I only refer to message boards when condemning a core group of alias names and obsolete clipart icon profile photos for some of their comments. As a result those who have never had personal contact with me may think that this is my only regard for others out there interested in EAR. I think it appropriate here to acknowledge the level of my regard for many others, those careful and dedicated.
In the beginning . . .there was only one website on the web, put up by Robert Neville. It had only the thin basics of the incidents and he tried to work out attack locations as best as he could. J.J. MacGregor had a section up too on a website, placing up as many newspaper articles as he could and also trying to estimate attack locations. Both were indispensable. Indeed they were groundbreaking.
They were islands of sobriety amidst a sea of strange buffs. After I put up Q Files, in response to my own boots-on-the-ground investigation and analysis, I was surprised to be introduced to many people who had a long interest in the case. Dozens, literally, dozens of people– including victims– joined me on Facebook or emailed me, telling me of their horrendous experience online. Each had a unique condemnation for the message boards where alias names spouted their gospel.
I had lamented that there really were no dominant websites on the topic of EAR/ONS. Unlike ZODIAC, where the topic was dominated by names and their websites, the alias world of the message boards seemed to dominate EAR/ONS.
Much has happened since then. Now there are more websites, some very good layouts and details. Those interested in the topic should surf them all. Those who took the time and resources to do them should be thanked greatly.
Since then Michelle Cruz and Debbie Domingo have become quite involved, both family members of murder victims. They have taken heat by some involved in alias drive-by piety. They have been condemned as “professional victims” when they are the furthest thing from. I have encountered professional victims. It is not a pretty sight. Debbie has made herself speak about her own mother’s death, and Michelle has spoken about the death of her own dear sister. This is not something they relish.
News media needs someone around which to build a story. As such, Debbie and Michelle have become cornerstones to help get the case recognized. This, of course, makes them the center of attack by those who really aren’t involved in a substantive way. These members of the audience judge only from what is presented, not rationally from their own involvement. It has not been easy for Michelle and Debbie. The strange misplaced pious insults are only yet another wound put on them in a period of over 30 years. No one endures this just to get attention.
Prior to websites there was no choice for those interested but to try and navigate a very alias world online. Many of them are very careful, dedicated researchers. Each in their way tried to bring clarity and sobriety. They may have lurked on the boards more than dominated. But they were bold and sincere. One, perhaps the only, even got into the restricted community in Dana Point, and lent me her pictures. During one online argument over what happened at Victim 9’s, she went out into the slough behind the house and took many detailed pictures of a part I had not walked. This is investigating.
I’m told the A&E message board (in the very early days) was so rancid that it prompted A&E to ask Michelle McNamara to look into the topic. She soon became the focus of buffs, toadies, and critics, and retreated to a more private investigation. Unfortunately, I cannot do that. I have said my investigation would be as public as possible.
As the websites gain in momentum, the nasty alias world of cyber “buffs” dwindles. This is to everybody’s benefit. But such names as Robert Neville, J.J. MacGregor, Debbie Domingo, Michelle Cruz, Jane Sandler (Victim 5), and Michelle McNamara should be remembered with distinction. They tried to bring the spotlight to a case few appreciated until the websites started to bring interest and clarity to the topic.
Ultimately, none of this would have achieved any lasting momentum without 2 of the original detectives from the long-spanning case having come forward. Each wrote books, bringing to the public many more details. These are, of course, Lt. Larry Crompton (Sudden Terror) and Lt. Richard Shelby (Hunting a Psychopath). Because they are both self published works, they did not gain the circulation that their contents merit. But they are indispensable. There are no 2 others who have done as much to get this case recognized. Any foundation that has been built has been built upon their work. If you do not give up, you do not fail. Neither gave up, even decades after their retirement.
I believe it still strikes all involved as astounding that such a case as this was ever forgotten; that it was so broad it was hidden by the scope of its enormity. It took 20 years for law enforcement to piece all of it together. It took many more years for others to try and present it on the web. They should not be forgotten. Those who come after and take detailed websites for granted do not know what those involved had to wade through just to try and bring out the facts in this case. The audience only sees the end result. They don’t understand the work and pain that went into it. They should never forget the names mentioned here nor allow anyone to lightly tread on their reputations.
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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.