI has brought to the case of the now aptly named Golden State Killer. I’ve started to think how may I have solved this case had I have been involved in this case despite not even being born at the time of his last confirmed attack.
This isn’t to say the original investigators dropped the ball in any way. In fact I feel they did the best that they could, given the resources and technology they had available at the time. Especially in the days before the Internet to help departments and investigators communicate in their efforts to apprehend the offender. This is simply my look in hindsight as to who the offender might have been.
First off, after watching both The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over and Unmasking a Killer. Linda, one of his victims in Sacramento, unfortunately represents something that I have always thought was a dangerous way to solve this case but possibly the best option.
Returning home with her husband one night, they were greeted by the neighbor’s children who told them that there was a man who had been in their backyard. They proceeded to ensure nothing was out of the ordinary before settling in for the night. Then later that night the man who had been in their backyard returned and it happened to be the East Area Rapist.
When the Green River Killer case was in its heights and the investigators were looking for any angle they could get to solve the case, Ted Bundy of all people reached out to them to provide insight into catching this offender. Famed Investigators Dave Reichert and Bob Keppel flew from Seattle, Washington all the way to Florida to speak with him when they realized they had nothing to lose in speaking with him
After all, who would have known a serial killer better than one himself?
During their talks he suggested that the best way to catch “The Riverman” or so he called the Green River suspect, was to find a fresh crime scene, stake it out and catch the offender red handed. Years later when the case would be solved with the arrest of Gary Ridgeway after he was identified as the Green River Killer, one thing turned out to also be true, Bundy was right in observation in that the killer was reliving his fantasies by returning to the scene of the crime.
Although the circumstances and Modus Operandi of these cases are different, Linda’s case or those similar provided the best opportunities to catch this offender. Discover a home that may have been possibly staged for an imminent attack by the East Area Rapist and stake it out.
I know this would have been extremely dangerous and caused a potential hostage situation. It was already known that the suspect would shoot if cornered. However, with no accurate description of the suspect and his well documented ability to evade any kind of law enforcement patrol or trap. This may have been the best albeit dangerous option to apprehend the subject by catching him in the act.
Outside of Linda’s story, I know of another case when a woman came across precut ligatures hidden in her home. Understandably she became wracked with fear. Investigators could have used opportunities like these to lure the offender into a trap and catch him red handed.
Again I understand the danger of this ploy in that it could create a hostage situation and we were already aware that the suspect would shoot in any attempt at self-preservation if needed. So I could understand why it would take a braver person than I to volunteer to bait the offender in such a short period of time.
But if Law Enforcement could indeed have caught a house that had been staged before the offender had struck, then they could have laid a trap even across a block or even neighborhood that could have possibly trapped the offender.
Part of what made this offender so successful is his ability to escape into almost thin air because his victims never really knew when he exactly he ex-filtrated from his crime scenes. Often by the times the victims had broken free he made have already have left an hour prior to them being able to call for help.
I drive a hybrid vehicle and even then with an hour head start on law enforcement, I could be at least an entire county away or even further before the first responders had arrived on scene. This of course plays into my point even as dangerous as it may have been. The best solution to catching this offender may have been in the act of returning to a pre-staged location.
In saying this, I could only imagine how difficult it would be to find people willing to subject themselves to playing the bait in this concept. Whether it is the intended victim or someone else laying in wait to lure in the suspect for him to be captured.
Hopefully the police officers laying in wait would have eyes on him as he approached the residence or before he even entered the premises to prevent a hostage situation from taking place. Still however I feel as if this were the best opportunity to catch the offender given his ability to simply disappear into the night.
This is not to underestimate the levels of fear and paranoia that I am sure gripped the local communities during these times. I can only imagine that these levels of extreme fear and paranoia only helped to protect the offender in that any sign of him would have driven those who detected a trace of him even to the slightest degree would have withdrawn into greater levels of paranoia and left law enforcement in the dark.
Perhaps Police already tried this idea but I still feel it was their best opportunity. If there were one thing that I would have done differently it would be to ensure that the officers laying in wait were not in the home as to not alert him to their presence. Lay listening devices or motion traps or what technology you have available, just something out of sight.
I was just watching Unmasking a Killer, a series a highly recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in this case and Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Office Member Larry Crompton spoke of how a woman found a pre cut rope under her cushion on her couch one day while going about the course of her daily routine.
They then staked out this house for three nights waiting for him to return however I feel as if this were an overzealous attempt in what I feel should have been done. When I mean stake out the suspected target house, I don’t mean wait inside it specifically, perhaps wait in the adjacent homes and listen to everything going on in that house over a radio.
One of the reasons I will always believe this suspect was either Law Enforcement or Military because if there is one thing that is emphasized over all phases of training, it is attention to detail. To be as successful as he was in evading capture, his attention to detail would have been unbelievably high.
In saying that, I believe that he would have known something wasn’t right in the house if he did return to strike. That something wasn’t right, perhaps he saw someone he didn’t recognize through a window or a car or vehicles out of place and even if he didn’t know it was law enforcement, then it perhaps his intended victims had visitors and would be unable to control all of them.
Profiling was still in its infancy and we can only continue to adapt our profiles of this offender given the ever-evolving nature of behavioral science and psychology. Still the limited amount of substantiated facts in this case leaves the most seasoned investigators at a crossroads in investigation.
Hindsight is a great thing but it still leaves us at the questions of who is the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer and where might be now? This I attribute to my fascination with this case above many others that I still look into from time to time.
