The Cold Case Late Show

Amidst getting HorrorScope assessed for legal reasons, commencing the artwork for the tome, and preparing other adventures, I am still refining the research into NORCAL Rapist– again not a great handle, but rapists don’t seem to merit them, one reason I think why EAR-ONS really never caught on with history. Murderers get the most exquisite handles, and sometimes they give themselves their own crimson sobriquet: BTK, Zodiac, etc.  But rapists don’t rate the same news or public interest.

Law enforcement and media outlets are a buzz with the whole idea of genealogical tracing based on DNA in order to out the nasties of cold case. If there is enough DNA, then this would be a great avenue. I fear, however, that if this is how cold case (and hot case) goes (where there is enough DNA) then HorrorScope will be the last attempt of the old school, where gray matter and deductive and inductive reasoning leads to the final conclusion.

For me, it is a race the outcome of which I will find particularly interesting. Will DNA be lifted anew from a ZODIAC letter stamp and will it be sufficiently accurate that genealogical tracing is done and leads to my guy? My method, of course, has had to be more cumbersome: first uncovering his trail, his past, his ability, motive, then his hand printing, fingerprints-— the old school.

No one is sure if the DNA is good in the case of The ‘Zodiac’ Killer, just as there was always debate whether those bloody fingerprints were really his in the cab. He obviously disguised his printing. It’s only after cases are solved that we see how clever or not-so-clever the perp really was. From what I discovered, ZODIAC was a mixture of careful gameplaying and bungling perpetration.

But touching on the future of cold case, what about those cases where the perps were very careful? I mean, where they anticipated forensics? The case of Melbourne’s Mr. Cruel comes instantly to mind. It seems to be the home invasion creeps who really take care. They know they are risking the most to begin with and they plan meticulously.

DNA will become part of a methodical process, but when there is none: what to do?  The Shadow Slayer of Colonial Parkway (The Colonial Parkway Murders) also comes to mind. There are no footprints, no sketches, and the only chance of lifting touch DNA would seem to come from the first victims’ car or ligatures, but there is doubt there too. Without DNA, this case is the hardest out there to crack. At least by gray cells.

However, we can’t rely completely on DNA for the future. Right now there are perps in the shadows, killers lurking waiting to come forth into the night to start their evil sprees. They are considering how to avoid the science of DNA. Old fashioned gumshoeing will still be needed for these.  But are we turning the true detective into The Late Show— a dinosaur sentimentally reserved only for the past? We will need them in the future, but will we be able to recognize 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.

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Experience Teaches. . .History to Bear in Cold Cases

Sadly, the True Crime genre is governed by an economic mentality, not by the true hunters who seek the elusive serial predators. If you look at Wikipedia (if you must) on the list of unidentified serial killers the individual articles are largely a quick hash of the crimes and then, if any, an equally slim overview of the original suspects. And it is stretching to call some of the latter “suspects.” There’s the True Crime genre in a  nutshell.

For historical cases it is diabolic. Details are not preserved. Much has been lost. This is most poignantly felt in such cases as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run in the 1930s. Jack the Ripper is well documented, but the Horrible Headhunter is not, and he is the closest thing America has to Jack the Ripper– he stalked the down-and-out and used them to experiment.

There is only one suspect in the rehash– crazy Dr. Sweeney, a man who frankly was not sober long enough to lift a dog’s tail let alone a scalpel. In the context of the crimes he would have been unable to perfect the precision seen in some of the victim’s dismemberment, especially in Andrassy. As such he’s a poor fit. But he got in the narrative and one point and that becomes the reality.

Dr. Sweeney holds his position because, it is said, Elliot Ness suspected him– brand name! The genre loves that! But, in truth, all we have is that Sweeney wrote to Ness for years from Happy Dale, the local madhouse. He taunted. He provoked, and sometimes he may have very subtly implied he was the butcher.

Experience teaches us that this is nothing. In the case of EAR/ONS, for instance, I have at least 2 correspondents who could make Freud sit up and blink. Their communication is nearly identical to mad Dr. Sweeney’s. They progress from the pitch they are going to cut me into the identity of the true criminal, to assertions they are the true genius who will out the man, then to insults, little jibes, and then the implication that they are the perp themselves. Snarky insults and degradations follow. The thrill of the poison pen pal has reached its ultimate level.

As you might imagine they have the IQ of shoe size, and despite their delusions of grandeur they have no originality.

