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.”
“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.
(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.