Information is now coming in, both from private citizens and from the Visalia Library. The information is contradictory, but a few things even a cursory reading reveals: there isn’t much in the way of details. A lot of guesswork has been promoted as fact, and deductions aren’t worth much because of the paucity of reliable information.
I have learned to no longer shake my head in lament at the enormous popularity of some cases– like the Ripper or Zodiac. Yes, a lot of folklore becomes the narrative. But when a complex case remains obscure only a few “facts” it, and their origin is not always clear. Usually the first person to do service to a topic gathers data and presents it to everybody else. This starts the ball rolling. More information comes in, accuracy replaces mistakes, and then analysis makes the biggest headway. But it has to become popular in order to draw the sufficient gene pool.
No one has even come forward in the Ransacker case to present much information. The Library seems a little apologetic as well that they do not have more.
In truth the Visalia Ransacker had little or no coverage until the Snelling murder in September 1975. He was active only a few months after that and then he was gone.
Like with the Maggiore double murder in the case of the EAR/ONS, it seems the wish is father of the thought that Claude Snelling was killed by the Ransacker. There is no evidence that I can find to substantiate that. A claim was made that ballistics proved that the gun that killed Snelling was one that the Ransacker had stolen from a previous robbery. That seems thin. The original owner had ballistics on file? Did they have the bullet that was fired at McGowen and compared them?
There’s a lot of dubious stuff out there.
In short, there is very little on the Ransacker, and the case is so obscure that there is little chance right now of stirring up enough interest to verify claims.
My first goal must be to compile as much contemporary information as possible. This will start the ball rolling to bring in more attention to the topic. Most victims suffered mere robbery, and a few may be tempted to come forward and document what was stolen in their houses and what telltale clues the VR left behind.
Next goal, of course, is to use this information for the hunt- to analyze and make a grab for the VR. It’s hard to say what his age is. Two prowlers were on Whitney some time before the murder of Snelling– an older one and a younger one. Which is the one that came back and did the shooting?
There is nothing about the Claude Snelling murder that remotely suggests the cautious EAR. He avoided a house if the victim wasn’t alone in the beginning, until he got a lot of confidence. The Snelling murder stumbled in through an open window that per chance was opened that night. He didn’t seem to have the wits to realize there were 4 other people in the house beside Beth Snelling. The newspaper, the Times-Delta, even cautioned its reader that the MO at the Snelling murder didn’t fit the Ransacker. So not only do we have no link whatsoever with the EAR and the Snelling murder, there is reason to question there is a link with the Snelling murder and Ransacker.
Much indeed has to be done here. The Ransacker’s MO must be fleshed out in detail. Much more needs be learned from the Snelling murder, much more. The details actually fit the Maggiore double murder and Ripon Court shooting much more than they do the Ransacker. Attempts to link the Ransacker and EAR go nowhere, but perhaps more of a link should be considered in the case of Snelling’s murder and Maggiore Double Murder.
Personally, I don’t believe EAR/ONS and the Rnsacker are one and the same, but there is also some doubt that the Maggiore Double Murder was done by EASR. Snelling’s murder was a pointless murder just like the Maggiores and to a lesser extent the shooting of Rod Miller. The burglars or prowlers in all cases didn’t want to be pursued and they had no qualms about shooting those that followed. Are these separate cases of a different prowler than EAR and the VR?
Claude Snelling’s killer may have realized that he was continue to chase him. Snelling apparently had chased one of the prowlers earlier in the week. But the punk may simply have been gun happy anyway, like the Maggiore double murderer and the Ripon Court shooter.
Much, much more needs to be discovered. This is not a case served by silence, especially when it may be linked to others.
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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 or Q Man. “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.