Doodled to Life. . . Resurrecting a Serial Killer . . .

Let us go back to San Francisco 1974. It is a different world. It is a world that sees the ZEBRA Killings. It saw the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and urban guerillas. It is an anxious world in the wake of The ZODIAC. Such crime sprees upset the mainstream. They caused the mayor to screech at the police to do something; civic groups to screech at the mayor.

But for tenderloin killings there was little press. The Doodler was satiating his appetite for carnage by concentrating on the gay underground of the Castro. Newspapers didn’t even want to devote filler space to the crime spree. To this day, the body count is uncertain. Had it not been for The Doodler’s unique MO, he probably wouldn’t have rated any mention.

Of the three survivors, the European diplomat’s statement is the only one known even in part. He insisted there had been no connubial bliss.  I content he is telling the truth. I do not suspect this because of this snippet but because I have pieced together some of the crime scenes and the greater context of them to appreciate how nothing really could have happened. Rather I suspect The Doodler surprised them by whipping out his butcher’s knife and having at it.  In one case, he drug a victim 20 feet back behind a sand dune at Ocean Beach to finish the killing without fear of witnesses.

There is also the narrative that SFPD could never get anything on their suspect because the three survivors wouldn’t talk and then galloped away from the city by the bay. Coupled with what their detectives had put together, SFPD may also have believed there was no physical evidence to ever resurrect. Thus they were dependent on the survivors.

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The only sketch known of The Doodler.

 

On the odd chance that there was interaction between The Doodler and his victims before they were murdered, SFPD must examine all the clothes (hopefully still in evidence) and examine them to see if they can get a DNA match up with The Doodler suspect. This would relieve the necessity of putting any burden on the celebrity who wishes to remain nameless, or on the local “prominent citizen” and his reputation. Survivor accounts are not necessary. DNA will link the crimes. Even if it exists in only one case, it is enough to prove contact between The Doodler and a victim.

Over 40 years later is this enough for the SF Co. DA to get a conviction or to declare the case solved? Within the context of what must be in the reports,  it probably is. The Doodler’s MO was so unique it is impossible not to identify him with having left with the victims after he charmed them with his caricatures or portraits.

I wonder where that sketch pad is today?

Was there a political factor (high school friendship) back then between a prominent citizen’s son and the Doodler? There may have been, but 40 years later it is of no import anymore.

If SFPD does this and it turns out that there is no viable DNA, another route must be undertaken to out the strange Doodler serial killer of long ago and late night Castro. But we have at least advanced on the case, and that is the purpose of investigation: to move forward and test hypotheses. There is no onus in the process of elimination. You must be wrong every time but the last time. It is always a win/win situation.

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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.

The Doodler– How to Break a Case?

I’ve been warned off the case of Father Kunz, certain friends in law enforcement reminding me of the power of the Catholic Church or, as one luridly believed, of the power of a cabal therein to enforce “Satan’s Lodge.” I have recently been introduced to the details of how the church covered up the fact the Fox Village Trailer Park rapist had been a 44 year old priest. The church sent him west to a monastery, the type where his fork and knife were taken away at the dinner table. This must have satisfied the DA, the judge dropping the charges except for breaking and entering.

Conspiracies, gossip, acrimony– I loath it. And all of the above should be taken with a grain of salt.

But I have encountered something more frustrating. A serial murder case where the culprit is known, where I wish to break the case, but where the one sure witness, the “nationally known” celebrity who survived an attempt on his life, will never want to talk. It is unlikely the San Francisco Co. DA even knows of the existence or importance of the case anymore. It has been buried since 1975.

How to break the case? For journalistic purposes, the account of the celebrity is crucial, as I feel it would confirm that no dalliance, shall we say, took place. It would give us the unquestioned MO of the killer. I believe that after he charmed prospective victims in the bars of the late night Castro, he went with them to secluded places. Well, this much is actually known. But I deduce from the evidence I have, and the logistics of the crime scenes, that before anything happened, to their surprise, he whipped out a butcher’s knife and did Norman Bates.

But for a few, he went to their apartments. Three survived. About 8 didn’t. The actual number really isn’t known for certainty. SF newspapers didn’t report it much and certainly with little clarity. Underground gay rags did, but obviously the information didn’t go far and journalistic integrity was not always there.

The Doodler had one of the most unique MOs in the history of crime. He was an artistic young man who went into the bars of SF’s gay district, charmed the guests, drew “doodles” of them on his sketch pad– he was quite talented– and they left to continue the night elsewhere. Only the end result was that the patrons ended up slashed to pieces at Ocean Beach or in Golden Gate Park.

Each of the thee survivors were prominent, and each refused to swear as to who was their attacker. The Doodler was black, you see. Being gay was controversial enough, but even in the gay community to be classified as a “Dinge Queen” was fatal.

Thus The Doodler walked. He stopped. He walked. He has been silent since then. So not so compulsive when he saw SFPD leering at him.

