Wigging EAR–

Sketches and accounts taken from eyewitnesses of a perp in perpetration are, based on the context, considered of higher value than those descriptions of a “suspicious” person seen in the general vicinity of a crime before-the-fact.

Although there are plenty of the latter kind of sketches and descriptions concerning the crime spree of the East Area Rapist, there are a few of him in perpetration. These will be considered here in light of this series of posts entertaining the clues there was more than one East Area Rapist initially.

The actions of EAR were usually so identical in the house of each victim that along with a physical description the investigators were relatively certain there was a single perp in most of the cases. But the crime spree of EAR is broad and deep. It lasted several years and it covered enormous territory. There is ample reason to suspect that more than one crime event and/or incident in the thick dossier of EAR was erroneously attributed to him because of a similar MO.

This is not without precedence. The recent solution to the Gypsy Hill Murders around San Mateo (1976) revealed there were two unconnected perps with similar MOs– excessive slashing. Ironically, it was a murder in Reno that bore a starkly different MO that helped identify the “Slasher.” Despite the radically different MO, DNA in the Reno case matched the perp in the San Mateo area. Circumstances had caused him to drastically change his MO in Reno, but he had smoked a cigarette and thus left DNA that matched in two of the San Mateo rape/murder cases. Nevertheless, one of the Gypsy Hill Murders was committed by another perp who used a similar MO as the one commonly used by the “Slasher.” DNA was able to distinguish him, and he too was arrested. Until that time all the Gypsy Hill Murders were considered connected, and there was no connection considered in the Reno case because it was distant and very different. The wonders of DNA!

Unfortunately, we have no DNA in the Sacramento EAR cases– about 30 cases bearing a similar MO but no easy scientific way to dissect if there is more than one perp. We have at best the radically different but consistently different description of the amount and color of hair on the perps’ arms and legs– light and sparse on one and thick and dark on the other.

On a few occasions, there is the description of longer head hair– collar length. It does with the perp that has the light hair on arms and legs. This last trait alone matches the accused J.J. DeAngelo. Yet he was a police officer with a short haircut. As such we must proceed on the assumption he used a wig, at least in a couple of cases. This article will delve into the paradoxes involved in trying to collate the evidence.

To begin:

The Ripon Court Shooter. He was seen in perpetration, February 17, 1978. He was a particularly violent swine who shot a youth (Rod Miller) for chasing him across the street from their backyard. The girl of the family fit as a type EAR liked to rape. The sketches below were based on this perp from the eyewitnesses– Rod and his father Ray.

The problem with using the Ripon Court Shooter to I.D. EAR is that he was only suspected of having been EAR. He was a prowler lurking in the backyard. No more until he shot young Rod in order to escape.

If this was J.J. DeAngelo obviously he had to be wearing a wig.  And the identikit of the Ripon Court Shooter does appear a bit like DeAngelo. He was a photographic chameleon. A slightly different angle and he looked like another person. He did not have a hooked nose, but can appear to have one in some photos.DeAngelo-cop2

I would like it to be as easy as that. I would like to move on and simply believe DeAngelo wore a wig. However, more things come into play here.

Not long before the arrest and charging of J.J. DeAngelo the SSD dug up an old 1973 case in Rancho Cordova.  This incident happened 3 years before EAR had started his crime spree. The perp was aggressive and violent. The sketch taken here from the victim revealed a remarkably similar perpetrator to Ripon Court. It is highly unlikely this perp could have been DeAngelo who was a police officer now about 4 hours away in Exeter, California, near Visalia.

Please see The Sarda Way Incident

The similarity and to an extent the MO is striking. Such a prowler was also afoot within the week before the EAR attack Nos.29/30 on College View Way. When did DeAngelo have time to do door-to-door daytime prowling? And wearing a wig in daytime might look obvious.

Sarda Way Suspect-adjusted

This isn’t enough to declare the Ripon Court Shooter was another perp, the same jacket job who was afoot in 1973. DeAngelo was around the East Area yet at a relative distance in Auburn in the foothills during the Ripon Court Shooting. For DeAngelo to be the Ripon Court Shooter, once again, he must have been wearing a wig. Therefore the Sarda Way perp was somebody else– a violent and uncouth home invader that looked similar.

However, it is also not that easy. A perp believed to be EAR was described in perpetration at Victim 17, and she saw his dark blond hair sticking out under the brim of his ski mask. This matches the shoulder length or collar length hair often reported in a canvass of victim neighborhoods before-the-fact. This matches the collar-length hair on the Ripon Court identikit. She also saw the light colored and sparse hairs on his legs. DeAngelo had such sparse leg hair.

If this is DeAngelo, why wear a wig in perpetration? In prowling a neighborhood, it is logical. It effectively disguises his strict haircut (not common for the 1970s unless in the military or a cop) and it makes him look younger. But he doesn’t intend to be seen in perpetration. Wearing it as a disguise under a disguise (ski mask) presupposes he believes he will be seen. Why would he start doing that here?

