ZODIAC II– The New York Zodiac Killer– What if?

As those who follow me know, I don’t touch much on solved cases. I quest for the solution to many mysteries. True crime holds little interest to me. Pursuit of mystery for the sake of solution does hold great interest. And I think many who follow me here share those sentiments.

But there are benefits to studying some solved cases. They do not really tell you what might be at play in unsolved cases, but they show you potential. They teach you never to rely on any stereotype.

A case in point is the New York Zodiac, also called ZODIAC II. You all know my stance on copycat crime sprees– they are pure folklore. On the surface the crimes of ZODIAC II would seem to disprove that assertion. Yet a study of the case, which is actually one of the most fascinating solved cases, reveals not a copycat of the Zodiac Killer of the Bay Area, but stolen inspiration from a far more exciting folklore surrounding the Zodiac Killer.

Anybody familiar with both crime sprees would know that Seda, the New York Zodiac, was actually far more imaginative and original than the Zodiac Killer. Astrology was a sham and ruse to the real Zodiac, but it was integral to ZODIAC II. I am going to be starting a series of articles here on Seda, approaching the crime spree from an unsolved aspect to show how easy it is to build up a villain into something he is not. Had ZODIAC II gone unsolved, Seda would have committed the No. 1 crime spree in this nation, and he would have been the last to be suspected. Taking the case purely on its clues and not solution may shed light on the world of unsolved serial murders. The truth behind any evil villain is not so impressive after the mask of mystery is removed.

*         *          *

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.

Why I left TV, and Why I Return

I came out of my hole the other day. I was doing research and checking out some YouTube videos on a “phenomena topic” I was researching. Sure enough featured  on this History Channel segment was a familiar name from the topic, one whose name was well known from the late 1970s. To cast no aspersion, for this person did very credible work in her heyday, but this was the reason I had left doing TV.

I did not want to be a name forever associated with a single topic, forever promoted as chasing a mystery, forever promoted as a “topic’s” expert talking head. Typecasting in “real TV” is just as limiting and deadly as in dramatic work. In the world of real mystery, is it a good thing to never solve what you chase?

I got painted with the brush of the Bermuda Triangle. But in documentary TV it never became the adventure I believed it to be, the way in which I pursued it. It became a regurgitation of favorite cases and inappropriate suggestions for theories.

Now though I have been offered twice this year to star in my own series, it is a different matter. It will start with the Triangle– hopefully be a “muscular curiosity” type of adventure defining and investigating the Triangle. And if my personality holds up, it could expand to all the other topics I do.

This means redefining some of these topics, sometimes drastically, and it means a chance to actually solve some for TV. It means a chance to introduce some as well. It means a chance to be the “real life Kolchak” again.

I was on TV for 11 years before I walked for the last 5. To give you an idea of how they cared more about my knowledge than me, producers are now surprised I have a sense of humor. I always did. Now they like me and my knowledge, not necessarily in that order. They all like that I have a nifty not-so-super superhero handle– “Q-Man” and that a man of my age can wear a real puka shell necklace.  They all love The Quester Files. It zings! Most of all, they like I lost and am losing a lot of weight.

It will not “reality TV.” It will be a genuine adventure and learning series.

So why not?

*         *          *

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.

Stalking Mr. Cruel– Q Style

After his kidnapping of and repeated assaults upon 13 year old Nichola Lynas, Mr. Cruel became a household name in Australia. With these 3 accepted attacks, it was clear he was an ongoing menace. To fully appreciate why Melbourne held him in such dread for only 3 attacks it is necessary to understand a few things. Each of the attacks came after an interim of about 1.5 years– the first in August 1987, then the second in December 1988, then the last one discussed was in July 1990.  It didn’t seem he was going to stop, and he didn’t mind waiting for a long time. Melbourne realized he could and would strike again. The citizens braced themselves and waited.

It was still mysterious how he selected his under-aged victims, and this kept people on edge. It must have been done very carefully and over a period of time, so carefully it was unnerving. For his attack on Victim No 2, Sharon Wills, he knew the family kept the key in the front door. He came ready with a tool to push it through and a piece of paper to slip under and catch it and then pull it gently out under the door so he could unlock it.

