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…
An Outside Look on the Mr. Cruel
It’s been almost twenty two years since the most notorious child predator in the history of Victorian crime struck. Abducting and murdering a young girl named Karmein Chan from her home in Templestowe in front of her siblings. Despite dozens of suspects and countless hours of manpower dedicated to apprehending this individual, he has never been brought to justice. His victims have never been given a final measure of closure in the form of justice and the security knowing that he will never be able to harm anyone ever again.
This series first came to my attention when I was still in high school and I saw a documentary on the case. What helped garner my interest was that it all occurred so close to home. I live in a suburb that is almost a fifteen minute drive from where Nicola Lynas was abducted and returned. I also had friends who lived less than five minutes from the house Sharon Wills was taken from. This series of crimes struck at the heart of the world’s most liveable city as crimes of such magnitude are almost unheard of in Melbourne.
Who was he? What did he do? Where is he now? Why did he murder Karmein? These questions have not only baffled investigators over the years but anyone who lived through this ordeal. Through my research in this case I have developed numerous theories about this offender, all due to the phantom like nature of this offender. There are numerous theories about the suspect over the years that range from a school teacher to someone working in the medical field. All have merit as all the known attacks occurred during school holidays and the way he cleaned his victims before returning them required knowledge well above that of the general population.
Upon the conclusion of my research into this case and using the limited information available to the public, I feel that the theory of a school-related worker may be the most probable outcome. Sure it does not take a genius to know when school holidays are on but if two of the victims attended the same school then surely there is more to it than an astronomical coincidence. I’m no expert in the fields of criminology or psychology but a predator like this would surely of targeted specific victims. Each attack was prepared and conducted with military-like precision. According to Police reports he even knew the victims names in at least one of the cases.
He spent minimal time in the house and was never seen by witnesses as he removed one of the victims from the scene. During each offence he took those present by complete surprise as none were alerted to his presence when he entered the scene. Therefore it is highly likely that such a meticulous individual not only surveyed his targets in the time leading up to his eventual attack but had some form of prior contact. Someone employed at a school in a role where he would have interacted with his victims and access to their personal information to determine their home address.
From there he would have examined the home in order to establish the routine of the residents and how he could carry out his crime successfully. One can only assume he conducted thorough surveillance on the home to establish the routines of the parents and their children. He would examine the exterior of the house to establish his points of entry and exit. The Karmein Chan case may also suggest that he would make an attempt to enter the home beforehand to examine the interior of the property.
Approximately two weeks prior to Karmein’s abduction, A tradesman knocked on the door of the Chan home claiming to be looking for work. I cannot ascertain whether or not he was allowed to enter the property however for the the sake of this article I will assume that he did. He managed to confront the girls on their way to the kitchen and force them back into a bedroom where he was able to contain them and abduct Karmein. I would speculate that he adopted such approaches in entering the property prior to his assault but at a time where nobody was home and successfully avoided leaving any indication of his presence.
The method in which he carried out his crimes may suggest that he had some form of tactical training. Perhaps he had some form of law enforcement or military experience where he learned those skills. As an academic however he could have simply studied the relevant topics thoroughly to the point he had supreme confidence in his ability to apply these tactics while engaging his series of crimes. In their reports on each event, Police would note that each assault was likely carried out with strategic precision as there was never a trace left behind.
Personally, I struggle to believe that he could have been successful in each attempt without some form of prior application of such tactics. Of course I may differ in that I’ve always learned things best by finding a practical use for the subject at hand. However being able to enter someone’s property, particularly when there is proper security installed without leaving so much as a bread crumb for investigators to follow.