It is a fact that EAR’s face was seen in perpetration for the first time with Victim 15 in March 1977. As a cop, DeAngelo might have known that a sketch was done of what the victim had seen. It shows a man with no hair sticking out under his ski mask. The perp appears to have short hair. Did he fear that if he made a mistake again, he might be seen? EAR-adjusted3

The attack on Victim 17 (April 1977) was only a month after the attack where EAR’s face had finally been seen. Did he wear the wig even under his concealing ski mask just in case he made a mistake and was seen again?  

How then to explain why he already wore a wig in February before his face had been seen in March by Victim 15? There is, as it is obvious, no consistent way to explain the reports of collar length hair as merely a wig to use as a disguise. If DeAngelo is the perp at these crime scenes he wore it off and on for a variety of reasons.

The circumstances of the Maggiore Double murders on February 2, 1978, were so at odds with the MO of EAR that the case was not connected for over 20 years. EAR and hence now DeAngelo is considered a viable culprit in the murders. The sketch here of a “suspicious” man seen retreating down Las Casas Way is that of a short-haired man with a police haircut. It can be argued it is a likeness of DeAngelo. The murder of the couple was never considered premeditated. So if this was done by EAR, we must assume he was only prowling. Obviously, if the sketch purporting to represent DeAngelo/EAR is the murderer then he wore no wig here.image_large-Maggiore suspet

So just when did DeAngelo wear a wig? If he ever did, it was in February 1977 for prowling the Ripon Court area, but not at Victim 15 in March 1977, and then for his attack on Victim 17 in April 1977. So, basically, off and on over a two month period.

The similar MO of the Sarda Way perp and the Ripon Court perp, plus their similar appearance, must be coincidence.

So what is easiest to bring continuity here? Well, just chuck the Ripon Court perp. There’s no skin off the nose in doing so. He’s somebody else. There were a lot of nutcases on the loose in the 1970s. Then how to explain that EAR was seen in perpetration only two months later and he had collar-length dark blond hair? If DeAngelo, a wig is involved. But its use is not consistent nor often. Or this is a case that is very convoluted.

In just this short series we have touched on the clues and evidence which suggest more than one EAR. It is often hard to sort out which is DeAngelo, the accused. One has to opt for explanations rather than deducing them.


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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.

EAR No. 35– The Case of “Mr. Hairy Butt”

I jump ahead to EAR case No. 35 occurring in Davis, Calif, on June 24, 1978. I do so because of the description of the perp and of a “suspicious” person seen before-the-fact.

First, the description of the perp. EAR was here described as having a noticeably hairy backside. The rules of circumstantial evidence, plus scientific method, and hence the criterion of logic, allow us one inference from a set of circumstances that can be established as fact. What can one infer from a hairy backside? Well, I would infer his legs were also hairy. The victims do not report hairy legs, however, at least from what Shelby presents. This is another observation. What can we infer from this? He shaved them.

This inference does not stand alone on the merits of clues at No. 35. There are more observations and classifications that come into play in the greater EAR crime spree from the observations here. At Victim 16, EAR was described as having wide thighs and it felt as if he shaved his legs– to the victim the hair felt “abrasive” like stubble. The EAR with the hairy backside at Victim 35 in Davis on Rivendell Street was also described as having “big thighs.” What do we infer here?

We infer the perp at No. 35 is the same creep at Victim 16. We inferred (in earlier posts) that this perp was the same as at Victim 1 and 7, where the perp was described as having thick, dark (and lots) of hair on his arms and legs. Did he shave those very hairy arms or, at least, legs, before the strike at Victim 16? The question is inductive, of course, but the facts do stand.

I do not know how hairy J.J. DeAngelo’s backside is, naturally, and I am not  particularly eager to find out. He is the accused EAR, but this series of blog posts is designed to examine the possibility there was more than one perpetrator labeled under the East Area Rapist moniker. In the last blog post The Case is Made for 2 EARS I quote one of the original detectives on the case, Richard Shelby, who wrote that around April 1977 he could make a case for two suspects. The attack on No. 16 was April 2 just before he presented this theory to his superior, Lt. Root.

The dividing line between these two suspects always appears to be the amount and color of the hair on arms and legs.

And indeed the abrasive stubble on the perp’s thighs at No. 16 calls attention to that particularly hairy perp at Victim 1 and 7, but not Victim 3, where the perp had little hair on legs and arms. Not stubble. Sparse hair. Soon at Victim 17, April 15, 1977, the victim would also report light hair on the perp’s legs and arms. Not regrown stubble. It was not coarse. His eyes were brown. The perp at Victim 7, the “hairy guy,” had dark-blue eyes.