Another opportunity I have felt that may have lead to the identification of a suspect lied in the personnel stationed at the Air Force Base neighboring the Rancho Cordova Area. Mather AFB has been closed since 1993 but if there are still personnel records kept of who was stationed there at the appropriate times.
This provides multiple motives in the murders in the case of Brian and Katie Maggiore. One I have always considered is that after Brian went to confront what he believed was a prowler, he recognized who it was and well we all know how far this offender was willing to go in terms of his self preservation.
Some still believe that this case is unrelated to that of the EAR/ONS/GSK. But I wonder then why outside of extreme coincidence that investigators would find a pre cut ligature identical to that we know the rapist would utilize would be found at the murder scene.
I’ve also read reports that theorize that the Maggiore murders were a drug related incident and that a drug trafficking ring was operating out of Mather AFB. I can’t discredit these reports but can only speculate that the suspect may have been involved with that ring and only served as an additional motive wanted to silence Brian who recognized him as someone stationed at Mather AFB.
The connection to Mather AFB also reminds me of something from my childhood and why the offender spoke through clenched teeth. Growing up in Australia, my grandparents lived about an hour outside of Melbourne down by the beach after they retired. However the house next door would have military families from other nations who were out there on temporary assignment. I made friends with their children and sometimes went with them to see their father at work at the local military installation.
Rather than being a member of the United States Armed Forces, maybe he was one sent here by a foreign military to multiple installations across the California Coast. When he was eventually recalled, he went back to his native country and either ceased his crimes or continued them unbeknownst to their local authorities.
This is why I would wonder how deeply the Mather AFB personnel records have been scrutinized over the years in regards to potential suspects. Who had come and gone onto other stations within California across the relevant time periods. Perhaps they had even returned to their native homeland and pulled some strings to return to California.
I know from my own experience that the further you move up the ranks, the more control you have over where you become stationed. Also the more an individual picks up in rank, the less interaction one of a lesser rank has with said individual which in turn would make it easier for one to hide their deviant personality from those they interact with.
Many less questions asked when you are gone for long periods of time throughout the days, giving this offender plenty of time to conduct his surveillance and preparation for his attacks. Then he would return to work and it would be like he never left. Given his clear levels of athletic prowess, perhaps he was an officer who would simply say that he was leaving for something important and the enlisted personnel wouldn’t dare question why he had left.
To my original point, I’ve always believed that the murder of the Maggiore’s is the key to solving this case. Not only this offender’s military-like infiltration and ex-filtration from crime scenes but the effort he went to into ensuring not only Brian but Katie did not live to tell the tale of what they saw.
Unfortunately we may never know what they saw and if it were not for the piece of pre-cut twine, then perhaps this would have never have even been connected to this suspect. Still as a Military Police officer as Brian was, someone needs to look into the Mather AFB personnel records and who he may have dealt with either on a day to day basis or who he may have had some kind of legal involvement with.
Perhaps this avenue of investigation has already been pursued and just not been publicly talked about. But I’ve always wondered if there is more than just an overzealous Brian trying to protect his wife or community from a dangerous predator, or perhaps he saw someone he came across someone he had prior dealings with and it would have only been a matter of time before he made the connection and reported him the proper authorities.
With the release of the Unmasking a Killer series also came the speculation as to which of many of the composites are most likely to be that of an offender. Three that almost seem to be a different person in each instance and from all accounts can only be sketches that of an individual who was spotted in the vicinity of the crime scene at the approximate time of the attack.
Still along with these composites they also touched on the possible connection to the case of the Visalia Ransacker. A serial burglar who is believed to be responsible for a string of burglaries in Visalia, California and the murder of a father trying defend his daughter. Claude Snelling was a college professor who awoke one night to a masked figure trying to abduct his daughter.
Coming to her defense like any father would, the masked figure drew a weapon and murdered the man before assaulting his daughter and fleeing the seen shortly after. This much like the East Area Rapist would in the coming months, sent his respective town into a panic with law enforcement on high alert. Unfortunately this case shares the same result as that of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer, with an unidentified suspect fit with a very limited composite sketch and physical description.
5’10, approximately 200lbs and age ranging from his early 20’s to early 30’s, almost identical to that of the East Area Rapist who would surface months later in Sacramento. While there are some obvious differences between the composites such as the rapist being describes has more athletic while the ransacker was of a more stocky appearance.
This discrepancy makes me think of myself in many ways. Approximately in August 2014, I walked into a Marine Corps Recruiters office in my hometown. At the time I weighed close to 200lbs, I’d just moved here from Australia less than a year prior and had to try all the fast food places that I’d only ever heard about on television commercials.
But my recruiter told me before I could even enlist I had to drop 10lbs. Between then and January 2015, I lost approximately 20lbs so that I could enlist and then I had to lose another 10lbs to ship out to boot camp at MCRD San Diego in April. Over the course of the 3 months of boot camp, I lost probably another 10lbs and graduated weighing around 155lbs.
After graduating boot camp, I checked into Combat training at Camp Pendleton before spending approximately two months at Camp Johnson in North Carolina. So in all my first six months in the Corps were spent with nearly every waking hour having my “down time” being managed by my chain of command.
It wasn’t until my MOS school at Camp Johnson where I even got my first real taste of liberty and some actual “me” time. But we still had curfews, even on the weekends.