Maybe I am wrong, after all many serial offenders are extremely intelligent people. It would be impossible to have eluded detection for so many years without some significant degree of intelligence and control over their insidious urges. Despite the numerous suspect Victoria Police claim to have, there is a shroud of mystery that befalls this case and it may never go away…
I will never be one to promote conspiracy theories or seek to bring myself attention through controversy however my next claim I feel may prove controversial to some. The second and third victims, Nicola Lynas and Karmein Chan both attended Presbyterian Ladies College in the suburb of Burwood. Yes, like I have previously stated that this could just be an astronomical coincidence. Still in the Nicola Lynas case he made her go into her wardrobe and take her school uniform.
Was this part of the man’s twisted fantasy? Sadly we may never know. Still I cannot help but feel compelled to believe that this was the indeed part of such a warped mind. Somehow he would have seen her wearing her uniform and from then on began on a dark path of formulating a twisted fantasy that culminated in Nicola’s abduction. I do not know if he made a similar demand to Karmein during her abduction but the mere fact they went to the school is too hard to ignore.
Perhaps he wasn’t a teacher but there was surely some connection. Maybe a janitor, administrator or even a volunteer worker in some capacity. In doing so he would have exploited his position into accessing the student records to learn everything he needed to about his future victims. This would be the prelude to his well documented preparation for the eventual abduction.
Now more than a decade later, there are more questions than ever. What seems to be a trademark of Police across Australia in playing their cards close to their chest by revealing only small portions of information about the overall case and their suspects which I often feel reduces the ability of the public to assist with the case. However I’m sure their reasons are perfectly sound but if much of the information available now was released closer to the times of the crimes then perhaps I would not be writing this piece now.
Maybe one day we will have the answers we seek and closure for his victims and their families. Perhaps we will finally unmask the possibly the most notorious child predator in the history of Victoria. The sad and terrifying reality is that it may take his return into the public eye before enough interest and memories are triggered amongst the public to reveal his long sought identity. Until then we must put our faith in the ongoing efforts of Victoria Police and hope that they can put a name to the masked menace that was Mr. Cruel…
How could one describe an attacker who would abduct a child from their home in the dead of night in any other way than cruel? Even if one could look past the heinous actions demonstrated towards the child victim, imagine the anguish the parents would experience in their inability protect their child or fear of never seeing them again. A profiler would suggest dubbing this man as a cruel individual may be counter-productive to the investigation, but a human being may find it perfectly fitting.
In the 1980’s, what is considered today as the world’s most livable city of Melbourne, fell victim to a notorious pedophile that would later become known as “Mr. Cruel.” He would strike in the still of night, abducting children to commit his twisted fantasies before abandoning them in obscure locations. Using military like precision, he would enter the home and steal a child right from their bed. Today however, this series is remembered for its horrifying and tragic conclusion.
All one can do now is wonder. Wonder who he was? Where is he now? How has he been able to get away with such crimes? Perhaps we will never know. But like the age-old saying goes “anything is possible” and like the X-Files slogan – “The Truth is out there.” All we have to do is find it. Finding the truth provide closure to the numerous victims and an identity to a notorious child killer.
The Victorian Police have withheld much of the information of the information about this case, including the number of offences this man is believed to be responsible for. So all one can do is use the information at hand to develop their own beliefs about the case of Mr. Cruel and where he might be now.
August 22nd, 1987
In the outer Melbourne suburb of Lower Plenty, a family was fast asleep in the early hours of Saturday morning. The serenity and safety of their home was about to be shattered by the intrusion of a balaclava-wearing burglar. Entering through a lounge room window, the man entered the parent’s bedroom. Brandishing a small handgun and a large hunting knife he bound the parents using a specialist style knot before gagging them and making his way into the children’s room.
Upon his arrival in the children’s bedroom he bound, gagged and blindfolded the six-year-old boy who lay peacefully on his bed. Now he could finally turn his attention to his true motive for entering the home, the eleven-year-old girl who lay innocently on the bed adjacent to her brother. Despite his future moniker he remained calm, cool and collected through out the entire event in claiming sexual gratification from the young girl.