Descriptions of EAR in action were so thin that Victim 17’s eyewitness account tipped the scales in favor of an EAR with dark blond collar-length hair, with light hair on arms and legs. Shelby still believed in blue eyes, however, because this was supported by ephemeral information. For example, reports of a young, dark blond man had been seen a number of times in victims’ neighborhoods before-the-fact. This had led Shelby and others on the task force to believe EAR was in his early 20s with shoulder-length dark blond hair. When such a guy was seen yet again by a neighbor of Victim 16 (in jogging clothes but acting suspiciously in the neighborhood), Shelby writes that he was sure she saw the face of EAR. This must soon have been reinforced by Victim 17 seeing EAR’s dark blond hair sticking out under his ski mask. This meant collar-length hair once again.

Obviously, no one in the neighborhood of Victim 16 saw EAR at all. A young dark blond guy with blue eyes description doesn’t fit DeAngelo, even if wearing a wig, and it doesn’t fit the alternate hairy EAR at Victim 7. Yet the details gleaned from the victim while EAR was in perpetration inside the house do favor the latter– the “thick, abrasive hair,” as if he had shaved his very hairy legs.

What did this alternate EAR look like? Presumably, he is the one who inspired the original estimation (November 4, 1976) of a perp with shoulder length dark hair. But we don’t know what he looked like.

Seen near 35
Davis sketch, June 1978.

Back to No. 35 now for the sketch. There is a composite from Davis of a “suspicious” person– not in perpetration, so there is some limit to its use. He is a radical contrast to the young, dark blond dude. This composite is of a guy with curly, dark brown hair. Such a description is rare, but it also occurs at another very significant EAR related crime. Because of this other significant sighting it becomes an observation within the greater context of observations of the entire EAR crime spree that must be addressed. Let us touch on this case.

The assault on Victim 35 occurred in June 1978. Earlier that year in February such a man was also seen standing in the shadows of night on West La Loma Drive in Rancho Cordova, behind where a duplex had just suffered an attempted break-in. The neighborhood had also suffered a storm of EAR-type prowling signs, some of a graphic nature. On the night he was seen, February 2, and only 10 minutes after he was seen, Brian and Katie Maggiore would be murdered nearby. The perp’s face was not seen in any circumstance that could be called perpetration because it was too dark for the first witness and the second witness Karl Nollsch saw him with a ski mask concealing his face. We have only the before-the-fact image of a man standing in the shadows with brown, curly hair.

image_large-Maggiore suspet
The features do suggest DeAngelo

A month later a witness came forward and inspired a sketch that is not of a curly-haired man, however, but of a man with a short un-mussed haircut,  and it has been used to connect DeAngelo to the crime. DeAngelo, of course, was a cop with a similar haircut, though he parted his on the right. This short-haired man was seen after-the-fact a couple of blocks away and apparently was the man seen earlier with a gun in his pocket and holding a bundle in his hand which could have been the ski mask he had removed by this time.

For the details, please see The Maggiore Double Murder Case on The Quester Files.

The young jogger was very keen, as you can see from his account– he even noted that although he did not see the dog the Maggiores were walking he did hear the chain. He places this curly-haired man in the shadows, and this was 10 minutes before the Maggiores were murdered. Who was he? He never came forward to explain to the sheriffs why he was there.

Two people never came forward to account for themselves– the man who is the subject of the sketch with the short hair, and this guy with the curly, brown hair.

DeAngelo has been tagged as the guy with the short hair. The DA’s office has no DNA, but they are preparing a case to convict DeAngelo as the Maggiore double murderer. This blog post is neither yay nor nay regarding this. I am only acknowledging some hurdles to convictions.

As with the case of Victim 17, the prosecution is going to have to show that DeAngelo was in a position to make all the hang-up phone calls that had been made to the neighborhood prior to the night of the murder . . .prior to and especially on the night of the murder. The calls came in at 8 PM each night. The last call the night of the murder was also at 8 PM. The break-in on Capitales must have been within 30 minutes of the last 8 PM call. DeAngelo could not have made it from Auburn in that amount of time. DeAngelo would need a local lair, not just for this night but for all the others. One can say DeAngelo called from a phone booth, but these calls had been happening over weeks if not months.

Please see Moments in Crime

During this well-documented prowling glut, “EAR” struck in Stockton (No. 23), No. 24 (La Riviera), No. 25 (Foothill Farms), No. 26 (Carmichael), No. 27 (La Riviera), No. 28 (Foothill Farms), Nos. 29/30 (Carmichael), most of these cases noteworthy for being hell and gone from previous comfort zones. Nos. 29/30 (January 28, 1978) were only a few days before February 2, 1978, the night the Magiorres died.

When did a married fulltime cop living in Auburn have the time to do all of this?

The prosecution must account for why one witness saw a revolver in the back pocket of a man fleeing the scene (though on another street) when EAR was known to have used a shoulder holster on occasions. Indeed, as a cop DeAngelo would have had a number of holsters and would have been completely safe wearing one casually for his off duty weapon.   

The man with curly hair was seen behind the area where the duplex had received the attempted break-in. He was in the bushes under the tree. Then 10 minutes later the murders occur. They did not occur in a random area of the neighborhood. The confrontation between Brian Maggiore and his killer took place in front of the house on La Gloria that had received the last hang-up call that night. It would seem likely that after the failed break-in the perp went to his next target. The curly-haired guy’s position on West La Loma fits with where the perp would need to be if moving from Capitales to La Gloria. He waits in the shadows until the people walking the dog pass.

