On my Witnesses in Charcoal page on the Q Files I go into some detail, though not excessive detail, trying to work out the origins of the EAR sketches in public circulation. No one sketch will be entirely too accurate, but taken together we should get a fairly reliable outline, if all the sketches taken down of a “suspicious person” in the general neighborhoods both before or after an attack are truly of EAR.
Those who follow true crime cases know that a single sketch is shaky at best for reflecting complete reliability. Take the case of ZODIAC, for example. Only two real sketches exist, and they were quite at odds.
Until EAR’s attack on Victim 15 in Rancho Cordova (Benny and Dolecetto), there had been no victim who had seen EAR’s face while he was in action. Here he wore a tight balaclava– these are the ski masks with a thin visor for the area of the eyes. No holes. It is called the “open face” mask because of the sketch. But it is not an open face mask. There is no such thing obviously. In this case, his face was revealed because he had pulled the visor area down around his chin in order to do his thing. The victim got a view of his face briefly.
This is it.
A sketch was done. Later, a composite was done minus the distorted ski mask around his face. It was the same face, only now hair and ears were worked in based on other reports. This progression gives us what is sometimes called the “most reliable sketch.”
My purpose here is not to argue what is the most reliable sketch. (I don’t think any single one is.) It is merely to reiterate the provenance of the sketch often called the most reliable. It has been mislabeled many times, including being called the sketch based on the report of Rod Miller, the Ripon Court Shooting victim.
The problem with the second sketch above is that the facial features are based on the distortion of the face caused by a tight balaclava stretched back– this causing the face to look rounder/wider, the eyes more open, the upper and perhaps lower lip pulled back and thus look wider too, and the eyebrows look long along the side of the head. As you can see, the sketch reflects just such features.
Most sketches of EAR make him look like he has a longer face and narrower chin, which is what the composite above would look like if not for the effects of the distorting balaclava. Adjusting the composite above in accordance with this results in the following:
The adjustment is on the right. The face is narrower, the upper lip thinner, the eyebrows shorter and the eyes slightly narrower.
A video was done showing the transmutation from the original sketch to the adjusted sketch by one of my Twitter followers, and it can be viewed on my Twitter feed.
In the long run, no single sketch really shows a distinctive face. EAR, if this is him, had nothing truly unique about him. A few composites show a heavy lower lip and heavy narrow jaw, but that is the only feature that is distinctive. A tight balaclava pulled under the chin would hide such a feature and thus it is absent above in the “most reliable” sketch.
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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.