By now, you might be wondering why might I be telling you this. Over this approximate six-month period, I had almost no control over my spare time and this leads me to think back to the possible connection between the Visalia Ransacker and the East Area Rapist.
Could the approximate six-month gap between the disappearance of the Ransacker and appearance of the Rapist be explained by his enlistment in the Military, completing of basic training and his MOS school before receiving orders to be stationed at Mather AFB upon his completion of the basic military schooling programs?
I honestly believe that this scenario must have been examined already but until someone can confirm that, I will leave it as food for thought regardless.
Basic military training does wonders for ones physical appearance and fitness. I could show you pictures of me from the day I first walked into my recruiters office and the day I graduated boot camp. I felt like two different people.
Looking back on my time I wonder if the same could be said for this offender. Did he enlist in the Armed Forces out of Visalia and then become stationed in Sacramento where he devolved even further and became the East Area Rapist. He realized that trying to remove the female from the crime scene was too difficult after murdering her father.
In the time he was dormant, he received training in how to control and restrain his victims from the Military along with how to infiltrate and ex-filtrate neighborhoods without being detected. This of course on top of the improvements in his physical conditioning which that of the East Area Rapist was particularly noted.
While this would discredit my earlier point that he may belong to a branch of a foreign military, with these cases remaining unsolved for such a long period of time, I write this outlining many avenues I have considered since I first came across this case many years ago.
Still, I feel the military angles of this case provide perfect explanations of why he lay dormant at various periods of time and only to surface in new places. Sacramento, Contra Costa County, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Irvine and Dana Point all have gaps between their occurrences that could be explained with military service whether it is a domestic or foreign branch.
Profilers have often suggested that he would have struggled to take orders given his obvious A-Type personality that he appeared to exhibit. Still as I do believe such has a point has validity, this suspect has been very effective in separating his personal life from his deviant sexual fantasies otherwise I cannot help but think someone would have come forward by now and at least put a name forward.
Much like BTK or Ted Bundy cast disbelief into those who knew them best when they were brought to justice. I feel this offender has been more successful than any serial offender before or after him in living a double life. Perhaps in his personal life, he is more submissive to a more dominant authority figure.
Placing dishes on his victims back as a warning mechanism is a tactic I feel that could have only originated in two places. Service in the military or being submissive to a more dominant personality that this offender had been abused by at some point prior in his life to being known as the East Area Rapist.
Did someone that abused this suspect and perhaps be the origin of his anger use this to keep him suppressed somewhere or was it something he learned in the armed forces to keep a prisoner subdued?
We may never know until the suspect is unmasked and if he chooses to cooperate with investigators into every dark aspect of his crimes. Many serial offenders often choose to retain what they perceive as control by leaving detectives hanging in regards to the details of their crimes. In surrendering information to answer the cries for help of the victims or their relatives, they somehow feel as if the last remnant of their control of the situation is gone.
Control, something every individual aspires to have over their life and in this case, he achieved it on multiple levels. Both physical and psychological when you factor in the scope of his crimes and the MO of this offender, he had total control over his victims.
There is only one known case as far as I am aware of where a victim chose to defy this offender. Given this was in his early stages of his crimes, one could argue that it may have his attributed to his obvious hatred for women.
Defiance in the face of absolute terror, denied this suspect of what he desired most. Control and absolute dominance of those he had selected, stalked and now confronted with something he did not expect. Indifference to his methods that had instilled fear into his victim’s prior and after this case, personally I can only define this as an act of immense bravery.
Perhaps if other victims can set aside their fear of this individual then maybe that will spark a clue buried in their memories that will help bring this case to a close. That sounds as difficult as any task I can imagine but maybe that’s where the solution lies.
In returning to my point of this article to present areas of investigation I believe of consideration if they haven’t been already. I said that I believed that the investigators did the best they could with what they had available at the time, and I still believe that no matter how much I learn about this case.
From when I started writing this months ago unto today, I believe this offender pulled the wool over peoples eyes better than Ted Bundy did on his Republican Party friends in his home state of Washington when he was first arrested. Someone who that if they were arrested for these crimes tomorrow, even the most noble of people would spring to their defense and attest that they were innocent.
Perhaps an upstanding member of the law enforcement or local military community because if there is one thing about the Maggiore case that I will always attribute to being the gateway to a resolution in this case. Self-preservation was one thing that nobody doubts was high on this criminal’s list of priorities given that he had already shot a young high school track star that thankfully survived while trying to flee after being detected.
After Brian confronted the suspicious individual that he saw, why else would this offender go through the lengths that he did to take out both Brian and Katie unless both could have later identified him? While I am not entirely sure how the encounter with the suspect played out, it seems unlikely that after he finished struggling with Brian that he had a reason to chase down Katie unless there was something to hide.
This would have only left him exposed longer. After the first shots which struck Bryan, what was to stop a neighbor from coming out with a weapon of their own and shooting him? Given the levels of fear and paranoia within the community, gun sales had spiked dramatically.
Even with extra locks and firepower in their homes, residents of the affected communities still did not feel entirely safe. We also know that he paid attention to local news media’s reports on his activities, so that brings me to the question of why did he go through such extra lengths to murder Brian and Katie?
Self-preservation, something many profilers speak as paramount to this offender and it is easy to see why when you study his actions. Yet it strikes me as odd that he would stay on a scene long enough that after being confronted by Brian which surely created some level of noise without interference until he shot him but he still tracked down Katie and killed her too. Why would he have taken such a risk in terms of exposure if it were not to cover up a loose end?
