With all the new attention being cast now upon the case of the real life Michael Myers, I think a few clarifications must be put in place.
There is no one case that will solve the identity of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker. There is no holy grail. As it becomes increasingly clear that he was the Cordova Cat, we should not narrow our mark but broaden our scope and take all into context.
EAR/ONS never knew his victims. Probing into their lives is pointless rubbish meant to fill pages and repeat standard narratives. He was arrogance personified, a skilled cat burglar who stole for thrill rather than high priced jewels. When that thrill died off, he added rape, terror, all the things that went with lording over a family in their own home. If he is the Ripon Court Shooter, the Maggiore Double Murderer, then he added murder to protect himself. But when the thrill of rape died off, murder offered its own thrill. He planned more carefully. He waited months if not longer, but he kept to his same prowling MO. The victims’ homes fit in location with how he as a Cat had stalked neighborhoods.
We don’t even really know how old he was or what he looked like.
If the Cordova Cat can be established in all probability to be him, then we know he was based around Sacramento in the early 1970s; that already by 1973 he was capable of lifting or easily getting the plate from a wrecked car and switching it onto his own in order to protect his identity. In that incident, the receipts where he got gas and other things for his car (using a victim’s gas credit card) place him as driving quite a bit around Sacramento’s rural areas, but avoiding the suburban areas. So basically, he didn’t use the card where he could be recognized or traced. He basically used it in the outlying areas (Lodi, Marysville, etc). Again, this suggests he was based locally and went to outlying areas to use the card to prevent being identified.
Such a careful cat burglar was well prepared to conceal his identity when he turned rapist. But no one knew back then that EAR was this developed. Initially he was thought to range between 25-35 and have a peeping background. But with time some thought he was much younger, and therefore peeping seemed all the trouble he could have gotten into by 1976. But it seems now he was older and was one of the most skilled thrill cat burglars there was in the area.
In essence, this was not ultimately a rapist. Victims even said that rape wasn’t the major threat to them. They were in constant fear of their life. This was a terrorist of the night padding about the neighborhoods indulging himself in his desire for thrill. The thrill got ever more encompassing. Then he vanished, if you can ever say such a ghost had ever truly materialized in form.
He was, as one detective declared: “The Bogey Man.” How do you track the bogey man?
And until this century he never felt he had to escape. The rapes fell out of Statute of Limitations, eventually even the kidnappings. The murders weren’t connected to him definitely until this century. There had been no reason for him to flee California. He seems to have been based around Sacramento, and to this place he returned. . .for a while anyway.
How indeed do you track a man who left no trail from his victims? His only trail are the clues he left to cover said trail: the use of bogus plates and many old cars. There is nothing else. And if it wasn’t for DNA science now, there wouldn’t be any tangible way to connect him anymore with the murders. I scour the auto wrecking business of over 40 years ago. I am not alone anymore. But what to look for?
There appears to be no sketch or composite that can be definitely said to be EAR. Sacramento Sheriffs have 3 dozen sketches. They represent “suspicious persons” in the neighborhood. What does that mean? Alas, EAR was not seen in action. It takes refining the data on the pattern of a “suspicious” person to finally weed out those that resemble each other enough to say “this must be him.”
But this reveals contradictions too. In perpetration, a villain thought to be EAR has had a long face (Ripon Court Shooter; Sarda Way maniac), but a door to door “solicitor” who visited neighborhoods looks quite different. This strange fellow had stupid excuses for ringing the bell if someone answered the door. But if they didn’t answer, he was observed to go in the back yard. In each community there would soon be a rape a block or so away.
So there is not even one reliable face to this guy.
There is no clue to follow except those he left to protect himself. Not surprisingly, it is a slog to go through the process of elimination. Between 6 to 7 hundred have been DNA tested. Close to 7,000 on the POI list. Unfortunately, many have been very young because of the impression he was late teens to early twenties. It seems now he was much older or looked radically different than any composite or sketch ever released.
Hunting a phantom by the clues he left to protect himself is not easy. Now 40 years later we have to face the fact he very well could be dead. My first POI was dead. My second very much alive and within the age bracket that is now becoming more acceptable– around 30 years old. Still he could be triaged out of the running.
Every new clue that comes in is still subjective– the man at American River Hospital on May 30, 1977, the Sarda Way suspect, the American Pet Assoc. creep. SSD has eliminated almost every solicitor going door to doo but him. Scientologists, insurance salesmen, and Mormons, have been surprised decades later by a visit from detectives. Each time it was proved they had been legitimate door to door solicitors back then.
We still need to establish the American Pet Assoc. creep’s role (if any) in the crime spree. I’m told the sketch will finally be released. It supposedly looks similar to the “La Riv Man” sketch.
The greatest advance will finally be in determining what EAR looked like, his age, and how he got those license plates and cars. His identity is not contained in a report. It will not be found in the past of a victim. It is on a dart board somewhere. One day the right dart will hit one of those license plates and this will lead to him. Or one of the sketches not yet released will finally lead to an old auto-wrecker.
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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.