Over the course of my investigation I have become identified with tracking and uncovering the identity of The Night Predator. I have been paid many compliments, for which I am grateful. Because I am not a write-for-hire author on an assignment, I am not out to produce some prepackaged product.
I have over the last 6 years learned cold case from the eyes of those who professionally do it. It is not an easy thing to do. It is easy to get a POI, but from there it is a long road to linking him to a few bits of evidence considered to be sufficient to get a conviction. I have said it many times. That’s what it all comes down to. An author may want to write a book or article where the accusation is hanging out, but in the cold, hard world of cold case there must be a legal conclusion. DAs sit there rapping their fingers, waiting. It’s their job. They are supposed to frown; their lips turn down haddock-mouth and an eyebrow raise as they wait for the piece of info you have that rings a bell with them.
My 5 year pursuit of ZODIAC did not teach me cold case. I enjoyed sallying forth again and investigating. I learned to enjoy photography of crime scenes and context. But I knew the end result would be a book, though not write-for-hire. I would lay out a logical thesis for why my suspect is ZODIAC. Where I come from logic is enough. It is then tested. But in cold case, this is not how it works. The smoking gun is appreciated. If not that, then provide the silver bullet and the cops will fire it.
Silver is the key. Not a bullet. Not an ordinary argument. Silver bullet. It is something that finds the target on its own. You don’t need to aim.
I’ve got the bullet for EAR. But it is not yet polished enough to reveal any silver content, not by legal standards anyway.
RP, yes, let’s talk RP again. He is an odd character, granted. But Leigh Allen was an odd character as well. This earned him popular support for being The ‘Zodiac’ Killer, at least with information tailored in the hands of an author. But there is nothing about Leigh Allen that matched the evidence in ZODIAC– handwriting, appearance, size, even DNA on the stamps. He was an odd guy, and investigators hadn’t followed through originally with all the statements he made in order to have marked him off the list categorically. This made him fodder for later literary purposes. He had been an original suspect.
On the other hand, RP represents the unsuspected for EAR. Allen lived in Vallejo, and this fit with the police theorizing ZODIAC was a local. RP does not fit the profile for police theorizing in the case for EAR. They thought he was local to Carmichael. RP represents a compromise. He had grown up there, still had contacts there, was buried right on the border there, but at the time of the crime spree lived in Placerville 35 minutes away.
RP never married, never seemed to have a rewarding job before 1989 when he took out a license for security guard. Those who follow my work know all this already, of course. He didn’t amount to much later. He died single.
He remains the unsuspected. That’s fine with me. That is what I believe EAR must have been. After all, there were 10,000 POIs. It is not an assumptive leap to say EAR was not within the dragnet.
But RP is the unsuspected for only two reasons. He lived 35 minutes away (in the beginning at least) and after 1989 he still lived in the Sacramento east area.
We have drawn our own visions in our mind that EAR, after he became the Original Night Stalker, must have kept on going and migrating. Why? Why could he not return to the area where he had grown up? I have laid it out time and time again that nothing indicates any kind of permanent move in EAR’s crime spree over California. He clearly grew up in Sacramento’s east area. No one denies this.
There above is the pattern in the East Area. It shows a strategic dependence on Highway 50 and the main thoroughfares in the East Area– Watt, Sunrise, Manzanita, Madison– but little reach to Highway 80 in the north. Strange if based in the area. Placerville is up Highway 50.
In many ways the narrative of 40 years ago is deceiving. We imagine EAR to continue migrating in his crime spree and never stopping, but we don’t accept that 30 years of silence has gone by in which he has aged and changed. Like a movie franchise, EAR comes back to us fully youthful and unaltered to wreak more havoc. But in real life he quit. He quit 30 years ago.
For 40 years he was successful at being the unsuspected; for 30 of those years in total silence.
Where did he go after LA? He grew up in Sacramento’s east area. He must have had family. He had a young voice. He hadn’t been a migrant worker. Logically, he came back, probably so assured that he had been so careful that none could ever link him to being ONS and hence to crimes that had no statute of limitations. Perhaps also because there was no real indication he had ever left. He had an alibi. EAR was that smart. It wouldn’t be until 2000 that he would discover the police finally made the link through DNA.
The many faces of EAR possibles. On the whole he had a long face.
Did he sweat kittens at the revelation? Maybe not. He had thought himself legally safe by this time, officially unlinked to murders in So. Cal.
For RP specifically, he knew he had no record. He had not lived close to the rape locations at the time of EAR’s crime spree. He would not be in a position to give DNA. He no longer looked like old composites, most of which were not even in public hands anymore. He would continue to remain the unsuspected. He lived on for 8 years and died.
This is only a fraction of what I have introduced in my investigation. All of it helps polish the bullet, but nothing turns copper into silver. It creates interest and suspicion. Aside from handwriting, which may or may not polish the bullet silver, the precious metal remains beyond the grave, and that is why there is such a holdup in finally identifying RP as EAR/ONS.
Sadly, his identity has been clouded by the release of so many composites, and for some reason a very odd fitting composite from the Maggiore Double Murder has been declared to be the most likely. No one who had followed the crime spree bought into that. Yet I know the sheriffs and FBI have been inundated with POIs because someone knew some ne’er-do-well back when who looked like the sketch.
A lot must come together to create a cold case, especially one with so many case files. I try and keep error to a minimum and correct blatant errors (such as the sketch) in hopes of keeping the copper bullet bright while I slug away at RP. But in the long run it will be tough. We’re all in for the long haul. EAR never appeared in CODIS. That’s a clue right there that his crime spree was ultimately his hobby. When he lost the thrill, he was a model citizen. No one who’s been turned in over the dragnet has ever led to viable DNA, no matter what their rap sheet said. He’s never been pinched. He may never have looked like the most circulated sketches. There is nothing that leads to him but clues that reveal how careful he was (and these lead away), a couple of sketches, and the pattern of his stalking. With that alone it is hard to dig up an 8 year old grave.
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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.