In the time it took to carry out this tragedy, he surely could have been exposed multiple times. Maybe he was just carrying out his deranged fantasy and was enraged that it was interrupted. I have also read that Katie was being stalked apparently in recent time but I struggle to believe that this offender would have killed her before carrying out his complete fantasy. Once she had observed him following her, could have only made sense for her to connect her stalker to being the East Area Rapist?
Perhaps we will never know, but I would like to reiterate my desire to see if Brian’s case files had ever been looked into for suspects. Investigators and Profilers have both suggested that this offender was so arrogant that being in the military and having to take orders would have made him struggle to perform in such a line of work. If that were true, could the East Area Rapist be a service member posted to Mather AFB that was arrested or at least looked at in some legal regard by Brian before being either separated for bad conduct.
That would have given him unlimited time to dedicate to his efforts to prowling for victims and terrorizing neighborhoods. Sure he needed a place to live and some kind of income to support his efforts, which may lead into some aspect of the construction industry theories as to his identity.
His time in service as brief as it may have been could have lead taught him a great deal in surveillance, infiltration and ex-filtration of an area. Then for some reason related to his conduct could have lead him to being separated from the armed forces and into a field that has opportunities to work off the books and tax free.
Working on a construction site, perhaps through a contractor could explain why even with exploration into this avenue of investigation has revealed nothing. He may have worked off the books which has a result keeps his profile within the wider community potentially lower than it would have been if he were a more recognized employee that gave his services on the books.
Maybe even a white-collar consultant who simply visited a variety of different neighborhoods across the state of California. Before my time in the military, I worked as a consultant on a variety of projects in my field without ever officially being involved with a project in that a record was created to prove my involvement.
I’d quickly jump on board; give my advice on a project presented to me and as quickly as I became involved, that would be the end of my involvement right at that moment. I gave my two cents and left as quickly as I had arrived on the scene. Therefore perhaps the offender had a similar introduction into the areas that he struck.
It would be harder to maintain a white-collar job, if one were to have been separated from the military for a discharge in the level of anything but honorable. But Forty-years after the fact and given the impact of the Vietnam War on the population, perhaps it were easier to manipulate the circumstances into their favor given the less than favorable social and political outlook on the conflict.
The construction theory to me will always be a byproduct of the Military angle in my personal opinion however. Maybe I am wrong and if you can provide concrete evidence to substantiate your claims in the event of identifying a suspect, I welcome such claims.
The victims and their families deserve long overdue closure to this case that has disrupted if not tormented their lives. Even those who have dedicated some aspect of their personal lives to finding resolution in this case or a solution to one of this offenders media epithets without making a connection to another one this offenders aliases.
Being wrong has never been something that I have been afraid of. If you have evidence disproving anything that I have mentioned then I welcome it in favor of providing closure or some form of resolution to those personally affected by this case. So if you are someone that believes that they know the identity of this suspect or even someone that they think might be the Golden State Killer, there is a reward waiting for you…
Perhaps not as much as you may think but I promise you that the emotional satisfaction of being the one that solved this case will compensate for any financial gain might have received.
In closing, at first I wanted to issue a callout to his suspect, something I have always found ironic if not humorous about this case. But not only do I not want to disrespect the victims of this case, I do not want to endanger the safety of a victim or potential victim given the unresolved nature of this case.
All I will say is that the path to your identity is out there and if you are reading this, you are not untouchable. Someone out there knows who you are, it is only a matter of time before they either put it together or turn you in before you carry out your deluded fantasies out again.
Regardless of the outcome, these are just the strongest avenues of investigation that I feel that should be pursued. Maybe they already have been investigated and my opinions are outdated before I voiced my opinion.
Still one may take the chance of bringing such an opinion to the forefront in the hope that this suspect will land behind bars and that the case of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer will meet a resolution and his victims can move on with their lives.
Perhaps I am wrong, which I am willing to be if it means a resolution to this case. However until then I will continue to provide my opinions towards the identity of the suspect until someone delivers a name with some concrete evidence behind it…
Until that day comes, I’ll look at evidence and say to you that your arrogance has left you vulnerable. Perhaps not to that of todays investigators and their techniques, but that of those incoming with your MO and Identity already plastered across their desks…
A story tragically as old as time. When a young person with a bright future championed by their ambition is cut down before one could argue they had even reached their prime. Mystery only adds to the tragedy of situation, nobody having answers to where something so promising went so horribly wrong.
Jodi Huisentruit was a promising news anchor in Mason City, Iowa for the local CBS affiliate KIMT. Graduating from St. Cloud State University with a major in Mass Communications and Speech Communication as a member of the class of 1990. A native of Long Prairie, Minnesota and the youngest of daughter of Maurice and Imogene Huisentruit, Jodi began her career as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, before settling in as the bureau chief for KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
She would once return to her home state of Minnesota to pursue an opportunity at KSAX before returning to Iowa to take her position at KIMT. Many believed she aspired to one day make her way to the big city and become a prime time news anchor with national recognition on a major network.
However this would all come to a sudden halt when she failed to show up for work on the morning of June 27th, 1995. Producer Amy Kuns, noted that at 4:00 AM and with no sign of Jodi, something was wrong. She called Jodi at home and informed her of the situation. Jodi noted that she simply overslept and was on her way to work.
When hours passed and there was still no sign of Jodi, Kuns would fill in for Jodi on the morning show while the network called law enforcement after the show was complete. Jodi had been late before but this time something seemed to be different to those who knew her.
