Narrowing the Dragnet–the Hunt for Mr. Cruel

Australia’s Mr. Cruel is certainly the embodiment of calculated evil. His preparations to limit any kind of forensic evidence he might leave behind were meticulously planned, almost over-planned.

But 2 things he forgot– his first attack and his final attack’s disposal site. His route to and from them he did not have to protect. He was a beginner at Lower Plenty with his first attack. He raped the poor girl in the house while her family was gagged and tied up. Then he left and went back to his squalid lair to fester.

I’m sure he chose the most direct route home. Why would he not?

The dump site for Victim 4.


For his next 2 attacks he had to be evasive to protect his route home. At both home attacks the fiend kidnapped the under-aged victims and took them to his lair, there to assault them for 18 and 50 hours respectively. He made sure he drove down side routes and back and forth down streets. Both girls said that he drove all around.

This is curious, as it suggests that his route back home was rather straightforward.


1, marks the attack site in Lower Plenty. This was Mr. Cruel’s first victim. No major highway is near there. But Rural 44 courses down to merge with a very significant route– Rural 40. Arrows mark the way. Click to enlarge.

For these last two attacks he had clearly used the M3 Highway at one point, either to access them or then to drop them back off  in neighborhoods near to where they lived. He passed one of the victim’s home to get to Bayswater, and he stopped just short of Victim’s 3 neighborhood to drop her off in Kew. Each site was off the M3.

But for his final victim this was unnecessary.  He used either Rural 40 or the M3 to access her neighborhood too, but he either never intended to bring her back or something went wrong and she got a glimpse of his face or, worse, something that would easily mark the location of his lair. Precise location would more quickly identify him than a facial composite.

Routes intersect

The route to and from Lower Plenty is marked with yellow arrows (Rural 44 and 40). High Street is marked in red arrows. Dump site for Victim 4 is marked 4. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Cruel drove her to a landfill at High Street and Mahoneys Road. There was no need to disguise his way there. He knew he was going to snuff out her life, which he did with 3 shots to the head. This intersection, under development at that time, is on remarkably straight line from the major streets that he would have used to return from Lower Plenty.

This bolsters the hypothesis that these two locations and the direct routes that service them lead to his lair. We can ad one other factor. Both kidnapped girls that he had returned after their harrowing ordeal reported hearing jets fly overhead while they were kept chained to the bed in his lair. They sounded like they were coming in for a landing. This told police that the lair was under the flight approach to the Melbourne Airport.


Route 40 is significant. It is marked in yellow arrows. It connects the northeast and east area of Melbourne where Mr. Cruel struck with the north of Melbourne and the communities under the airport flight path. It also connects to the M3 (broad red line)Attack points are marked in numbers. Drop off points are marked by stars.  Click to enlarge.

The communities under this flight path were Keilor, Plenty, Watsonia, McLeod, Strathmore, and Coburg. Most important here for us is Coburg. The roads we have discussed above lead straight to Coburg. This is where we begin.

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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.

Mr Cruel’s 4th Night Out

It hadn’t been the usual stretch between attacks. It was April 13, 1991. The location (Templestowe) fit with Mr. Cruel’s broad area of attack off the M3 in the east/northeast of Melbourne. It was a corner house, at a main cross road– Serpells and Church.

13 year old Karmein Chan was home with her two younger sisters. They were watching a documentary about Marilyn Monroe. The parents were tending to one of their popular Chinese restaurants. It was a little past 9 p.m. Karmein and one of her sisters went to the kitchen. There facing them in the darkened hallway was a man standing there wearing a balaclava ski mask. In his hand was a large carving knife. ChanHe led them back to the bedroom and shoved both of the younger sisters into a closet and sealed them therein using the bed.

Karmein Chan was his intended victim. He took her. When the sisters got free they found the house was empty. The police came screaming to the area. A thorough search revealed a cut window screen via which the intruder had entered. Curiously, the Chan’s car outside in the driveway was spray-painted: “Payback Asian Drug Dealer.”  The door was lettered: “More and more to come.”

Police investigation proved that the Chans weren’t connected with drug dealing. The lettering on the car, coupled with the location of the attack, and the sisters’ description of the intruder, all smacked of Mr. Cruel. It was his MO to leave a false motive as a misleading clue. In each case, so far, he had done that. Usually it had been verbal, something one of the parents or siblings could relate to the police. While the police were chasing false clues, this gave him time with the kidnapped Mr.cruelgirls to assault and film them in his hideous lair before he returned them to a street corner somewhere.