The case has very little information on it. The survivors are dead or won’t talk, and if the San Francisco DA’s office even remembers it I’m not sure how they would proceed.

It is time to proceed with trying to break a case that is forgotten, though one of the most exotic ever, where the culprit can be identified, and where the case should be laid to rest. But I don’t think anybody knows how to deal with a lack of conspiracy. Evidence surrounds testimony, which has grown very thin, and no one wants to talk.

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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.

A Closer Look at NorCal Rapist– The North Natomas Strike

As I am in incubator mode until the new year, let’s fester with purpose, wallow with intent to do good.

Let us contemplate the case of NorCal Rapist in greater detail and try and put him in the right light– this sarcastic, dramatic, and stupidly presumptuous Phantom of the Opera type rapist. Sac County alone can nail him. He raped over a wide range of northern California, thus earning the moniker NorCal for “northern California.” But, to my knowledge, only Ann Marie Shubert filed against his DNA, thus preventing the SOL from sliding. Sacramento spared no expense to get this guy. They realized that after 15 years of being on the road, he wasn’t going to hit much more. This might be the last chance to get him. It still is. More than any other rapist with a unique MO, this creep can still be reached. He has a scar like the mark of banished Cain over his right eye and a scar on his left forearm, both courtesy of his victims.

Between 1991 and 2006, he struck from Rohnert Park, Vallejo, Martinez (a particularly dramatic case on Halloween), Woodland, Davis, far up Highway 99 in Chico, and then in Sacramento in 2006. Let us look at the logistics of that crime.

In some manner NorCal had learned of the victims’ home address. He knew there were two young women batching there on Ivycrest in North Natomas. He stalked the home enough in advance to be familiar with it. On the night of the attack, interestingly, he drove along Ivycrest from its far side from Itasca, rather than just turning onto Ivycrest from Gateway, the main and closest entrance. The surveillance camera on the house at the bend of Ivycrest captured his 2003 4Runner turning around in front and then coasting up to the curb and then off camera, where he parked in front of the intended victims’ house. I would suggest he wanted to drive the length of Ivycrest first to see if anybody was out or if any lights on indicated potential witnesses. Clearly he had not stalked the street enough to have seen the camera on the neighbor’s house. It was mounted high up under the eve of the second story.

ivycrest

NorCal must have driven in from Itasca rather than just pulled in from Gateway– the main road into the area from busy Del Paso Blvd.

NorCal got in the house. He surprised Victim 1. He took her to the bedroom and bound and gagged her on the bed. He returned to the garage, opened the garage door and then went to his car. He pulled into the garage, taking the parking place of Victim 2. He closed the door and waited for her to arrive.

When she pulled up, the garage door opened, and there she was surprised to see a 4Runner in her parking spot. She went in the house and was grabbed by a man in a mask.

survey1
It has been said he was captured driving away, but from seeing a longer clip it is my understanding he was turning around while coming to the house.

 

In the course of events he bound and gagged them both upstairs in bed. He closed the garage door. Over the hours that followed this late night and into early morning, he raped them both and then took them into the shower, one at a time, and washed them off, foolishly thinking, I suppose, he was getting rid of all the evidence.

NorCal must have known of DNA. It had been 6 years since he had struck. But talk of DNA was all the rage and had been for over a decade.

Or was he so sure that he could never be linked or even suspected that it wasn’t DNA he was trying to wash away? Was there something else that might lead to his identity?

NorCal washed before his attacks. I have proposed that he was perhaps a traveling barman or even a caterer/cook, and the distinctive odors those professions leave behind (distinctive bar smoke smell/cooking odors) could alert the victims as to where he had first seen them and was attracted to them. That would be a devastating lead.

full2-scar

And this is the great mystery today. Just where did NorCal first target his victims so that he should then refine his stalking and find their homes, learn the layout and their routines, and finally strike? Nobody knows.

In any case, before he left he had to do a number of things. He had to get into Victim No. 2’s car and move it from the driveway. Then he had to pull out himself. He had to (I assume) close the garage door yet again by hitting the gadget in Victim 2’s car. He then drove off the same way he came rather than the shorter route.

There are more details of course, and the logistics they require, but for this post this is enough here.

NorCal was perhaps in his 40s in 2006. He had brown spiked hair, a scar over his right eye, one on his left forearm. He was heavyset now. In 1997 he was quite skinny. Another surveillance camera , one at a bank ATM, had captured him with a mask on distorting his face as he used one of his victim’s ATM cards to empty her account. Yet another indignity they had to suffer on top of all else.

With Victim 1 he had been particularly sarcastic. Before he left, he cautioned her in a friendly way to lock her doors from now on, as “a burglar might get in and rob you.”

He always used a weapon, of course. There was much terror involved– home invasion and hours of fear in victims. With the Martinez victim, he called her weeks later and told her he knew she was ultimately a good person, like it was her fault or something.

NorCal has been silent 10 years. But he is still out there, and the clues must be developed to pinpoint his appearance and profession. In our next NorCal post we will try to develop more.

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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.