Upon their arrival at her home, they found her red Mazda Miata still parked in the lot. However there was evidence that suggested a struggle had taken place just outside the car. The officers would then find Jodi’s personal items scattered about the immediate vicinity. Although they would acquire a palm print from her car that remains unidentified to this day, this was the genesis for a mystery that remains unsolved Twenty-two years later.
The neighborhood canvas unveiled little other than neighbors hearing screams around the approximate time Jodi would be leaving for work. They did discover reports of a white van shining its lights in the parking lot around the same time and the van or its driver and/or other occupants have never been confirmed or identified.
Perhaps the dark side of fame had finally caught up to the ambitious young professional. Was she being followed by an obsessive viewer?. A bent key was found on the ground near her car to suggest she was grabbed from behind as she was unlocking her vehicle. More of her belongings would be found spread across the parking lot, as Police would later reveal.
Where is Jodi? A question that burned in the minds of all Jodi’s friends and colleagues at the news station but remained unanswered. Nobody was beyond question. A colleague, a viewer with an obsession, every angle of investigation was being considered. The disappearance even had her coworkers on edge in that they could be next.
Mason City Police considered every possible avenue. They would even welcome the support of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But in reality anyone who owned a television set could be considered suspect. Suspects even included convicted rapists who would vehemently deny any involvement in the case.
Time passed and every thing would return to what one might perceive to be normal. A tree remains out front of the KIMT offices dedicated to the life of a young woman who dreamed of reaching the stars but had it tragically taken away from her.
Leads would continue to come in and of course they were followed up with investigators doing their due diligence. While their confidence in finding a resolution to this case would never waiver even until this day, that resolution is yet to arrive.
At the famous age of 27, a young, bright and ambitious professional had her dreams snatched away form her by someone. Their motives remain as murky as the outcome of this case. Even State Representative, John Kooiker voiced his opinion on the case in recent years and suggested that the resolution has been found but suppressed by other city officials.
Regardless of a cover up or not, a beautiful young woman had her life tragically cut short. A suspect still remains at loose today and does not deserve to die with an honorable name. He or she must be held accountable for their actions and it is only my hope that I see this happen…
The Springfield Three – My Thoughts
It’s been 24 years since Suzanne Streeter, Stacy McCall and Sherrill Levitt disappeared from Sherrill’s home in Springfield, Missouri. Throughout all the speculation and conjecture put forward by Law Enforcement and various media outlets, this case remains unsolved and no trace of the women has ever been found. It is hard to even argue that a crime was even committed.
However, we will never know for certain given the number of people who had passed through the home in the time before the authorities arrived. Leads have continued to come in and the vague allusions of one Robert Craig Cox have done nothing but feed the rampant speculation surrounding this case and now all that I can do is unfortunately add to the speculation using the little facts that have been made available.
First of all, I fail to see the risk of law enforcement using the ground penetrating radar to excavate the Hospital Parking lot to see what is buried underneath it. If there is nothing, you have just followed another lead through to its conclusion and you are still in the same place you are now.
A detective could make a career for himself if he were to crack this case and if he were to dig up the relevant section of the parking lot and find the remains of the three missing women. I find it hard to believe that this could be a case of three runaways could have remained undetected for over twenty years especially two teenagers without some kind of foul play being involved.
Given that the only indication of a crime was the broken porch light that family members unknowingly cleaned up. We will never know if they innocently destroyed a valuable piece of evidence. Coupled with the slow response brought upon the lack of evidence of a crime and obstacles in the investigative process. Police were never able to paint a solid time line of the night they disappeared and the events preceding it given the inconsistent stories witnesses provided.
Robert Craig Cox to me has provided no real evidence to suggest he knows anything legitimate about this case. It could just be the classic case of a criminal injecting themselves into an investigation where if they cooperate with the proceedings by providing information Police desire to get a better deal for themselves. Perhaps it is simply to boost their own ego as the renewed media attention as the spotlight for their past crimes has drifted onto a new offender.
It is not uncommon for repeat offenders to have an insatiable need for the spotlight to be focused on them and what better way for Robert Craig Cox to keep the attention trained on him than to claim allude to be party responsible or to have some knowledge to the solution of this matter.
As the case grew colder, people seemed to buy into this with hook, line and sinker regardless of the amount of legitimate or even unsubstantiated claims. Now he claims he won’t reveal what he claims to know until his mother has passed. I can respect wanting to save ones mother the heart ache but at this point he has nothing left to lose. Either way he is going to be in jail and should just put this matter to rest, that would require him to have some decency which I doubt he has of course.
In closing all I can do is urge local law enforcement to reconsider their stance on digging up the section of the parking lot in which irregularities were found. At this point it seems like it is the only lead they have to go upon or at least the only one that is public knowledge. Otherwise and as much as I hate to suggest it maybe offer Robert Craig Cox some kind of deal contingent on the resolution of this case being reached. If it turns out that he lied all along, which I often suspect he has been doing, then charge him for whatever else he can be charged for.
In the 1980’s along a historic parkway, the cliche Hollywood horror film was being carried out in the state of Virginia. Beginning in 1986, over a three year course four couples were murdered along the Colonial Parkway and to this day – this case remains unsolved. Were these cases connected? Was a Serial Killer responsible? Perhaps we will never know…
The series began on October 12, 1986 when a couple was found brutally murdered in their car. It was a popular spot for couples given the seclusion this particular spot provided. However somebody managed to find Cathleen Thomas, 27, and Rebecca Dowski, 21. While they enjoyed each others company, the suspect approached the car and caught them off guard. He then forced them from their car and tried a number of different techniques to murder the two women before strangling and cutting their throats. They would be found days later stuffed inside Cathy’s car after it had been pushed down an embankment.