The prosecution must especially account for this curly man in the bushes and why the night of the crime he was described quite differently than the sketch of the supposed perp made a month later.

The prosecution must also account for the growing evidence there was another EAR. DeAngelo has been thought guilty of being the Maggiore killer because he is believed to be the sole East Area Rapist, and the EAR has been believed to be the killer. But this belief came more than 20 years after the crime. EAR was never linked back then. This is a sore point. The possibility of two home invasion rapists/thieves using similar MOs is more than a little problem. Here another man is seen on the night of the murders who matches a “suspicious” person seen at another EAR crime. It’s not just a random unidentified man. This other EAR case (No. 35) is where the perp is described once again as “hairy”– the dividing line that sets apart two perps.

This other case (35) wasn’t nearby so that it might be the same innocent bystander. It was in another town 40 minutes away.

The idea that the perp did have a local lair in Rancho in order to make the phone calls does favor the short-haired man being the perp– the sketch claimed to represent DeAngelo. DeAngelo had connections to Moraine Circle and it was to this location where the short-hair man on foot was seen to be retreating. The assailant at EAR Victim 8 on nearby Los Palos seemed to do the same thing as much as 1.5 years earlier. Is this enough to confirm the short-hair man as the killer?

The dark brown curly-haired man is going to have to be explained in relation to the Maggiores, the break-in, and DeAngelo’s schedule will have to be proved to permit the phone calls and the excessive stalking in Cordova Meadows over the same period EAR was prowling over the East Area and Stockton and committing attacks 23-30.

There is also the problem of prowling inconsistencies. It comes down to wigs and no wigs. We must look at this in our next post.

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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.

A Case is Made For 2 EARs

On tax day (April 15, 1977) the East Area Rapist struck again in the Del Campo Park area. This was his third attack here. For the general overview of the attack please consult my site The Q Files. What is relevant here is that Kathy, the victim, got a glimpse of the perp (her blindfold came loose). As Shelby writes she “. . .paid close attention to what she could see, and that was the hair on his legs and arms– of which there was not much. It was light brown, medium in texture, and definitely not coarse.  . . .She had gotten a brief glance at his eyes, which she was certain were brown. His head hair was cut to collar length and dark-blonde in color, straight, but also of a full bodied texture. As far as she could determine, he did not have any facial hair.”Fake-1977

“Collar-length hair” as an actual measurement is subject to interpretation, but considering the release in May (one month later) of the EAR’s composite it is clear collar-length as defined here was out of bounds for any cop at the time. Also, the hair that had been seen was the hair that hung down under the lip of the ski mask, so it should be certain the hair was too casual for a cop. DeAngelo has hazel eyes, and in a dark room hazel can look brown.  The lack of heavy hair on the legs and arms clearly links this perp to the perp at Victim 3, and this links it to DeAngelo who did not have heavy hair, as seen in pictures.  But the shoulder-length hair? A wig? Possible.

In this case, the perp stalked this victim before-the-fact and even seems to have known the house opposite the victim’s house was empty. He seems to have watched the house from there, smoked, and prepared his assault.  How long had he stalked Kathy? We do not know, but she may have seen him previously that day as he drove slowly by. She was washing her car in the driveway, and remembers the driver and car. It was a light colored Valiant. She recalled this under hypnosis, as she did a license plate number. The plate number she gave them could not be traced. It may have been her mistake, but an untraceable plate was frequently associated with an old car seen in a neighborhood before an EAR attack.


Kathy’s description of the perp above is, again, radically different from the dark, hairy perp of Paseo Drive and Kipling Drive. At that last attack the perp was also reported to have dark blue eyes. Her description is of a dark blond (so brown-blond) perp with collar or shoulder length hair and very little hair on arms and legs, and this was light in color. This description is in perpetration, so it is of higher value than reports of mere “suspicious” persons seen in the block at other times.

This must have clinched it for the investigators and allowed them to more critically collate the previous reports of “suspicious” young men seen in relation to an earlier attack. Any collation, of course, highlighted that such a young man with dark-blond collar length hair had been seen. For example, this matched a “suspicious” young man seen behind Victim 14’s house a month earlier in March. He was associated with an old yellow truck. Such a young man was also reported seen around Victim 13’s house in February. Moreover, there was suspicion that the Ripon Court Shooter was EAR, and a sketch was done of him based on his appearance in perpetration. He had collar length hair. Now they had this account from Victim 17– in perpetration. There was every reason for SSD to believe they were finally getting a handle on the East Area Rapist’s actual appearance– almost a year now after his first attack.