All of this planning paled compared to the lengths he took to prevent forensic evidence. For his first known attack he wore a nylon windbreaker underneath his clothes.  Bizarre but knowledgeable. And in taking into consideration the vast and unfortunate vault of true crime, quite a bit overkill. Since that time serial rapists and killers have struck without 10 percent as much aforethought taken to preventing evidence and still they escaped into the night. Mr. Cruel was obsessive in details, and in not wanting anything that could lead to him.

Either he was very smart or very dumb.  . . . or he was not an obscure citizen.

Yet he laid down a pattern. It is impossible for anything that acts from volition not to leave a pattern. Let’s start to have a look at that here in hopes of taking the preliminary steps to outing the aptly named villain “Mr. Cruel.”

With his attack on Nichola Lynas, he broke his previous pattern. He ventured far from a highway or main road into the suburban communities of north and east Melbourne where he struck. Monomeath Avenue was so deep within the old grid of city streets in Canterbury he had to park his junker of a car on Chaucer Crescent, walk across Canterbury Road and up Monomeath in order to access the house. Obviously, this prevented him from walking his kidnapped victim back to the parked car. As a result he stole the family’s rental car from the driveway.

Monomeath2

1, Monomeath Avenue; 2, Chaucer Crescent; 3, Canterbury Road.

If Nichola is correct, he now did something strange. Hidden on the floorboard at his orders, she felt that when he pulled out he went in the direction of Mont Albert, turned left and then later turned left again and came to the street where they parked. They got out, walked a little bit and got into his own car.

Mont Albert is in the opposite direction of Chaucer Crescent. He could have simply pulled out on Monomeath, crossed Canterbury and then turned onto Chaucer Crescent and Bob’s your uncle. What was the point of not doing so? Mr. Cruel knew the family car would be found parked on Chaucer Crescent. This would tell the police in general where he had parked his own car. It seems pointless not going there direct.

Monomeath1

1, Monomeath; 2, Mont Albert; 3, Canterbury Road; 4, Chaucer Crescent. That is not a main highway to the south of Chaucer. It is a railroad track.

But the overall area of Chaucer Crescent does indicate he had parked near the park there. Perhaps this is also how he had stalked the area– jogging or biking. (Still, how he had come across Nichola Lynas so that his brain became so heated he had to take the extra risks in this posh neighborhood is unfathomable.) He apparently felt he left no forensic clues in the family car. This reflects his pattern of wearing a unique set of clothes for the occasion of the attack and then destroying them.

He turned up and down many side streets on his way to his secret lair. It took some time, but Nichola finally arrived at the place where she would endure 50 hours of bizarre sexual assaults.  She was able to count the number of jets that flew over and noted they sounded like they were landing in the distance. This suggested to police that Mr. Cruel’s nasty abode was under the flight pattern of the Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine. More specific than that, however, they could not pinpoint it.

Chaucer Crescent1
Chaucer Crescent– exact location where Mr. Cruel parked is unknown by me.

 

From the description of both girls (Wills; Lynas), the lair was not big. Each knew there was a bedroom, a bathroom, a separate toilette, and a kitchen. The driveway was on the right side of the house, and the house a step up. There was a slider door in the bedroom covered by a full length drape. There was a case in the bedroom that was covered with a towel, indicating something was therein that was a dead giveaway to Mr. Cruel’s identity.

But Nichola gave us more clues than Sharon. When Mr. Cruel led her from the abode to that junker car of his, she said it was about 5 steps on the driveway from the side door, and they went through the kitchen to get to the driveway. Obviously, he didn’t take them to and from the house via the front door, and the side door through which he took them was right off the driveway and this was in the kitchen. There was no garage.

But far more important is one intriguing fact which is implicitly contained herein. It tells us about his front yard. Mr. Cruel did not fear neighbors seeing him lead a blindfolded girl out to his car.

All these are clues on the type of lair and its location on a street.

But there is a bigger picture here that helps us track Mr. Cruel. There is his relatively tight area of catch and release, if you will. He remained within the east and northeast of Melbourne. His attacks on Wills and Lynas, and soon on his final victim, Karmein Chan, will reveal that he used the M3 Highway. He may have driven Wills and Lynas around hither and thither to confuse them as to where they were being taken, but he had no need to do that for his first attack in Lower Plenty. He invaded the home and sexually assaulted the 10 year old victim within the house while her parents were tied up in their bedroom.