Before pushing the car down the embankment the suspect had made a futile attempt to set the car alight using diesel fuel and matches. The level of violence displayed by the killer shocked many of those involved with this case. It lead some to believe that this could only have been committed by someone who knew both of the victims and had some form of score to settle. Both of the victims former partners were investigated but never charged and there was no evidence of sexual assault. This lead some to believe a far more sinister scenario…
The drivers side window was rolled down and Cathy’s wallet with her drivers license lay on the floor just next to the door, giving birth to the theory that the suspect may have been a Park Ranger or another form of authority figure. Investigators found complaints against a Ranger from a number of women that claimed he had harassed them and made a variety of inappropriate comments towards them. However, the Ranger in question was interrogated by Police but never charged.
Some may have thought this terrible tragedy as an isolated case until almost a year later, the unthinkable happened again. September 22nd, 1987, David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, stopped at another lovers lane along the James River only 20 miles South from where the Dowski-Thomas murders took place. At some point during the course of the night a suspect must have walked up to their car and forced them to exit the vehicle. Again the drivers side window was rolled down partially but this time the terror would play out differently.
Knobling and Edwards were marched into the woods at gunpoint by the suspect and were eventually gunned down in cold blood. The scene suggests that Robin was killed first and after realising was happening, David tried to make a run for it before being cut down the killers bullet. They again would be found three days later lying in the mud. David’s truck was first found abandoned before their bodies would be located by David’s father.
Some were skeptical that these two cases were related given the different approach taken by the suspect to commit the crimes. That debate still exists today. However those who do believe in the connection believe the suspect was in a stage of evolution in his approach to murder. They particularly note that much like the former, the state of the vehicle suggests the couple had an encounter with an authority figure of some kind. The partially rolled down window might suggest to some that they thought it was mere routine encounter with law enforcement and thought they just wanted to question them. Could it have been a Park Ranger, a Police Officer or worse – Someone impersonating one…
Someone who approaches the car with a torch pointed towards the car much like Police Officers do. Given the level of control the suspect exhibited in someone forcing both couples from their vehicles before carrying out his crimes. It is not hard to procure the necessary items to impersonate a member of law enforcement, particularly if you only need a few moments to establish control over a couple sitting in a vehicle. But by this point in the investigation, detectives had no idea that shroud of darkness that has enveloped this case would only continue to grow.
On April 9th, 1988, A Third Couple were believed to have been murdered when Cassandra Hailey, 18 and Keith Call disappeared while driving along the Parkway. On their first date together, they were going to the movies and then to a party at the university. Around 1.30AM, Keith and Cassandra were seen walking through the parking lot as they left the party. What happened next? Perhaps we will never know…
The next morning Keith’s father would find his son’s car abandoned next to an overlook along the Parkway, not far from where Cathy Thomas and Rebecca Dowski were found murdered almost two years earlier. After stopping to observe the car, he noticed the keys were not in the ignition and there was no trace of Keith or Cassandra. But that would not be the case when the investigators would arrive at around 7.00AM.
When they arrived to the scene, Keith’s car was littered with items of clothing belonging to both him and Ms. Hailey. Which could only lead to one conclusion and that is somebody had returned to the vehicle after forcing both Keith and Cassandra from the car. Initially they believed that the couple had gone swimming in the lake and drowned and would be found in a few days. But even then they felt that theory was a stretch given the incline of the hill down to the lake next to where the car was found and how cold the water was at that time of year.
Even so the idea that a serial killer being active at this stage of the series was yet to be considered so without a body, they had almost nothing to go on. But when days turn into weeks and weeks to years, the mystery of what happened to Keith and Cassandra that night along the Parkway remains uncertain. However, the only conceivable option is that they encountered the same individual responsible for the Knobling-Edwards and Dowski-Thomas murders in years past.
This would not be the last time the suspect would strike. On the 19th of October 1989, hunters found the bodies of Annamaria Phelps, 18 and Daniel Lauer, 21 in the woods near a rest stop along the Interstate 64 between Williamsburg and Richmond. Ms. Phelps was helping her Dan move into from Amelia County into the home she shared with her boyfriend, Dan’s elder brother, in Virginia Beach.
But as the next morning came and went, nobody had heard from Anna or Dan. Their vehicle was then located but on the opposite side of the freeway from the direction they were travelling. Some would suggest that this would indicate that the killer used Dan’s car to dump the bodies. A theory further supported by the vegetation found underneath the vehicle matched to that of the surrounding woods. But by the time they are found, much of the physical evidence had been washed away by the elements. All they were able to determine was that it was likely the victims were stabbed by the perpetrator.
However, one of the most consistent trademarks of the suspect was apparent. The slightly rolled down window suggesting they had stopped to talk to the suspect as if he were some of law enforcement figure. Maybe it was a Park Ranger, Maybe it was a Police Officer, but to this day nobody knows. By now one thing was apparent to all those involved, a serial predator hunting apparent young lovers along the parkway.
Even to this day, that is all we know. There isn’t even a composite sketch of the suspect. The closest thing to even identifying the suspect we have on record occurred the night Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey disappeared. Keith’s older brother was driving home late that same night and noticed a dark coloured van speeding away from the same area of where his brothers car would be found only hours later.
