I’ve been asked a number of times about this attack and this community. EAR had struck in Goleta, then Ventura, and then following his Contra Costa Corridor MO he struck the furthest south that he intended to go– he struck near Dana Point.
Remember, a vital part of investigating a crime is the reenactment, at least the way I combine the methods of the French police and Scotland Yard. Unfortunately, I was not able to get into the restricted community. I know of only one who has pursued EAR who has gotten in and had a camera ready. She has given me permission to share her photos, so I thought this would be a good place.
It is a significant clue that EAR got into a gated community– not on the night of the attack but prior to this in order to do his stalking in order to refine whom he would strike. EAR devoted quite some time to his prowling, and when it came to his murders he waited about 2.5 months in between them at least. Was he learning new territory? More likely he knew he could not afford to strike as frequently when committing the ultimate crime. He took even more precautions. As a rapist he had struck with alarming frequency. He did not seem to have to feed his thrill as much when he went down south in October 1979. Anticipation probably nurtured him. He retained his cool, calculated stalking MO, using Highway 101 and 5 in the same manner as he used Highway 680 in Contra Costa.
Niguel Shores is a sprawling complex of a development. EAR struck a corner house, with the backyard accessible from one of the main roads– Leeward. This makes it seem likely he jumped a backyard fence on Stonehill Road, a road outside of the gated community. Where did he park? This I do not know, but probably down Stonehill or even further on.
How did he even find the community? I don’t know. But as was common to his MO he struck in an area under construction. He could have easily entered the community during the day posing as a construction worker. \They may have had night security– EAR may have worked that–but I don’t think EAR wanted any real, tangible connection to any of the places where he struck.
Nevertheless, he was able to prowl out a couple that fit. I can’t say it had to be a couple. He had attacked women individually. He would soon start to kill women individually. I must deduce it was the woman that he was attracted to. The husband was simply in the way and EAR had no problem getting rid of what he viewed as a slight nuisance.
Niguel Shoes was not a heavily trafficked area, not at night and with gates on the community. EAR did not have to worry about being seen coming or going. The community was off Highway 5, just before it heads into open terrain at San Clemente all the way to the San Diego area. It was his last safe location to strike. EAR did not like to standout on a lonely highway after leaving the scene of a crime.
I must impress the arrogance of such a killer upon you. These were not murders of passion or those done in an insane rage. EAR carefully stalked, chose his victim, and then maneuvered the events of that deadly night the way he wanted. Equally, he stealthily escaped.
Aerials don’t reveal the uneven terrain. All this had to be negotiated at night.
EAR had to know the area well enough to negotiate the uneven roads, embankments and then fences at night. From Stonehill up to the community it is quite an incline, through a backyard, across Leeward, and then up the embankment to the house. Then, after the double murder, to negotiate this all the way back.
EAR also had to make sure beforehand that there was a killing weapon about. He didn’t come with one. This suggests to profilers that the crime was not intended. But we know in this case it was. He made sure to kill his victims with a bludgeon he knew to be on the site already. He came and went without weapon. He left no prints. It was only DNA that would identify him about 2 decades later. He was that careful. If he was stopped, for any reason, there would be nothing on him the police would find to link him to a crime that night.
Niguel Shores is quite the clue. EAR did not strike gated communities. He did strike upscale communities, but still this was a huge distance from where he had begun in the So. Cal area. This was the south terminus of a north-south killing field between here Santa Barbara. In between he would strike in Irvine. That’s a lot of driving. He would stay close to the main highways. Never 405, always 101 and 5.
Since EAR seems to have killed his first couple down south by shooting them in unexpected circumstances, I have suggested that when he turned to bludgeoning he was trying to imitate the Bedroom Basher, who was the current scourge. Perhaps so, perhaps not. In any event, part of his prowling was to determine that a bludgeoning tool would be handy. If he had a gun on him, he never intended to use it.
Despite this murder being about 36 years ago, there is no reason to not be enraged at the calculated brutality of a young man who was so arrogant he made this his past time for the better part of 10 years. He was so careful and that clever it took a full 20 years for law enforcement to link him to all the crimes now attributed to him. The crime spree of the EAR aka Original Night Stalker or The Night Predator is not one of those that can be allowed to go unsolved. We can’t just shrug and say it was a long time ago.
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Since 1990 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.