He didn’t do that here. He didn’t leave any false clue with the sisters. The false clue was in the lettering of the family car.

But then there was a kink in the MO. Karmein never returned. Despite her mother pleading on the TV, despite days going by, Karmein was never seen again. This wasn’t Mr. Cruel’s MO.

Almost a year later on April 9, 1992, Karmein’s remains were found in a field at a cross street under development. The bulldozer uncovered the skull first. Forensics proved it was Karmein. She had been dispatched by 3 bullets to the back of the head (presumably a small caliber gun).

Chan grave

There is therefore some debate. Was Mr. Cruel responsible? From the broader picture, it seems he was. Therefore there was some speculation. Karmein was pretty feisty.  She was the kind to fight back. It is possible that she got a view of Mr. Cruel and he disposed of her to protect his wicked identity.

If so, this fits with Mr. Cruel’s excessive zeal to protect his identity.  Yet what were the chances that Karmein’s composite of him would truly lead to his identity? Many villains have had more than one sketch done of them by eyewitnesses and have never been caught. Either Mr. Cruel was a very recognizable citizen, had a distinguishing mark under the mask, or he was truly ignorant of the stats that a single eyewitness, even briefly, could lead to his identity.

Either Mr. Cruel was really dumb or really smart, from an evil standpoint anyway. Or perhaps she saw something more incriminating. Perhaps she saw the lair and it was in a distinctive area.

In any event, Mr. Cruel was obviously cold-blooded enough to commit the murder of a 13 year old child just on the belief he was protecting his identity.

Mr. Cruel never struck again. Either killing Karmein took too much out of him or. . . or why? Perhaps because he had a murder charge hanging over him now, and the coward realized it was too risky. He disappeared, and remains one of Australia’s most sought after villains.

As this case ends the known and accepted Mr. Cruel attacks, it is time to go into some analysis. Mr. Cruel left clues, and the most revealing are found in the broader picture of the crime spree and his stalking MO.

In the next post we will begin to assemble these.

*         *          *

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.





In Quest of the real Phantom of the Opera– NORCAL RAPIST

Still . . .

He is the last holdout. He is the last of the calculated predators who methodically assessed their victims long before the fact. He has faded into obscurity and this has helped preserve his evil identity in the shadows despite one victim having put a scar over his right eye. Rapists don’t get the press they deserve. Only murderers get those catchy monikers that draw our attention. This villain in question here is only known as NORCAL Rapist because he traveled the distance between the Bay Area, Sacramento and Chico– thus northern California. But he is more than a rapist. His name and the number of his attacks do not reflect his evil. He is the last of the tainted breed of calculating predators.

He did not waylay. Somehow he found out the identity of his victims and attacked them in their house. He had carefully planned his performance. He wore masks– on a Halloween attack he wore a trick-or-treat mask. He even sluiced some of his dialogue with sarcasm. He had the gall, above all else he did, to even park in one victim’s garage. When she returned home from work, she thought it was her roommate’s friend’s car. It was NORCAL. He had already bound her roommate inside, parked his car in the garage, and awaited his next victim. Just like a spider in its web. He raped both and then took both into the shower to try and get rid of any forensic evidence.


Only Sacramento County, as I have said before, filed against his DNA– thus bypassing statute of limitations. I don’t believe any information was officially preserved in the other jurisdictions where he struck. Police reports have probably been thrown out.

He has been silent since 2006. Ten victims fell before him– twice as many as that attributed to Jack the Ripper.

It is essential that this villain is outed. A step in this direction, of course, is detailed information. The location of the strikes need to be revealed. This will assist in finally solving this case. This will eventually reveal his stalking MO and probably how he uncovered and scoped-out his intended victims.  It is still possible to catch this dramatic, taunting home and life breaker.

He attacked in Rohnert Park, Martinez, Vallejo, Woodland, Davis, Sacramento, Chico starting in the early 1990s. He robbed his victims and in one case was captured on an ATM camera wearing a distorting facial mask.

If you have any information, please message or email me. Thank you. It will remain confidential.

*         *          *

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.


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.


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 main intersecting roads. 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 main roads.

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.

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.

Night 2 of Mr. Cruel– Part II

In continuance of Part I of Night 2 of Mr. Cruel:

Mr. Cruel led 10 year old Sharon Wills into a domicile of sorts, or so it seemed. The entrance was one step up from the driveway, which was on the right side of the residence. Being blindfolded, more than this young Sharon could not discern. But she ended up in a bedroom and was placed upon a bed.