No suspects have ever been named in these crimes, only theories as to who the offender was. Families have been left in complete disarray by these crimes and it appears we are no closer to a resolution. Some even believe that this was not the work of a serial killer despite the similarities in each of the cases. Some believe that the Dowski/Thomas case was a hate crime.
Almost ten years later, some believe the suspect struck again. In May of 1996 at the Shenandoah National Park, another couple was found brutally murdered in a manner that resembled the Dowski/Thomas murders. Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were a couple simply seeking an escape to a place where they could be together and enjoy each others company.
Until an evil, sadistic individual had other ideas. The couple would be found with their throats slashed from left to right – just like the Dowski/Thomas case a decade prior. Albeit nearly 200 miles from where the Dowski/Thomas case occurred, one cannot help but wonder if the two cases are related given the obvious similarity in the modus operandi of the offender.
Perhaps these cases are all unrelated except for the Williams/Winans & Dowski/Thomas cases and we are hunting multiple suspects rather than a single individual. But one thing should remain constant in the minds of all those who ever research this case, that no matter if it is proven to be one offender or multiple, the victims and their families deserve the justice that they have sought for the past nearly thirty years.
Maybe one day we will know the truth in its entirety, but until then all we can do is hope. Hope that Law Enforcement finds whomever or whoever was responsible for these heinous crimes and will be bought to trial. One thing remains certain in this case and that is that five couples were murdered and that each deserve to see justice. Regardless of whether it is with this prosecution of a single individual or multiple, Ten young people were taken just when they had the world at their fingertips and they deserve to have their voices heard in a court of law.
Terror in the Night – My thoughts
Who was the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker? That question has baffled detectives across the state of California since the debut of the suspect in the late 1970’s where he began preying upon the women of Sacramento County. Now thirty years later the case remains unsolved. Now not only do we wonder who he is, but where is he now? Since his assault of Janelle Cruz in 1986, Investigators have been unable to link the offender to an assault. Despite a crusade lead by Detective’s Larry Pool and Larry Crompton to bring closure to this case through continued DNA testing and measures to maintain levels of awareness about this case, there has never been another assault linked conclusively to the same perpetrator. Naturally this leads us to wonder if he is still alive or locked away in a prison somewhere for a lesser charge.
If the latter is true then we may be faced with the terrifying reality that this offender may be due for release back into society and be free to continue his horrific deeds. He would be able to claim the lives of more innocent people. Detective Pool has spent much of his time testing the DNA of many California prisoners in an attempt to unmask the phantom suspect. However those efforts are so far yet to provide the answers sought.
Another possibility speculated in a profile of the offender by the FBI is that the offender is dead by either his own hand or as a result of his crimes. Given the lax nature of gun laws in the United States it is possible that the offender was killed whilst attempting to carry out another offense. Although the profile emphasizes that there is only a small possibility that this is true, I do believe investigators in the counties surrounding the various crime scenes to examine cases of attempted burglaries that resulted in the death of a lone male suspect and finally identify the suspect.
My opinion however, differs from that of most investigators. I freely admit that I hold no qualification in any relevant field and I am in no way affiliated with any law enforcement agency. I am simply offering the conclusions I have reached upon watching countless documentaries and news reports on the case along with reading numerous articles. While I do believe it is possible this offender is dead or in prison, I believe the reality is far more terrifying and that is the suspect is out free amongst society and free to strike again at any moment of his choosing.
Some way wonder if that were the case, Why haven’t we been able to link him to another crime since 1986?. I would simply counter that speculation by referring them to solved cases such as that of BTK, The Green River Killer or even an unsolved case like the Colonial Parkway Murders. The one thing all of these cases have in common is that the offender ceased committing their crimes at some point during the series and disappeared without a trace. I am aware to meet the criteria that of a serial murderer that the crimes must undergo a “cooling off” period between each offense but these offenders stopped committing their crimes completely.
But like these offenders, perhaps the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker underwent a change of circumstances in his personal life that prevented him from carrying out these offenses. Maybe he found another way to satisfy his grizzly urges. But that provides little protection from the frightening truth. The suspect could be somebody’s neighbor, friend, boyfriend, or even husband by now. He could have children or even grandchildren.
All we know is that the suspect was between 5’8 and 5’11 in height, caucasian with an athletic build. The suspect in the Goleta murders also had neatly kept blonde hair in shorter length. After fifty rapes and ten murders that is all the various agencies were able to determine. Despite the various composite sketches of the suspect, credibility of each of them has been doubted over the years as confusion over whether anyone ever actually managed to see his face still continues to this day.
The methods he used to prepare for his offenses such as prowling and breaking into the home prior to striking often suggested he had form of tactical training. The assaults were carried out in almost a stealth like fashion serving as a testament to his ability to remain unidentified during his reign of terror. One may wonder where he received this training and of course he may have done so through simply reading on his own. Of course that is a most plausible solution but I have always suspected that the truth was far more sinister.
After looking into the behavior of the offender and his MO, I have become a big proponent of the already popular theory that the offender was either a member of the local law enforcement agencies or even a member of the armed forces. Could a man entrusted by a community to protect it from such heinous individuals actually be the one committing such acts?. Given the modus operandi of the offender it is highly possible but we may never know.