From the beginning it was believed the perp had collar/shoulder-length hair (as expressed in the November 4, 1976, statement), but the hair was considered to have been dark, meaning brown or black. This matched two or three other clear descriptions of the perp having very dark and profuse hair on arms and legs. This perp also had dark blue eyes. Little “Ted” seemed so certain. But Kathy seemed equally certain his eyes were brown here. Kathy could merely have made a mistake here about eye color, but not about the thin and light hair on arms and legs. This is a hard point to get around. At some attacks EAR unquestionably had dark, hairy arms and legs, and lots of it. At others, like this case (Victim 17), he had very little and it was light. This did indicate a man with dark blond hair naturally. I assume this is what nagged at Richard Shelby, the detective on the case. He writes:

“This particular assault occurred about the same time I told Lt. Root I could make a case for two suspects in the East Area Rapist series. In a heartbeat, he responded with, ‘I don’t want to hear about it.’ He went on to explain that to make that public would create more confusion and panic, in a public which already had a plentiful supply. ‘Go arrest them, then tell me about it,’ was his response.”

We are compelled now to face this deduction. Were there two perps categorized under the heading of the East Area Rapist? We must consider this in the context that the accused J.J. DeAngelo was one of them. Yet he matches neither description. Since he did not have profuse arm and leg hair, we must associate him with the perp described likewise. As such we have to assume he was a cop who wore a light-colored collar/shoulder length wig at times.DeAngelo-cop2

(A wig is not beyond probability, but it is quite mysterious here at Victim 17 how DeAngelo pulled the whole thing off. Kathy reported she was receiving those hang-up calls three times a day (morning, noon, evening) for weeks. Shelby does not specify every day. But if it was, the trial will have to show how a fulltime cop in Auburn was able to do that.)

We can dismiss the young man seen behind Victim 14’s house as an innocent bystander, but the collar-length hair at Victim 17’s house was seen in perpetration. This can’t be the hairy guy with blue eyes, as that guy had thick arm and leg hair. To belabor the point, if we are to say this is DeAngelo here at Victim 17, then he had on a wig. There is no other deduction.

In accepting this is DeAngelo, we nevertheless must question who the perp was at the previous attack (No. 16) in Orangevale. There is a stark difference in one key description, and this is probably why Shelby notes the hair was not coarse here at Victim 17. Victim 16 felt that the assailant had thick hair that was shaved– she described his thighs as wide and the hairs thereon abrasive like stubble.

For the sake of argument here, we will call the hairy guy the “hairy perp.” At 1 and 7 and possibly 13, the hairy perp had very pale skin and dark hair on arms and legs. It is possible also at Victim 9, where in the dark of the canal the victim noticed the hair on his pale ankles. (She also said, however, he had dark eyes). He’s the guy with real shoulder length dark hair and dark blue eyes. He apparently had wide or big thighs.

The wide thighs will be reported again.

If there are two perps, which one was first? Could a demented perp learn of a home invasion rapist and his MO to such an extent he could copy it a few times as an alibi for his separate home burglaries? Or was a cop in a better position to dovetail on the MO of a perp, and use it as an alibi for his own thrill spree? How long did this overlap last? In other words, how many cases can be divided between the hairless dark blond guy (perhaps DeAngelo in a wig) and the hairy, much more vicious guy with dark hair?

We will continue to explore more cases to see it is viable to even consider a long lasting dual crime spree. To do so we must jump ahead to another victim and another perp described as hairy and with wide thighs.

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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.

EAR A or B?– By a Hair

This blog post begins to delve into the origins of the brown-blond shoulder length hair description of EAR. It became the dominant I.D. for EAR, both contemporarily and for decades thereafter. After the April 2018 arrest and charging of JJ DeAngelo as being the Original Night Stalker, it cannot be denied that he in no way fits the description of the East Area Rapist. As a fulltime cop, DeAngelo had very short hair. Moreover, situated up the foothills in Auburn from the East Area his free time, on the face of it, doesn’t fit EAR’s obsessive prowling and stalking pattern.

There is more than an academic need to uncover the origins of the East Area Rapist’s apparently incredibly fatuous description. In fact, it is vital because it raises the old arguments that there was initially more than one EAR afoot in the Sacramento area. For the last 20 years both ONS and EAR were believed to be the same perp. A DNA comparison between 2 Contra Costa Co. rape cases and that of So. Cal’s Original Night Stalker established the link, and this link is with DeAngelo, but there is no DNA from Sacramento.

To begin:

The first public report of a description of the East Area Rapist came at the Del Dayo school meeting on November 4, 1976, when the announcement was made for the communities to be on the alert. Richard Shelby gave the description of the perp. As reported in the Sacramento Bee: “Shelby said the suspect is white, has a pale complexion, may be between 5-feet, 8 inches to 6-feet tall, of a medium build, 25 to 35 years old and has dark hair which hangs over his ears to his collar.” 11-4-76-2

This is the first report– this is the summary of what the sheriff detectives knew as of this moment in time, as of 8 rapes or assaults. There is no brown-blond hair. It is dark, which could be brown or black. However, in none of the released material, either in Shelby’s or Crompton’s books, is there any in perpetration report prior to this time of EAR’s hair length. Yet it is undeniable that the detectives on SSD’s task force believed EAR had shoulder length hair.