His degree of self control reached such limits that he took the time to steal food from the cupboards and prepare himself a meal while the family lay helpless in the presumed sanctuary of their own home. In what would later become part of the offenders established modus operandi that would link all of these crimes together was the offender establishing false leads in his offences. In this particular event, the offender took the time to place what would later be established as a fake phone call where he threatened another family with similar violence.
This particular aspect of the offender’s behavior would become part of the behavior that police used to identify the fact they were dealing with a serial offender. This offence would serve as the only confirmed beginning of the series of crimes committed by this offender. Despite speculation to the contrary, this served as documented beginning of Mr. Cruel’s reign of fear as Victoria Police have kept information regarding many of the offences a closely guarded secret.
December 27th, 1988
Over a year had passed since the suspect had last been heard from albeit unbeknownst to investigators at the time. A man entered a property in the suburb of Ringwood and abducted ten year old, Sharon Wills straight out of her bed. First entering the parent’s room and placing a small firearm to her father’s head and steadfastly warning him with the words “Don’t be a hero!”…
He bound her parents in the same manner as his previous assault, using specialist knots and gagging them with surgical tape. Upon completion of his restraint of the parents, he indulged in his signature of creating a false lead as he stole approximately thirty-five dollars from their beside table in an attempt to give the impression that this was simply a routine burglary.
Then proceeding into the children’s bedroom, he woke the young victim using her name. Police would later speculated he may have seen her photo in the newspaper some months prior in a story about their home catching fire. After restraining the young girl, he lifted her straight out of her bed and into the night. When the parents eventually managed to struggle free, they became confronted with the cruel reality of what would be any parent’s worst nightmare.
Their daughter had been carried off by what was apparently a simple burglar. Distraught and overcome with panic, the father attempted to call the police only to discover the intruder had cut the phone line. Forced to run to their neighbors to contact police before running around the neighborhood looking for their daughter,
The Wills family underwent an excruciating 18-hour wait before their daughter was found abandoned walking along the side of the road not far from her home. Dressed in garbage bags, a passing motorist took her back to their home so she could contact her parents to let them know she was safe and sound. Despite undergoing a torturous ordeal, she appeared to show remarkable resiliency for a girl here age and gave Police a good portion of information about her abductor.
However only one type of information was unable to ever be found. The offender appeared to have an intimate knowledge of forensic science in that he was meticulous in eliminating any potential material that could have lead investigators back to him. Brushing and flossing their teeth, hand washing his victims, and even clipping finger and toenails to remove any potential DNA he may have left on his victims.
Being blindfolded for the entire eighteen-hour ordeal prevented Sharon from being able to ascertain a physical description of her attacker. Still she managed to describe his actions in great detail. Despite his notorious moniker, Mr. Cruel appeared to care for his victims by feeding them and was often a gentle and quite spoken individual.
After this assault, Mr. Cruel became somewhat of a modern day boogey man as a climate of fear began to dawn upon the city of Melbourne. Children and Parents a like were afraid that any one of them could be next and unbeknownst to the public and law enforcement at the time, this was only the beginning…
July 3rd, 1990
On what is one of the most prestigious and exclusive stretches of property in Monomeath Avenue in Canterbury lay a predator who had been dormant for almost two years. Lurking in the shadows of the Lynas family home was the man who made headlines almost two years prior for his abduction of Sharon Wills. All the while thirteen-year-old Nicola Lynas and her sister lay unsuspectingly asleep in the apparent sanctuary of their home.
Near the stroke of midnight they awoke to find a masked intruder standing over them and barking instructions at them. Whilst restraining her sister, the suspect ordered Nicole to return to her room and collect her school uniform. A peculiar request one might think but this act would later give Police a link to a possible suspect. Still brandishing a hunting knife and a hand gun, the suspect whispered to Nicola’s bound sister that it would cost her father twenty five thousand dollars if he ever wanted to lay his eyes on his daughter alive again.