It was not just the tactical precision in which these crimes were committed that made me wonder about this well-documented theory but also other aspects of the offenders behavior also. During the earlier days of the rapist’s reign of terror, the Sacramento County Police held town meetings to inform the public of the dangers currently lurking within their community. It was at such gatherings that a man who was in disbelief over the actions of the offender made such notions clear by voicing his thoughts to the entire audience.
However the reality of the East Area Rapist would become clear to him soon after the meeting. Approximately one month after he made his disbelief known to those present, The man and his wife became victims of the ghost haunting their community. Now this just may have been an astronomical coincidence, but could the rapist have been present at the meeting? Many have speculated that the rapist attended the meeting to see if the police had any solid information on him and target potential victims, however I feel as if the truth was much worse!
Putting this assault and the behavior of the offender together, I believe it is highly likely that the offender was not at the meeting as a member of the audience but the law enforcement representatives. I highly doubt he spoke at the meeting or was a lead investigator by any measure but perhaps he was a deputy or something along those lines simply standing around observing the room. Then as the meeting concluded he may have followed the man who spoke home in a squad car that would be less likely to arouse suspicion.
A patrol cop would also hold access to information regarding the patrols conducted by the task force dedicated to catching the phantom-like predator. He may have been given access to the routes and areas that the patrol would focus upon then use such information to find gaps in the strategies used. Then he could be free to strike almost at will and right under the nose of law enforcement. What could be even more terrifying is that after committing the sexual assault and fleeing the crime scene, the offender could have been one of the responding patrol officers.
Victims may never have known who the rapist was even if they had heard him speak. Nobody has ever appeared to have ever communicated with the suspect in a normal speaking manner has the all that was ever reported was that the rapist conveyed all of his messages through a hissing-like whisper. Therefore he could have arrived in response to a 911 call after the assault was complete and nobody may have been able to recognize they were dealing with the same individual who had just fled their property. That is just the frightening possibility in it’s worst case scenario.
Personally I do not believe to that to be true but given the mysterious nature of this offender and how much he enjoyed toying with his victims, anything is possible. All I am stating is that I believe the offender had some form of connection to the local law enforcement agencies. A military connection can also not be ruled out given the mobility of the offender as his crimes cover nearly the entire state of California.
The signature diamond knot is known for having usage amongst sailors and other water related activities so perhaps it would be a worthwhile task for investigators to run the established DNA profile of the offender through military databases and through any database featuring profiles of law enforcement officers. I recognize the controversial nature of such a measure but after all these years the victims and their surviving relatives deserve closure by any justifiable means.
I hold the highest levels of respect for those who serve their country and understand their concerns over the invasion of their privacy. However if one were made aware of the reasoning of such a measure, they would surely be willing to allow testing to be undertaken. I realize I am only conveying a theory with limited evidence to support it but the behavior of the suspect and the complex knot he employed.
While I was writing this final piece on this case a reader contacted me offering another theory I felt also had merit. Investigators often noted that houses where the offender struck were either undergoing renovations of some kind or were in the process of being sold. Suggesting that the offender was some kind of tradesman or construction worker also holds legitimacy in that victims often suggested the offender knew the layout of the home and the investigators often find that the crime scene had been prepared ahead of the eventual assault.
Perhaps the offender simply broke into the homes before his return later in the night, or perhaps he studied the layout of the home as he worked on the property and prepared the scene. As one could imagine the sales of security related equipment increased substantially during the East Area Rapist’s horrifying crime spree. The suspect could have been a tradesman who came to install such equipment and in doing so took the time to survey the property. However the only real link I can find to support this theory is that when Cherry Domingo and Greg Sanchez were murdered. The investigators learned that during the previous afternoon the agent showing the property to perspective buyers noticed a gentleman come in and scope out the interior of the house. What the agent didn’t notice however was that the gentleman was likely responsible for the removal of a window screen that was the likely the point of entry of the murderer.
As a point of pure speculation while researching this case I considered the reason the offender made such an effort to conceal his normal speaking voice is that at least some of the victims may have had an earlier encounter with the offender and may have been able to identify him. This would fit perfectly with someone who had some reason to have visited the house previously and interacted with his victims or even a prominent law enforcement officer.
Again this is all still pure my own speculation and the possibilities are endless. The Diamond Knot which became part of his signature has many applications, from dealing with animals to being tied by sailors. The stacking of the dishes on the male victims may stem from child abuse or simply something he discovered on his own when looking for away to restrain the male victim.
Personally I feel as if the theory of the offender having some kind of involvement with law enforcement or the military as having the highest likelihood of being the actual outcome. Many attacks were located in area’s with military installations in nearby suburbs which would provide an offender with a safe haven to escape into. Today the offender could be working in a more senior role amongst the armed forces or law enforcement or even retired such work.
All we can do now is sit back and wonder if the offender is even still alive, we don’t know and we may never know. Larry Pool and Larry Crompton still maintain interest in this case and if anyone who reads this may and feels they have evidence to contribute can still make a difference by contacting the law enforcement agencies in Sacramento County or Orange County. Although the statute of limitations has expired on the rapes meaning the offender can no longer be prosecuted, there is no such statute for the murders.
Hopefully one day someone can finally unmask this cunning and sadistic predator and finally give closure to his many victims and their families. As I conclude I would like to acknowledge those who provided me with the information to write this series of articles: Larry Crompton and his book Sudden Terror, A&E Television’s Cold Case Files Episode #46, THS and MSNBC Investigates documentaries on this case.
One day this man will be found…