Although there is no report of EAR having shoulder length hair, there are witness statements suggesting his head hair was dark. The most detailed in perpetration description of EAR (as of November 4, 1976) comes from his strike at Victim 7 on Kipling (October 18), in which the 10 year old boy distinctly described the perp. “Ted [10 year old boy] said that he had dark-blue eyes and heavy, thick black hair on arms and legs,” as Shelby records. The mother (victim) did not see him clearly but did notice the hair on his arms was dark.

The description of dark hair is found at the very beginning with Victim 1– Crompton (Sudden Terror) mentions the victim said the assailant had dark hair on his legs, but Shelby writes: “He had a lot of dark hair on his arms and legs.”

Malaga and Paseo, Rancho.

It is a fact, however, that DeAngelo has very little visible hair on his arms and legs, both then and now. This is seen clearly in more than one vintage photo. He has hazel eyes and not blue eyes.

The description of the perp as given by Rose (Victim 3) August 29, 1976, was of little visible hair on the arms and legs. He stood like a cop. Shelby writes: “[victim] described the suspect as a white male, between 18 and 30, light-complected and slim. His legs were well tanned, without much hair on them. He was not very heavy or very strong. She felt that in a fair fight she could take him, a sentiment to be shared by others. His estimated weight and height was 165 lbs, 5 ft. 9 inches.”

The descriptions from victims 3 and 7 and their family members who saw him, of course, are radically different and these differences are not limited to these two cases. These two cases (3 and 7) are very important here because they are very early in the crime spree. They are before news reports, and therefore they are before any demented perp could attempt any form of copycatting. Yet they give us radically different descriptions. One perp is not accomplice to the other. They are, as it stands, merely two radically different descriptions of what we rationalize to be the same perp.

The BOLO Shelby issued after the attack on Victim 7 on Kipling Drive immediately led to a perp he called “Art Pinkton”– blue eyes, right height (5 foot 9 inches), and when searched he even had a half bent spoon in his things like the one detectives had found at the residence (under a couch) of Victim 7. Because decades later DNA ruled him out as being the ONS (and thus the two rapes in CCC) he has been dismissed as having been EAR. At the time of the DNA testing, unfortunately, the possibility of there having been two EARs (at least early-on) had been forgotten and, lamentably, there is no DNA in the Sacramento cases by which to compare.

We have to follow the clues and evidence here to see if there are still grounds to believe there was another perp afoot. Therefore let us return to the early descriptions. From the above cases, one can see how by November 4 and the press conference the sheriffs had determined EAR was quite naturally pale except for tanned legs. Remember, the homeowner across the street from Victim 3 saw the assailant walking away down the street. She thought he had on white boxer shorts. He was, in fact, nude below the belt and his tan line was that extreme. Crompton writes that EAR appeared the same at Victim 7– nude from the waist down and with a stark tan line. Shelby writes that these were white boxer shorts, but confirmed that at Victim 3 he was nude from the waist down and had a stark tan line.

The perp at Victim 3 and Victim 7 seems the same. Yet these are the ones that contain radically different descriptions of the perp. Victim 7 and her son agreed on heavy, dark hair on the arms. At an opposite to this, Victim 3 and her daughter said very little hair. Her daughter thought his skin pale enough (where not tanned) that it went with people who had blond hair. Combined in these two cases we have 4 witnesses. This is not just a disagreement between 2 witnesses. The two witnesses at each strike have descriptions that are sharply in contrast to the other two witnesses at the other attack. At one location he was not hairy but still pale; at the other he was hairy and pale.

At the very least, it is safe to say he was naturally pale. But the hairy part is a problem. A perp can shave his arms and legs, but one who is not hairy cannot grow hair where he does not have it.

The hair on the arms and legs is more significant than the belief EAR had shoulder length hair. There is no report of that while in perpetration, at least not anything prior to November 4, 1976, anyway. And if DeAngelo is the sole EAR he certainly didn’t inspire such an image with his short, police haircut. During this time there must have been some report unknown to us of a “suspicious” person on the block, some young man with shoulder length hair. Yet it was dark and not brown-blond. Who was this? And is this the guy with hairy arms and legs?

The circumstances for this “suspicious” person with shoulder-length dark hair must truly have been provocative for it to have influenced the detectives to believe in the longer hair and in the older perp. While Crompton’s dramatization (Sudden Terror) of the early POIs “Walter Hamilton” and “Tracey Earle” accentuates that the sheriffs believed in a very young punk as the perp, Shelby and the task force had initially placed him older in 1976, for the estimate ran the gamut of 25-35. It is only later from the continuing reports of the brown-blond shoulder length hair “person of interest” seen in the neighborhoods that Shelby would lower the suspected age to late teens to early 20s.

Clearly the 30-something short hair cop JJ DeAngelo was not inspiring these “suspicious” person reports.