But like the Wills case, one can only assume this was simply another false lead planted to keep police off his trail. If this were a real ransom, the suspect failed to leave behind the most important detail of all in how it would be collected. Despite the father’s apparent willingness to pay the amount demanded, he had no instructions to follow for the return in his daughter.
Escaping in the family car, the suspect took Nicola and drove approximately one kilometer away from the house where it can only be surmised that he had his own vehicle waiting. From there on he vanished into night like a ghost. A ghost may be the best way to describe this man as just like in the Wills case, not a single witness was ever found by the police.
Almost half an hour later, Nicola’s parents returned home. Shocked by the front door being wide open and the empty driveway, they hesitantly entered their home to find one daughter still laying bound and gagged on her bed and the other missing. Originally from England, the Lynas family moved to Melbourne through the fathers business as they felt it to be the safest place to raise children. That picture of a tranquil and safe environment was shattered in less than half an hour.
Some may say it was sheer luck that the police gained almost no evidence from their later examination of the crime scene, but to others it simply served to further the reality of how difficult it would be for Police to capture this offender. During a press conference, Nicola’s father declared his willingness to negotiate the ransom for his daughter’s release. But again like the Wills case, it was simply a ruse.
The only information investigators managed to gather on the case was that which was given to them by Nicola herself who left an impression on these skilled professionals. She was found abandoned in the suburb of Kew next to an electricity substation approximately fifty hours after she was taken. She managed to make her way to a nearby house and called her father to relieve him with the news her family had being praying for. That she was safe and alive.
During her later interviews with the detectives of Operation Spectrum, the taskforce established to identify and catch Mr. Cruel she would provide some of the only known information about where Mr. Cruel would keep his victims and various mannerisms that would help identify a suspect. Unfortunately however, to this day he still remains unidentified.
Once investigators were certain they were dealing with the same man responsible for the abduction of Sharon Wills and the assault of the eleven-year-old girl in Lower Plenty year’s prior, they were certain of one thing – there was a serial offender on their hands. But one of the few things they could be sure about was that his offences were escalating. He never attempted to abduct the eleven-year-old girl and Sharon Wills was taken for only eighteen hours. Now Nicola Lynas had been taken for approximately fifty hours.
Not only did he appear to be perfecting his craft but he was also losing the battle to control his sinister and vile urges. The time between each offence was decreasing and the time each young girl was held in a torturous confine by this man was only getting longer. It was considered to be only a matter of time when this man would return and strike again. But when he does it will result in one of the biggest and most remembered tragedies in the history of Melbourne crime…
April 13th, 1991
Success in life does not come easy in any aspect you wish to find it. The case of the Chan family was no exception. John and Phyllis Chan worked long hours in their popular Eltham restaurant, which happened to be one of three that they owned along with property investments that were acquired through countless hours of hard work and dedication. Starting at seven o’clock in the morning and finishing at midnight had almost become part of their daily routine.
But despite the long hours they were able to provide a comfortable life for their three daughters. They lived in a secluded luxury home in the suburb of Templestowe in the northeastern area of Melbourne. One would think that this would provide the family with an escape from their busy lives on the far side of the high fences of their home. However on a fateful autumn night while their eldest daughter Karmein would be engaging in her regular habit of looking after her two younger siblings, the same tragedy that befell the Wills and Lynas families in years prior would strike again for a third and final horrific time.
In the early hours of a Saturday night the masked predator who had been haunting the city of Melbourne for many years now engaged in what is considered the last of his heinous crimes. Little did we know at the time that this single event would end as one of the saddest tales to befall the city of Melbourne. Disturbing the young girls as they walked down the hall towards the kitchen, Mr. Cruel forced the sisters back into the bedroom where they had been watching television.
Forcing Karmein’s two younger siblings into the closet and placing their bed up against it to trap them inside, he then turned his attention to Karmein. After telling her sisters trapped in the closet that he only wanted money and they would all be left unharmed he took her at knife point from the home approximately two hundred meters down a suburban street unnoticed to where one can only conclude he had a getaway vehicle parked.