Anybody who attains notoriety in True Crime is subject to mad Dr. Sweeney ripoffs.

Mad Dr. Sweeney’s inclusion as the prime suspect in the case of The Mad Butcher or Cleveland Torso Murders is a reflection of naivety of actually practicing investigation. They don’t understand how commonplace these generic madmen are. The anonymous nature of the internet only helps them spontaneously reach a wider audience. But they are paper doll cutouts of earlier loons like Sweeney.

But the point here, ultimately anyway, is that the most bizarre string of serial murders in the US remains poorly documented, and its anemic rehash follows the pattern of highlighting Sweeny rather than documenting the cases accurately first (in detail!) and then proceeding to investigate it.

So much more has to be done to find and release as much as possible relating to this Depression era case of a skilled, ghoulish figure of the night who prowled the down and out in the hobo villages of Kingsbury Run and experimented on them in horrid ways. He’s the true American Ripper, but time and formula has obscured him.

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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.

Looking for Playboy Johnnie– The Sacramento Nurse Murders

Over 1967-68 Carol Hilburn had lived in Sacramento while studying as an X-Ray technician. Carol was a lively strawberry blonde, with a definite sparkle in her eyes, as an old friend remembered. She got a job at the 40 Grand on Del Paso Blvd as a waitress and paid for her way through her tech classes in hopes of finally becoming an assistant nurse.

Carol really enjoyed working at the lively and popular lounge, and she often stayed after work to dance with the men.  It is during this time that she met a man she would only call “Playboy Johnnie” to her friend. It was clear that she had a crush on him. Did she know his actual name? Nobody knows.

Then there occurred an event that is a reflection of the times and the culture of popular bar lounges. She danced with a black man and the owner personally fired her. She had no job now and had finished her nursing courses. The only choice was to move to Santa Rosa where her mother now lived.

But Carol liked Sacramento and the friends she had met. It was the new age and antiestablishment movement at full swing. She wasn’t wild, but she definitely had that type of character that was easy to like, and she lived and partied like the young did at that time.

About a year after being fired she called a Sacramento friend and asked if she could stay with her the next night. It was November 12, 1970. She was coming for a visit and she specifically mentioned she would be meeting with that mysterious Playboy Johnnie.

Her friend said of course, and told her to call her when she needed to pick her up the next day (she didn’t have a car). Carol never called.

A few days later Sacramento papers expressed their concern about yet another murder of a young woman. There was growing concerned about a serial killer afoot. A sweet court secretary Nancy Bennallack had been murdered in her own apartment on October 26, sliced up with a knife for no reason. Just across the street at another apartment complex nurse Judith Hakari had been abducted on March 7, 1970, and her body found buried near Weimar on the way to Lake Tahoe. There was that strange disappearance of another nurse in South Lake Tahoe named Donna Lass. That had happened on September 6, 1970.

Now on November 13, 1970, a body of a young woman had been found in North Sac at 4th and Ascot in a field that was a part of the Hansen Park, a huge undeveloped area bordered by old country homes and orchards. The body was almost nude. It had panties and a brown suede boot. The victim had not been sexually molested, but she had been beaten to death beyond recognition.

No one knew who she was, so the coroner had to have a forensic artist try and draw a semblance of what she had looked like. It was posted in the Sacramento papers on November 16, 1970, asking for help in identifying the victim. Articles brought up the Bennallack and Hakari murders and now wondered if there was a connection. Carol’s friend read the article but didn’t connect it to why Carol had not called her.

SacUnion-11-16-70

Due to the description of the victim (boot most likely), someone called the sheriffs and suggested Carol. Finally she was identified. The newspapers wrote about how the sheriffs spoke to a man about her, but we do not know if this was the mysterious Playboy Johnnie. When the article identifying Carol was published, her friend was stunned that this victim had been her old friend Carol who was to stay with her that night.  She kept the newspaper editions of the Sacramento Union.

Sac-Union

To this day the case remains unsolved, as do the cases of Hakari, Bennallack and Lass. Was there one killer? Nothing really fits. Carol was having a lively time out visiting a couple of bars, from the rough part of West Sac to Del Paso Blvd in North Sac. Ascot and 4th was an easy drive north of Del Paso Blvd on Rio Linda Blvd. It seems she met someone here and afterward went with them and eventually ended up alone with them.

