The composite above, dated July 12, 1979, tells us what EAR looked like at a Danville condo, his last known attack in northern California. It was here, near Sycamore Valley Road, that some pages of notepaper and a map was found. EAR had fled the botched attack on a couple and must have hurried back to his car, ripped open the door and got in. Theoretically, this must be how the pages got sucked out of the car and left on the sidewalk. It’s a confused moment in EAR history. But we do know that the bloodhounds traced his scent to this location. There the police found the notepaper.
If the writing on these pages is from EAR, then we can still hear him speak today. Only the victims remember the voice– hissing, snarling, angry, through clenched teeth. He went far to disguise his voice. You all know my theory: that he had a distinctive voice and had to disguise it. My POI, and also some composites, shows signs of a heavy under or crossbite.
But though we cannot hear his voice, let’s assume these are his words. Let’s have a look at his voice in writing.
One of the pages. It shows a few distinctive characteristics.
One, as is obvious in the word “important” and “enbaressed,” he used “n” instead of the correct “m.” This suggests a dialectal but popular pronunciation for the words, one that I’ve noticed from friends that come from the foothills of California. He might have spoken these words in that manner, but the writer also shows the habit of writing “m” as “n” sometimes even though in the same word elsewhere he writes it out correctly. An example is “ashamed.” He writes it once correctly and then once as “ashaned.” He also writes “blane” though he obviously is using “blame” as a substitute for damn — “dad-blame” is a rustic substitute of goddamn, quite a frontier one actually. His letter goes on to talk about General Custer, so it seems he had an interest in the old west.
“Sentence” is frequently written instead of the correct plural “sentences.” This would not be something reflected in his speech, but he didn’t seem to catch the plural often. “Mad” and “mader” are easily noticed. Periods are absent, as are capitals at times. “Disgusted” is spelled “discusted”– another indication of how he pronounced words. Yet he spells “horrid” correctly, not a word commonly used by American youth at the time.
Just what was this written for? Though it is diary-like it is also looks like an assignment. While EAR used every word in the book when assaulting his victims, the writing is noticeable for no cussing, aside from “blame.” This doesn’t fit EAR unless, of course, this was written when he was quite young. If so, when was this written?
As he expresses on his first page, he felt his 6th grade year ruined his life. It was the worst year of his life, so this is clearly written afterward. But when? The first photo easily accessed shows my POI in sophomore year, morose, no smile, his jutting lower lip and jaw obviously hiding an underbite or crossbite that he seems sensitive to, and it makes for an unusual depression by his mouth on the side.
The writing on the notepaper is not that of a 19 year old (or anybody older than my POI). This suggests that the notepaper was perhaps “recycled”– some old school notebook, the blank pages from which EAR now used to draw his maps of prospective communities on his hit list. Some old school notepad in which his writings never saw the light of day but remained therein until the mistake in Danville.
As usual, EAR grouped his Contra Costa County strikes. It is after No. 48 that EAR, in fleeing, left behind (apparently) the notepaper and map where he got in his car and darted off.
The possibility is very real that this was, in fact, some old notebook, either from school or some impromptu diary. This idea is supported by the discoveries on the back of the map that was found showing a community typical of those EAR struck– under construction, second house marked, creek or canal nearby. Writing samples here show a more mature hand, making the lengthy writing on the note pages seem much older and those of a junior high or early high school student.
When and if handwriting examples from my POI are obtained these problems must be confronted. The problem is that there is very little of the more mature handwriting on the back. There are just words, not sentences, scattered over the back as if just jottings or notes. In the center of the paper there is that strange scrawl which seems to be “punshment” without a clear “p” and no “i.” But there is also “Come from”; “Milling”; “June”; “Melannie”; and, most interestingly of all, what appears to be a company name. It is a leasing company.
Doodles and notes. The company name is of far more interest. Yet another clue.
In conclusion, it seems EAR probably spoke some words with a dialect, usually those that had a soft “m” in certain locations. He was raised in a household where he couldn’t swear (common enough) and he used in substitute in one instance a western or frontier slang for “damn.”
But in 1979 EAR was much too old for this type of innocent expression. “Blame” became “fucking,” “motherfuckers,” “god damn,” “shit,” but most of all he used silence. He was into intimidation first, then terror. But it would have been nice had just one witness said he spoke a number of words containing “m” with “n” instead. Many noted that he stuttered, but it seemed put on. One thing was certain, his lines were scripted and he disguised his voice. Composites show him young, often parting his hair on the right side, long face, and he had natural athletic ability. Circumstantial evidence indicates he was in auto wrecking/towing.
In the next post, we’ll interpret the meaning of that leasing company. It may be the most fortuitous clue yet.
* * *
For 25 years Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.