Since Mr. Cruel did not need to hide the location of his evil lair here at No 1, he must have taken a fairly direct route to Para and Main Road, near where the house of the victim was situated. The same is true when he returned to his abode. The M3 is no good for getting to and leaving from Lower Plenty. Thus we have more than one route to which Mr. Cruel limited himself. The first was not a highway, and then when wishing to access his next victims further to the southeast of Lower Plenty, he chose the M3.

We now have the clues in place that allow us to narrow down and start looking in a community under the Melbourne airport flight path. But first, we must look at his final attack in our next Mr. Cruel post. More clues will help lead the way.

*         *          *

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.

Mr. Cruel’s 3rd Night Out

It was a warm July, 1990. Mr. Cruel wasn’t national news yet. He was known in the Melbourne area where he had struck two victims, both boldly in alarming circumstance. The first in her own home after having tied up the rest of the family; the second was in the most bizarre and premediated circumstances. He tied up the family at gunpoint and then abducted the 10 year old victim from her own home and took her to his lair where he assaulted her over an 18 hour period, ostensibly filming it in the process. The he drove her to another part of town and dropped her off.

This wasn’t your average creep. This was a Grade A, D Choice creep.

The attacks had come about 1.5 years apart. So it wasn’t like he was a scourge. . . yet.

But he was obviously a very strange and premeditative predator and therefore potentially a very omnipresent menace. The Melbourne Police also realized this jacket job knew his thing. He had excessive zeal in limiting forensic evidence. This was an enormous clue, for it indicated he believed he could be identified by even the slightest clue such as a hair left behind. Nevertheless, he was leaving a pattern. He had struck homes near main thoroughfares. Easy in, easy out, to the communities he stalked in northeast Melbourne.

Although it had been a year and a half since he had last struck, no one on the night of July 3, 1990, would have been expecting an attack on Monomeath Avenue. It was in the heart of the Canterbury area of northeast Melbourne. These were upscale homes in an area hard to stalk. This was an old part of town, with streets cross-crossing in a grid pattern. The other locations had been close to highways and main streets, not deep in a community. There was little way to stalk these streets and blend in.

Toward the center of the long street, far from any easy escape, one of the homes was owned by an English executive of a British company. Tonight was their last night in the home. They were preparing to go back to England. They were moving in closer to town to rent a townhouse for their last month remaining in Australia. They were away tonight. Their daughters Fiona and Nichola were home. Nichola was only 13.

In any case, somehow Mr. Cruel had long stalked young Nichola and entered the house tonight while her parents were away. It was after 11 p.m. He entered the house through the parents’ bedroom window– a sure indication he knew they were not home tonight. The girls had eaten a pizza and were sleeping together in the same bedroom tonight since they were alone.

16ca6d92ab0fb0a5d8f2b9504efb5215
Pretty Nichola Lynas

 

Mr. Cruel crept into the bedroom. With the blunt end of a knife he tapped on Nichola’s head. She awoke to see a man in a ski mask. He wore gloves, and had a gun. He started with his usual lines to keep the girls calm. He said he only wanted money. At gunpoint, they led him around the house to where money was kept. Nevertheless, he didn’t take any, including 4,000 dollars in traveler’s checks.  He led them back to the bedroom and then took out precut clothesline and hogtied Fiona on her stomach. He led Nichola back to the kitchen and took the keys to the family’s rented car.

Then they went to Nichola’s bedroom. Here Mr. Cruel took a number of pieces of her clothes. He told her to dress. He put the extra clothes he took into one of Nichola’s bags. In the hallway he stopped so Fiona could hear his questions. He asked about the father’s employment, and then said he was taking Nichola for 25,000 dollars ransom. He would call later with the instructions. Fiona was obviously to relay this to the parents.

Mr. Cruel then led Nichola out to the family’s car, ordered her onto the floor, then pulled down a cap she wore over her eyes. He drove off.

Fortunately, Fiona had looked up and out the window. He noticed that as the two had walked to the car, with Mr. Cruel’s arm around Nichola’s shoulder, he must have been about 5 foot 8 inches tall.

Another valuable clue follows. Mr. Cruel drove only a short distance. By Nichola’s reckoning he had had turned left onto Mont Albert Road and continued on. Then he parked and blindfolded her with adhesive tape. Then he started and turned onto another street. They stopped and got out and walked a short distance and got in another car. They drove off.