Not long after their sister taken, the two girls who were trapped in the wardrobe managed to free themselves and contact their parents who were still unsuspectingly working hard at their restaurant in Eltham. When Police would later arrive they were greeted with the signature of the Mr. Cruel. Spray Painted on the side of the family car in big white letters read “Payback Asian Drug Dealer, More and More to come!”
But of course like any investigation, the detectives had to follow this lead just incase their was a drugs involvement in the crime. That avenue of course proved fruitless as Mr. Chan turned out to be as clean as any upstanding member of the community could be. This left no doubt in their minds as Mr. Cruel had returned. When members of Operation Spectrum arrived at the scene, they were greeted with any investigators worst nightmare.
The original officers who were first on the scene failed to secure the home and establish it as a crime scene for forensic examination. So in those crucial first hours there had been countless individuals walking through the home and potentially contaminating and destroying evidence that may have been able to finally identify a suspect.
Still despite all the horror surrounding Karmein’s abduction there was a slight glimmer of hope. Knowing Mr. Cruel had released all of his previous victims, the Chan family was hopeful their daughter would eventually come back to them despite her traumatic ordeal. They even gave a highly emotional press conference pleading for the return of their beloved daughter that could move even the most stoic of personalities.
Since the beginning of his reign of terror, the taskforce and its investigators had worked with the previous victims in Sharon and Nicola to develop some solid evidence about their abductor. Both told detectives hearing what they assumed were planes land which lead to police investigating approximately three thousand homes under the flight paths leading to Tullamarine Airport in suburbs as far east as Lower Plenty.
One of the most chilling details of all occurred however when it was realized that Karmein Chan attended the same school as Nicola Lynas in the form of Presbyterian Ladies College. An all-girls school located in the suburb of Burwood was thrust into the public eye as many began to speculate the offender might currently be employed within the Victorian school system. Despite all of these leads however, they were unable to put a name to the phantom that has holding a city captive through fear.
Time continued to pass without a single sign that their daughter was coming home. Karmein’s desperate mother even offered a reward to the kidnapped for the return of her child but she was still greeted with nothing. Hours turned into days, days to weeks, and weeks into months without any communication from the kidnapper or any indication of Karmein’s whereabouts despite one of the most extensive manhunts in the history of Australian Crime.
April 9th, 1992
Answers would finally be found however when four days short of a year after the abduction, Karmein was finally found. A man walking his dog stumbled across a skull in the suburb of Thomastown whilst out walking his dog. Upon closer inspection he discovered a completely decomposed body amongst the long grass adjacent to Edgars Creek. The man quickly returned home to notify police of his horrific discovery.
Upon their arrival all that could be determined was that the victim had died from gunshot wounds to the head. The coroner would later make the determination that there were three individual gunshot wounds to the skull. But that’s not all a forensic examination would ascertain. The answer the Chan family desperately sought was about to arrive but in the most tragic form anyone could possible imagine.
Further analyses of the remains lead investigators to discover that they had found Karmein Chan. The remains found by the creek in Thomastown were that of the young girl abducted almost a year prior from her family home. Although the family finally had a resolution in what happened to their daughter and the pain of not knowing could now subside. They were left with another series of questions perhaps even more painful.
Why did he kill her? That might just be the most prevalent of all questions raised by this tragedy. He returned all of his other victims, what made her so different. One can only wonder until the day he is finally unmasked and brought forward to face the justice he so rightfully deserves. To this day investigators still work this case today and Victoria Police have promised the city of Melbourne that this case will only be deactivated when the man dubbed Mr. Cruel is finally identified and convicted…
A good watch for any true crime fans… If you don’t believe in psychics feel free to skip the second half but makes for an interesting watch.
The three victims of Mr cruel, at least the three victims released to the public by police…
I’ve decided that this case will be the focus of my next piece, serial offenders of such high profile don’t occur often in the city of Melbourne but this one has always been of high interest to me.