The ordeal to follow is too harrowing for anyone to imagine, but because Sharon was unusually collected and brave we have details. Mr. Cruel switched out her makeshift blindfold for a pair of sleepers and taped them to her head. As she lay there in the bedroom, she heard a bath being run in the adjoining bathroom. He returned and led her to a bathroom and ordered Sharon to bathe and clean her teeth. She could hear a radio on. It was Station 3TT.  When finished, she was led back into the bedroom and placed upon the bed. It was about 7 a.m. We know this because Sharon heard the 7 a.m. news on.

For 18 hours Mr. Cruel kept her in his lair. She remained on the bed, being sexually assaulted from time to time.  After he finished assaulting her, he went out and soon came back with a glass of milk and a stale vegemite sandwich. She ate and drank. When finished he told her he had to go someplace. He leashed her to the bed backboard by a harness around the neck.

Mr. Cruel left.

Despite the warnings that her life didn’t mean squat compared to his identity, Sharon snuck peaks under her blindfold. Gauche would be putting it mildly. The colors of the room were all on the orange to yellow side, including the drapes (possibly covering a glass slider door) and the wall paint color. What stood out the most were two things. There was a wood tripod past the foot of the bed– but no camera on it. Beyond that there was some kind of large cabinet or some piece of furniture covered by a towel in front of it.

So far by this time, Sharon had heard two planes pass over the house.

Mr Cruel--overalls
Like with attack No. 1, Mr. Cruel dressed in a way that left no forensic evidence at the house of the victim.


Mr. Cruel finally returned. He unleashed her and took her another bedroom (?) and assaulted her again., Afterward, she again had to go bathe. Then he took her to the main bedroom again and leashed her to the bed. He checked on her frequently. After the last time she was assaulted, he took her to the bathroom again and told her she had to shower and wash her hair this time.

It was time to go. He carefully dressed her with the extra pair of clothes and put a garbage bag on her head. It came down to her waist. She was led out and put on the floorboard of a car. It had trouble starting. Mr. Cruel told her that stolen cars sometimes had trouble starting. He got it started and she could sense they were backing out. He drove both slowly and quickly and finally came to a location and parked. He picked her up and carried her and sat her down when tired. He finally set her down for the last time.

He now told her how to get to a nearby Food Plus store and removed the garbage bag and blindfold. He warned her not to look as he left. She was eventually seen standing at the corner by a motorist and soon returned to her parents. 18 hours had passed. It was the dark of early morning of December 28. Her abductor was gone and had left no clues except how careful he had been.

. . . And this is significant.

One, he made young Sharon bathe first. He wanted her clean for the sexual molesting . . .perhaps . . . but he also didn’t want any forensic evidence from her and her residence being in this bedroom. He made her bathe the other times to remove any forensic evidence he might have left.

As for that covered piece of furniture– there must have been something unique about it or, if a glass case, something unique about what it contained that he feared it could give his identity away. This means he feared, however slightly, the child would sneak a peak.

Yet by contrast the bedroom seemed almost like it was a gaudy anodyne design one would expect in a cheap motel room.

Mr. Cruel was careful indeed. There was no forensic evidence on Sharon. We have only her testimony, largely from sensation, of where she might have been taken, and then we have the brief glimpses of the room and bathroom.

But the overall clues are tantalizing. The clue on the location of this evil lair is provided by the time element between the time Sharon was kidnapped and  when she heard the 7 a.m. news.  It was under an hour and a half from her home. The amount of driving about hither and thither also tells us something: his lair may have been on a fairly direct route with Sharon’s house. Recall, she lived on Hillcrest right by the onramps to major highways. A blindfolded girl could easily detect a direct route. Also, Mr. Cruel must have known the district by Bayswater High School where he had dropped her within miles of her home. He knew he could walk around here in the hours just around midnight with a kid with a garbage bag around her and not be seen. This, too, is a clue as to where he had parked here. It was less developed back then, but he probably parked near trails and park areas.


Top, left, the star indicates Hillcrest Avenue where Sharon was abducted. The star, lower right, marks the area where she was dropped off 18 hours later.

There are a few other things we can deduce. When Mr. Cruel left Sharon alone for the longest, he may have removed the camera and taken the tape to another room to check out the footage. He then later returned and shot the assaults from different angles.

