Home invaders are a particular brand of evil villain. That’s because it never ends there and it never begins there. These swine make it plain to their victims that they had stalked them for a while. So Home Invasion of this sort is not spontaneous. It indicates a hideous stalker had staked them out for some time. Of course, there is more purpose to their home invasion than simply invading the house and violating their home life. The victims soon learn that rape, terror, torture, kidnapping, perhaps even murder is the ultimate intent. If it isn’t, the home invader makes it apparent there is that potential.
EAR/ONS perhaps is the most infamous there ever was. But he is not the most mysterious. He was so prolific that his MO was detectable. There is no mystery how he selected his ultimate victims. But there are others whose crime sprees need a spotlight on them so that more information (and clues!) can be gleaned.
One of these is NORCAL Rapist, a rather dramatic Phantom of the Opera style rapist, who hid behind theatrical or Halloween masks and engaged in theatrics with his victims, aside from taunting them. How his selected his victims is still a mystery. More information is desperately needed.
The same can be said for what is ultimately one of the cruelest home invaders. This is Australia’s Mr Cruel, aptly so dubbed by the Press because he learned much of his victims and their house before invading it. He then bound the family members and, in his first attack, raped the under-aged daughter on the premises. He assailed them behind the cover of a ski mask, and he always had a gun and a butcher’s knife.
At his first known strike off Para Road in Melbourne’s suburban area of Lower Plenty, he pointed the gun at the father while he was in bed and warned him at gunpoint: “Do you feel brave?” The warning was implicit– just try and challenge him. This attack was on August 22, 1987.
From here, it escalated. After stalking his next victim, invading the house, he then kidnapped the young, under-age daughter. This attack was on December 27, 1988, on Hillcrest Avenue in the Ringwood subdivision.
Mr. Cruel let her go 18 hours later to be picked up by police and then her family. In the interim he had taken her to his lair and sexually assaulted her, apparently videotaping it. He washed her up and had the forethought to have taken a second set of clothing for her to wear after he had finished with her. This means she picked up very few forensic clues to her tragic ordeal. He was very careful.
Again, he struck on July 3, 1990. The parents were gone and this left him with only sisters to contend with. He tied the eldest and took the youngest to his lair. He kept her for 50 hours, drove her miles from her home and dropped her off, wrapped in green garbage bags. She too had been washed, and without her clothes there was very little for the police to use forensically to trace where she had been.
The only real clue they had was that she, like the previous victim, said they could hear planes landing. The Melbourne police deduced his lair was in the approach path to Melbourne Airport.
Then, waiting quite a long time again, Mr. Cruel struck on April 13, 1991, in the Templestowe subdivision of Melbourne on Serpells Road. He locked up the two youngest daughters in a cupboard and kidnapped the eldest, 13 year old Karmein Chan. Like in the earlier attacks, he left false clues. Noticeably in this case, he spray-painted one of the family cars (the parents were away at their popular Chinese restaurant) indicating this was payback for the parents being Chinese drug lords, which they were not.
Unlike the previous victims, Karmein would not be returned. A year later her remains were found in a shallow grave miles away. She had been shot in the back of the head 3 times, execution style. The police surmise she had actually gotten a look at Mr. Cruel, and for this she had to die. He had warned one of his victims that death awaited if she saw him. He obviously had meant it.
After this, Mr. Cruel never struck again. Police thought that in the enormous dragnet that followed, they must have interviewed him and this frightened him. The Mr. Cruel crimes are perhaps Australia’s most infamous unsolved cold case.
In a series of posts we are going to examine this crime spree in detail. We have a very clever and arrogant villain to deal with here. So confident was he that he became incredibly elaborate. He not only meticulously stalked and planned his attacks, he took on whole families, then kidnapped the victim, assaulted her on camera for hours at his pleasure, then made sure there was no evidence to trace her to his lair and to him. It is not surprising that Melbourne Police never found his trail. They have only the surmise that they had interviewed him, and a few other clues two of the victims were able to relate about his lair.
We will examine all of this as these posts unfold.
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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.