The next most interesting description comes from Victim 13 (February 7, 1977) in Carmichael. Here too the assailant is described with hairy and very white legs. Although he arrived fully clothed, he did wear white boxers underneath. She estimated his age as 19-23. Here he was, however, about 5 foot 11 inches and about 185 pounds, closer to DeAngelo’s height.  (EAR was estimated at 5.7-9 at the earlier attacks). It is from the struggle here where EAR was cut and blood was left. It was tested and the results proved him to be A +.  Crompton writes the perp had hazel eyes. This could be a mistake, as Shelby later writes in his book (Hunting a Psychopath) that as of  April 1977 “we were still thinking that the suspect most likely had blue eyes.” Shelby remained in contact with Victim 13, and it seems that if she had been certain about hazel eyes, as Crompton dramatizes, Shelby would have mentioned it. The references to blue eyes as late as April 1977 reflects the impression of certainty little “Ted” made on the investigators after the Kipling Drive attack in October 1976. Also Victim 3’s daughter believed the perp’s skin went with blond hair. These were descriptions taken down in perpetration and therefore of higher value to detectives than reports of “suspicious” persons seen in the neighborhood at another time.

The attack on Victim 13 was at a critical juncture for SSD detectives in trying to determine EAR’s features. Here the neighborhood canvas uncovered reports of many “suspicious” person seen in the neighborhood before-the-fact. Amongst the many descriptions here there is the description of the blond-brown shoulder length hair young man. 

I used to raise the problem about the composite purported to be the Ripon Court Shooter, and I finally stopped. But it is interesting to re-note, and re-note, that the composite is dated to February 11, 1977, 4 days after the attack on Victim 13 and 6 days before the shooting. If it is the Ripon Court Shooter it remains a powerful testimony that EAR had shoulder length hair. The Ripon Court Shooter sketch has shoulder length hair, and he was always thought to have been EAR.

Ripon Court Shooter, officially

My purpose here has been to show that in early perpetration there is no real report of EAR having shoulder length hair of any color. This, of course, would indicate that JJ DeAngelo is a viable culprit as the sole East Area Rapist. He was a cop with short hair. We can simply credit him with being so good at prowling no one ever saw him.

Yet again, it is not as easy as that. A search of early descriptions of EAR while in perpetration reveals that the most concise and detailed description is that of little “Ted.” He said very hairy and dark-blue eyes. While his mother did not see the eyes, she did agree that the perp had hairy arms.

Hairy arms and legs are reported in other early EAR cases. This is not a trait of DeAngelo’s, and it is not one that can be the result of disguise. This dark hair indicates the perp did not have blond-brown hair, but had, as first reported on November 4, 1976 (from whatever source), dark hair, whether shoulder length or not.

The Ripon Court Shooter was a sketch and description taken down while in perpetration, but he was only suspected of having been the East Area Rapist. If it was DeAngelo we must suspect he was wearing a wig.

The first description of EAR in perpetration I can find which states shoulder length hair is at Victim 17. This happened in April 1977 also in the Del Campo Park area, and it happened a month before the first sketch of a “suspect” would be released in May 1977. This makes it very significant. It is a very provocative case, and to this case we will go in our next post.

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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.

EARly EAR or EARs? When Did He Take Form?

In the glut of exposure, many jumped on the bandwagon and accused (and believed) J.J. DeAngelo of almost every similar home invasion crime and unsolved murder in California. He was believed to be the Cordova Cat (1972-1973). Then the Visalia Ransacker (1973-1975) 4 hours south of Rancho Cordova. Then after moving back north to the foothills of Auburn he became Sacramento’s East Area Rapist, and the rapist in Davis, Modesto, Stockton. Then while still living in Auburn, he commuted to the East Bay Area in the Contra Costa corridor and hit all those homes there as the East Area Rapist. Then being fired as a cop in Auburn, he migrated south to Goleta and started the same routine there. Can one perp really have done all this? After the news broke, one retired detective, Larry, Poole, even wondered when this guy had time to sleep.

By concrete evidence, DeAngelo is linked only to the murders and to two of the rapes in Contra Costa County.  These CCC rapes bear a striking resemblance to the EAR crimes in MO, but the early MO of the EAR in Sacramento underwent various changes indicating a perp learning his new art of home invasion. If the VR and EAR were both one and the same, this is surprising. No DNA is preserved from the VR or Sacramento EAR attacks. From the earliest reports there was some suspicion in Sacramento’s East Area that two perps were involved. 

The purpose of this series of blog posts is to reexamine the details of the East Area Rapist case, especially the early cases. It is here where the evidence should be strongest for two perps, if there really were two perps involved. 

One of the first cases of significance is No 5 on Woodpark Way, October 5, 1976. We get the most vivid picture of EAR’s stalking before-the-fact. This is an early attack. His first in Citrus Heights.

On September 20 John and Jane Carson, the residents on Woodpark Way, call the sheriffs. From the accounts of Richard Shelby (investigating detective) and Larry Crompton (CCC detective with the report) the accounts essentially lay out that the home had been invaded either the night before (Sunday the 19th) or early that morning Monday, September 20. The perp got in the window of the 3 year old boy’s room, left a muddy print on the carpet, rifled some drawers, and foolishly left one of the husband’s socks on the back lawn or in the field behind the house. The responding officer thought a kid did it.