Mr. Cruel drove up and down streets. Nichola was sure it was to fool her on direction and distances. Eventually they came to the lair. He referred to the bedroom, a kitchen, a toilette, and a separate bathroom. He replaced her adhesive tape blindfold with surgical cotton eye pads which he taped to her head.

It was the same routine as with Sharon Wills. Nichola was put in the bed and assaulted off and on over a period of time. Then she was cleaned up, fed old scraps (like bread and water), then assaulted again. After her first assault, she was leashed via some harness around her neck to the headboard of the bed. Then Mr. Cruel fell asleep next to her. One day she was dressed in her tennis outfit and then assaulted. This nut was real kinky.

Nichola too had taken the chance to look through a slit in her blindfolds. She saw the room, the bathroom, and she too heard aircraft passing over. On Wednesday morning she estimated 7 to 9 jets passed over, and they sounded like they were landing. Mr. Cruel played the radio quite a bit, which of course gave Nichola clues as to the time. She had heard the planes, for instance, before 10 a.m.

The difference here and the previous victim, Sharon Wills, was that Mr. Cruel kept Nichola for 50 hours before dropping her off, like Wills, at a different part of town. She had been completely clean and was minus any forensic evidence. This location was within a few miles of her home, on Tennyson Street in Kew. It was 2 a.m. Friday,  her birthday. She eventually got the police and was taken back home.

Several clues exist here that are of value. Nichola was very keen in her observations. We know more about Mr. Cruel’s pad, behavior, and parts of his MO for stalking a victim. We will start to analyze these in our next Mr. Cruel post. The attacks were so brazen, so arrogant, that he was now a household name in Australia. The nation was stunned at how careful this sick pedophile was.

*         *          *

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.

EAR/ONS POI RAP DNA– It’s the Science of Deduction, Sherlock!

Like the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes I have striven to perfect the science of deduction. It is inherent in the word quest that one is seeking a final outcome. For mystery that means the answer; for crime mysteries that means the solution.

But I like the science of deduction to be fun. Without being applied to something it cannot be of any real use. On occasion I subtly list clues in my posts. I like to see if people enjoy putting them together.

I’ve been asked several times about how DNA was obtained for my prime EAR/ONS POI. I intentionally gave only minimal clues in the announcement, but they should have been enough, at least enough to get some of the more academic to start probing for the other pieces of the puzzle so they can assemble the full picture.

Here are the clues again: POI dead; body DNA; no exhumation; search warrant needed.

Consider.  Especially the legal eagles. What is the logical deduction? Observe, Classify, Infer (Rules of Circumstantial Evidence), Interpret.

Ciao belli e belle

*         *          *

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.

Become My Twit.

Apparently Facebook and Twitter users don’t mix. Many were griped that I got off of Twitter a few months ago. I really only used it to share links to my articles here, book announcements, or TV and radio appearances. Apparently that is all they wanted me to use it for. Ha!

So I reactivated my account. I’m just trying to accommodate as many as I can. I won’t be too active on there in a personal way.

*         *          *

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.

Angling EAR/ONS

I sit here. Not idly, though I wish. I sit here going over my alternates in the POI pile of EAR/ONS. I am not one to like waiting.  It is time to dust these alternates off just in case RAP should turn up negative or a partial hit. I have not written about them. I have posted only about another POI in terms of being a link to EAR. . . . But I have not written a syllable about the others. RAP was neck and neck with a few others. But there was more than a reinterpretation of the comfort zone pattern which thrust him to prominence.

I sit here now going over the alternates, noticing some of those intangibles which would place them as very much in the category of the unsuspected. Let us at least discuss this angle in this post. It is the angle of approach which I believe all EAR POI must have. EAR must have been the unsuspected.

Looking at EAR composites does the opposite of narrowing down the field. Some are radically different. Either more than one person (and thus innocent person) is the inspiration for these composites or– well, no there is no other either. It can only be that some of these composites are merely of other young men in the block. Each composite was inspired by some young man unknown to the block but seen before-the-fact. There is no composite of EAR taken while he was in action.

