If this is legitimate and pans out that he is the Golden State Killer/Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist…
February 23, 1968, the naked body of nurse was found by a man on his way to work in a lane behind Carmichael Place in Scotland’s largest city and the third largest in the United Kingdom. A man on his way to work found Patricia Docker laying dead after she had been sexually assaulted and strangled and left only a few yards from her home.
After telling her parents that she would be spending the night at the Majestic Ballroom dancing the night away, she in fact went elsewhere. Attending the night for over-25’s at the Barrowland ballroom. Police speculate that at some point throughout the night she met her killer after the left the Majestic and moved to the Barrowland.
Days would pass before Detectives could piece together her movements over the course of the night, costing them valuable time. To further complicate the investigation, her clothes and belongings were never found coupled with the lack of a witness of any kind.
One can only speculate what happened over the course of her evening. The limited available facts leave her murder ripe for speculation. Given that the detectives took days to piece together her movements and the suspect kept all of her belongings. Every detail of this crime outside of the manner in which she died maybe lost forever.
Still of course to Police this could only be considered an isolated incident. It would be the first in at least is what a known trilogy of cases in what would come to be known as the case of “Bible John”.
August 15th, 1969
18 months after the murder of Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald, a 32-year-old mother of three, also took a night out at the Barrowland Ballroom. Over the course of a weekend, her sister Margaret would hear rumours of what was referred to as “the body” from young children over on MacKeith Street as they left an old tenant building.
Her growing concern would lead to her to investigate the cause of these rumours on the Monday after the weekend had passed. Arriving at the house, her worst fears would be realised. The manner of death would be similar to that of Patricia Docker over a year prior yet with once distinct difference.
Jemima would be found fully clothed. Despite a similar manner of death, the suspect would not take her clothes like he had done in the case of Patricia Docker. Strangulation, Sexual Assault, Blunt force trauma were all present but in this case, there were witnesses.
They could place her at the scene at least up until midnight when she left. Standing upon the arm of a man with slender build with red hair. After then only one can only speculate as to what happened next. Police would move from Door-to-Door trying to gather information of what had happened in regards to the crime.
Many would see her leaving the ballroom in the lead up to her body being found. Detective’s inquiries would lead to accounts of hearing screams from a woman who lived in the vicinity of the crime scene. Although she lived merely a few blocks from the crime scene, this same woman would fail to provide police with an accurate time frame in which the crime had taken place.
As time would pass and like the case of Patricia Docker, the murder of Jemima McDonald would find itself in the Cold pile. Time would pass and the information that came in would continually wound down. Despite having a witness who claimed that they heard screams, Investigators were unable to provide a time frame into which they heard such sounds and as a result the case would go cold.
October 31st, 1969
One of the most popular weekends of the year, a horror story manifested itself in to reality when 29-year-old Helen Puttock was found in Earl Street over in the Scotstoun are of Glasgow. Just as the other victims before her she had attended the same Barrowland Ballroom on the night of her murder.
Spending the evening with her sister Jean, both met men called John. One claimed from Castlemilk but the other did not disclose his background. After spending approximately an hour with the men, they decided to head home. The John from Castlemilk would headed for a bus home in George Square, while the other three decided to share a taxi ride home. This taxi ride would later become a crucial piece of information in the investigation.
After dropping Jean in Knightswood, Helen and John would continue on towards Earl Street. This would prove to be the last time anyone would see Helen alive. She would be found raped and strangled the following morning albeit with some differences than the previous victims.
The contents of her handbag lay scattered at the scene. Helen had also suffered at least one penetrating bite from her attacker. She lay in the garden behind her apartment and despite that her belongings lay scattered; her bag itself was nowhere to be found. Leading investigators to believe that it was taken as a trophy and grass stains suggested there was some kind of struggle in during the assault.
The Resulting Investigation –
The ensuing investigation would lead detectives to learn of the John character the sisters shared a taxi ride with before the murder. A man that was well spoken that quoted many passages from the Bible as time would pass. From then on “Bible John” was born as the media took the epithet and ran with it.
Helens sister, Jean would later provide an outline of the John man last seen with her sister on the night she was murdered. A polite and well spoken, tall yet slender around 5’10 and with fair/reddish hair. She would claim that he had given his name as “John Templeton” or “Sempleson”.
Over the course of the night he would continually demonstrate his religious devotion by quoting the bible and saying that “I do not drink Hogmanay, I Pray”. He would also make references to Moses and how the dance halls were “dens of iniquity”.
With this new case, a connection was made to the cases of Patricia Docker and Jemima McDonald in years past. The similarities between each that would leave authorities to believe that a serial killer was at large on the streets of Glasgow.
A composite sketch would be developed from the description provided from the inquiries leading witness, Helen’s sister Jean. However as investigators expanded their inquiries at the Barrowland Ballroom, the bouncers would paint a different picture of the suspect and attribute the discrepancies to Jean being heavily intoxicated on the night of her sister’s murder.
They would suggest that the sisters left with a man that was still well spoken but shorter and with jet-black hair. It was also suggested that the suspect was also not directly quoting the bible, but more simply referencing it.
Still Jean would defend her state of mind in that she would insist she was clear eyed during the taxi ride and that her description was accurate. This gained support from a bouncer who could claim that many of his peers at the ballroom were not good with remembering individual faces.
Also a disheveled looking man yet well dressed was spotted with what may have been scratch marks on his face, getting off a bus at around 1:30 am at Sauchiehall street before heading towards the ferry that would cross the River Clyde and into the south side of the city.
Doing their due diligence in the investigations more similarities between each case would emerge that would reinforce the opinions of investigators that they had a serial killer active in Glasgow. All had attended the Barrowland Ballroom and when they were found, their handbags were gone. All were strangled with their stockings and raped.
From witness accounts all of them were escorted home before falling just short as they were murdered. All of them were menstruating at the time of death and had pads or tampons placed on or near their bodies.
Still not all were convinced that a serial killer was at large and that “Bible John” was simply an invention of the media. Perhaps there may have been multiple killers at large and in a time before DNA testing and perhaps a proper chain of evidence we may never know…
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…
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.
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…