In addition, the residence had been receiving hang-up phone calls, and on one occasion the caller spoke and threatened to kill Jane’s husband. On October 5, the attack occurred just after 6:30 a.m. This was just minutes after the husband left to go to the Air Force Base where he was stationed. Obviously, the assailant was already waiting and knew the husband’s routine. It was not a crime of opportunity. All things considered, the house had been stalked, as the evidence suggests, for weeks in advance.

Carson House2

The Carson home, as seen in 1976.

After the attacks, the canvas of the neighborhood uncovered a clue to the perp’s car. Apparently, he had parked on Shadowbrook, the street behind the field behind Woodpark Way. The bloodhound had traced his scent to the curb here, and when the sheriffs spoke with residents on the street one recalled a green car described as a Vega (possibly) had been parked there. It was still there at 7 a.m. October 5, but it was gone shortly thereafter. A week or so earlier, a strange man had been standing near the driveway of the southeast corner home on Shadowbrook. When the homeowner saw him he stared back for about 1 minute. He then left to go to a green car, possibly an older Chevy. Richard Shelby writes:

“She described him as a white male adult, 30-35, 5 ft. 9 inches, 170 pounds, with thick, dark hair. This description turns up a few more times in the investigation. However, the description of the East Area Rapist was generally of someone younger, more fit, with light brown hair worn shoulder length.” (Italics mine).

Shelby is actually speaking anachronistically above. By No. 5 there was no real description of EAR as there was no certainty yet there was a serial rapist on the loose. Nevertheless, it is true that the description Shelby gives of EAR became the standard description of EAR. The origins of this description must be uncovered, especially in light of the fact the accused does not resemble it in the least.

However, J.J. DeAngelo does fit the description above. In essence, he fits the rare description, though he is a bit taller than the estimate above and did not have thick hair. It is one of those “few times” there is such a description that can fit him. Potentially it places him at an early EAR attack and therewith the potentiality that he was from the beginning the sole East Area Rapist.


The locations where the green car had been seen– the star marks where the car had been parked that early morning. The 4-pointed star marks the area where the “staring contest” took place a week before. 

Yet this proposal is not that easy. A summation of the entire EAR experience presents a distinct dichotomy. To accept DeAngelo as the sole and prolific perp requires we must assume DeAngelo was simply so good at prowling a neighborhood that he was seldom ever seen.

This supposed expertise at prowling makes it hard to explain EAR’s blatant carelessness in homes. It was often obvious to a homeowner that someone had been in their house or on their property days before an attack, just like here at No. 5. The assailant at No. 5 on that September 20, 1976, even left a sock in the backyard or field as a telltale clue a home invader had been present. According to Shelby, the couple also found jewelry in the house that belonged to neighbors down the street. This, of course, would set any prospective victim on the alert. It is not unique here. Many residences prior to an EAR attack would show similar evidence. It would seem EAR wasn’t really very subtle.

We thus have an enigma we must accept or challenge– DeAngelo was a careless home invader, leaving clues behind, but he was such a skilled prowler he was seldom seen.  Here on Shadowbrook is one of the “few times” there is a description that comes close to him in the entire dossier of the EAR crime spree.  


Family residence to 2 victim locations compared. (No. 5 and No. 9) 

We cannot leave the case with such an enigma. We must do two things:

1, We must reconcile EAR’s less than subtle prowlings to a cop not entirely unknown in the general area. Could he afford to be seen, even stare at residents? His wife’s family lived only a few blocks away. He had also lived in Citrus Heights. We must not only reconcile DeAngelo’s fulltime cop duties with the dates and times of EAR’s attacks but with the prolific prowling reports EAR seems responsible for. This is a lot of time.

2,  We must try and explain who is the young man who seems to have been so consistently seen before-the-fact that his description became the standard ID of EAR. He is associated with older cars, and at times he seems associated with door-to-door “salesman” routines and extensive daytime prowling.

Prior to DeAngelo’s arrest, these two sketches were considered two out of three of the best there were. The shoulder length hair is notable.


Sacramento SSD took the only in perpetration sketch of EAR (above right) and added it to the conglomerate description they had of a younger man seen in the neighborhoods with shoulder length hair. This image (left) was released in May 1977. This was the man to be on the lookout for. 

I have largely engaged in inductive reasoning in this post in order to set the stage for the facts that must be discussed in the following blog posts. I start with No. 5 because it is the first to give us a description that could fit DeAngelo, but it also contrasts this with EAR’s elaborate stalking and prowling MO, which must have taken a lot of time and for someone living in Auburn a lot of commuting.

But the meat and bones exist in the facts, not in the general summing up of enigmas. In truth, I can trace the origins of the description of the young man seen with shoulder length hair.  In the next posts we will divide bone and marrow and see if there are solid grounds to believe two perps were involved.

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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.