The claim the car was stolen is probably bogus. He wasn’t using a very good car.

The police began to consider he must have lived near the Melbourne Airport, but that is a big area. So big that he must have felt this clue could not betray him. He was so meticulous, even excessively cautious, he must have known the airplanes could be heard overhead.

Most intriguing of all is that piece of furniture he had to cover. If there was something in there you’d think he would just remove it. The piece of furniture must have been very unique. . . . and perhaps this was not a residence but a business made up to be a bedroom for a night or two. A stale sandwich for the girl? Was there nothing better than that in a lived-in house?

These and many other clues must be considered.

*         *          *

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.

The ZODIAC– Final edit on HorrorScope

An except from part of Chapter 1 of HorrorScope— “The Sign of the Crimes” by Gian J. Quasar. I set the in place the times and seasons. . .


History moved on. Events came and went. The clock ticks slowly and we come forward. The Summer of Love was long over by the end of 1968.

Rural East Bay area hamlets were still mainstream. Hippies weren’t in large numbers here. Though they had been exiting the Haight for country communing and impromptu ashrams, Vallejo, an industrial, shipbuilding town was not an expected destination for them. Some of the locals may have begun to morph, but it was only appearances. These were known as “hippie types” because their hair was sprouting or they had a peace symbol necklace or some such other paraphernalia that middleclass youth adapted as fashionable. The average youth still looked like pre-antiestablishment teens. Guys had short hair. Their slacks were nicely fitting, their shirts had button-down collars. Some had long sideburns. Some had Beatle haircuts. Elaborate coiffures adorned mainstream gals; cat-eye glasses, miniskirts of bright colors— the full monty of 1966 was still vogue in 1968.

The Haight was only an hour away, if that, and Vallejo teens could sample the “far out” when they wanted. But pure hippie veneer was still too extreme for the mainstream, especially for high school kids with their sense of peer pressure. High schools forbade the extreme looks anyway. PTAs would not bend. Yet the new morality could be sampled behind any veneer. It didn’t require morphing into a hippie. Pot was smoked. Sex was free. Both could be sampled easiest at the lovers’ lanes.


Columbus Parkway was a significant northeast Bay Area road, even if your average metropolitan Bay Area resident didn’t know it. It was the first exit off Highway 80, the main highway coming to the Bay Area from Sacramento. It was just before Vallejo. It skirted the town by wending along the grassy foothills. But it wasn’t a dead end country road. It connected with Lake Herman Road. This was also a main country road. It connected this rural area with Highway 680 to the east of Vallejo. Coincidently, Lake Herman Road was likewise the first cutoff coming from Sacramento on Highway 680, on the outskirts of Benicia. These two highways formed a huge fork around Vallejo and Benicia, each coming from Sacramento to the Bay Area. They came together again at Highway 780 along the Carquinez Strait. Short of 780, these backroads were the quickest and easiest ways between these two highways.

Easy access made these roads perfect for lovers’ lanes; remote at night, dark, with turnouts and entrances to unattended ranchland in the rolling hills. Paradoxically, despite the convenience these roads offered they were not heavily trafficked. Most traffic along Lake Herman Road went to Lake Herman and the recreation areas. Most traffic on Columbus Parkway was for going to Blue Rock Springs Park or to the new golf course. This was Vallejo’s famous and beautiful country park situated in the foothills. While locals more than metros knew how these roads connected, tens of thousands who used the lake or visited the parkland would have learned over time how they were a major convenience.

From the peak of Lake Herman Road, at night, the only light was the distant and the bloodless halogen lights of the new Humble Oil Refinery on the outskirts of Benicia. They gave a faint indigo glow to the inky veil hanging over the Carquinez Strait. During the daytime this veil was a thin, milky haze, turning the silhouette of Mount Diablo far to the south into a transparent shade. Devil’s Mountain was like the island volcano rising high from the jungles. Every mountain range in the Contra Costa corridor cringed at its feet. Mt. Diablo was visible from every angle of the Bay Area, from San Francisco across the bay, looming over the Berkeley Hills as they genuflected on their knees before it. A particularly nice vantage point is at the end of Lake Herman Road, where it meets Highway 680. Here a special viewing area exists.

I do not belabor these points without reason. This area is indeed an integral part of the sign of the crimes. Not only was a time and season in history being assaulted, so was a place . . . but most of all a type of victim.

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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.