Some of these composites are radically different than the popular “Billy Mumy” composite, which RAP matches the most. But those within my POI list who match  them have a few quirks which warrant curiosity. Two of them in particular. They grew up in Carmichael, but they were schooled at Cordova High. I can’t explain this other than their father was employed by the San Juan Unified School District, the area within which EAR struck. As a result, they knew areas of Rancho C, but still lived across the river in the heart of Carmichael. Their father had a quirk of buying only corner houses. He bought quite a few of them. Why? I don’t know. But it is a curiosity (and by no means evidence) that EAR largely struck corner homes or the house next door. He seemed particularly comfortable with corner houses, as if to suggest he grew up in one and was used to approaching and retreating from one. It is a thin strand, but one that entices one to look more closely into the individual.

No3

Thus though they went to school in Rancho Cordova, they would not be suspects there. And though they lived in the Carmichael area they may not have been suspected for another reason.  They would have been high school guys, but not your usual. Graduation year fluctuated, which is the polite way of saying that each got held back a grade. I don’t know why. It may have been a move in their family’s background. Each thus graduated at the age of 20. One would have just graduated and one would have been a high school senior during EAR’s first year of attacks, though one was 20 and one was 19.

Sports– yes. Both were tops at what they did. Both sports made them quite agile, and one sport required that one of them shave his legs. EAR certainly was quite adroit in getting into the window on Malaga (No 3). And supposedly he had stubble on his legs at No 7, was it? image_large-unknown suspect

Both were the right size (about 5′-9-10″), blondish dishwater to brown hair. Eye color unknown. I won’t show a pic. Basically these composites are good enough. Sadly,  one is undated and not listed with the particular location in which this person was seen.

The wrecking angle is weaker with both than with RAP, but construction is a closer fit. Very much so.

You can see from this that in general they fit perfectly. They would also have been the unsuspected. They grew up near Stollwood Park, only a couple of blocks from Ladera Way (Victim 10), only a few blocks north of RAP, and through the subsequent homes their father owned they were very close to the Winding Way attack sites and, frankly, most every other attack site. In fact, both of them could be the inspiration for the composites presented here, but that does not make either of them EAR.

5-17-77
Is this EAR or simply another local youth?   

 

Indeed there are some things which don’t fit– For one, the eldest married in 1977. He moved up to the north part of Sacramento in 1978 (corner house, of course) and then in 1981 I can put him in Fair Oaks (at a corner house again). Maintaining a residence up here is all right with EAR’s So. Cal prowling. From my analysis I can’t see anything that says EAR lived down there. But EAR struck 4 days after Alternate No. 1’s wedding. I reduced him in priority on the assumption he was on a honeymoon.

These impressions are based on being outside and looking in. We see but the veneer– young, married man who fits the composites (some of them), was schooled in Rancho C but lived in the East Area where his parents had several corner homes. Some of it fits, but some doesn’t fit . . .in impressions anyway.

The brother is more shadowy.

There is another significant impression. How did he, and soon, his brother, escape the dragnet? The sheriffs concentrated on Rancho C in the beginning and then Carmichael. I would imagine both would have been considered viable until high school was mentioned. Their ages at 20 and 19 may not have been mentioned. My impression that escaping the dragnet is significant is an after-the-fact impression. It may not have taken much to escape suspicion. Their physical likeness, though considerable to composites, would probably not have been an influence. From published material, Bevins and his task force didn’t seem to have much faith in any composite they had so far seen. When the “general composite” was issued for the first time in May 1977, it had the most damning caption, the Sheriff warning that nothing may be entirely accurate in it.

In dusting off these POIs I become more convinced that RAP should have been the one pursued first. He never married and was decidedly in a strange family circumstance. He was far outside of the dragnet, though he too grew up in Carmichael and maintained a very stealthy connection to the area. He graduated at in 1977 as well, and this is the one disturbing thing that doesn’t fit. He wasn’t a couple of years older than normal for a senior either. He was 18.  There are things in EAR’s pattern which suggest he was quite tethered in his first year of attacks and then after the summer of 1977 he was free. It is only then that he expanded his crime spree. He had a VW and access to wrecking cars.

It is best to put aside impressions and just wait and see.  Yet perhaps we should look at a few more POI (in general) while we wait.  For another post. . . . As always, after about 6,300 POIs, it is the quality of being the unsuspected which should draw us to anyone remaining.

*         *          *

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.