The murder scene was never found.  But whoever drove her body to the dump site must have known the area. It all depends on which site is correct. Both 4th Street and a few blocks away West 4th street end at Ascot Avenue. 4th is the first street into the community from main the road Rio Linda Blvd. It would make for an easy and quick site. But West 4th is much further in by an old olive orchard. If West 4th is the site then the killer drove much further into the country community than necessary to dump a body. Presumably because he knew the orchard made the road a lonely, dark place here at night.  He drug the body across the street into the open field that is now the very northern perimeter of the country park.

DSC01191

Ascot Avenue and the field beyond, as seen from West 4th through the orchard at the possible dump site. Taken on February 11, 2013.

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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.

Changing Fortunes– The Zodiac Killer

When I first tread into True Crime in 2010 the case of the Zodiac Killer was quickly tanking. It had received a blast of popular interest because of the 2007 movie, but with popularity came all sorts of contention, as I understand it, amongst those who followed the case. I completely missed all that, for which I am grateful. I entered True Crime concentrating on Jack the Ripper. In 2012 I openly entered the Zodiac case investigation.

Media wise the Zodiac Killer case was far out of the limelight. A few of those involved were rather nice to me, though many did not understand my “different take” on the topic. Compared to EAR/ONS, Zodiac was nothing. EAR/ONS was fomenting and now has entered the limelight.

According to my analytics, however, The Zodiac case is returning in popularity. It could be because next year is the 50th anniversary of the case. That will always set the news off, but only next year. It is going on now, and so I must assume the interest to be cyclical. I would like to flatter myself and say it is just my “different take” that has finally caught on, but I think it truly is cyclical, and now that more return to think about the case they visit as much cyber stuff as they can on it.

Lake_Berryessa_Suspec sketch

They should marvel about it the case. The Zodiac swung along the spectrum from bungling perpetration to cerebral game playing. He was a truly bizarre braggart in the annals of crime. On Q Files I limit myself to purely official investigative material, my own investigation, and to those pearls of great price that others have uncovered. What Ricardo Gomez discovered in 2008 was particularly good.

So for all those following me now, just a note to remind you that The Quester Files section on Zodiac remains that “different take” because I did not follow the narrative. I limited myself to investigative material. This led me to my POI, and my investigation has refined him into the most likely candidate.

My web site has allowed me to reestablish the original foundation, so we can start all over fresh again and follow the trail of the most pompous killer in history. The popular folklore has built Zodiac up into such an arch villain, that it has undermined the  process of elimination. It has caused people (and perhaps even official investigators) to doubt the DNA profile and the bloody fingerprints in Stine’s cab—what both Toschi and Armstrong considered conclusive.

Soon I hope to move forward with the formal turn-in of my suspect “Steve Beard.” As I write the dossier (or thesis) I will share some outcroppings here, some things I have never outlined before. But I think some can be shared. The thesis will be different from HorrorScope. The thesis goes right for the throat.

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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.

Weaving the Net with NorCal Rapist

I spent most of yesterday trying to refine the location of the first strike made by NorCal Rapist in 1991 in Rohnert Park, California. I ended up coming back to the same location I had marked years before based on a news interview with the victim. If this location holds up, we have a startling similarity to the location of NorCal’s final strike in North Natomas on October 16, 2006.

I visited the area of North Natomas on the 13th, just a few days ago, the 11th anniversary of his last strike, and drove the route NorCal must have driven in order to have been captured on the neighbor’s video surveillance camera.

 

As it stands I only know a few of the dates for the attacks, and only two locations precisely, and the Rohnert Park location is still kinda sketchy.

I know NorCal wore a skeleton mask at Halloween 1996 in Martinez. He wore another Halloween or Mardi Gras mask in Davis in 1997 and was captured on ATM video camera wearing it– even flaunting it to the camera.

a5463e569138753b72a3f2bf67fa155d--mardi-gras-costumes-mardi-gras-masks

This act in itself is illuminating. It tells us that NorCal knew he could not use a mask at an ATM later in the day and not be seen. More definitely, he could not use it later and not be giving away the direction back to his sordid lair. He had to use it shortly after the attack while still relatively dark and before he left Davis. We know he wasn’t local. He drove long distance, thus earning the moniker NorCal for “Northern California.” But he was careful enough to know he couldn’t give away the direction from which he had come.

Altogether clues begin to amalgamate as to his character. The result is we get a very nasty picture of a careful, arrogant, calculating  predator. He liked to taunt his victims. But nothing yet in only the two strike locations tells us how he stalked his intended victims.

There really is no place on Ivycrest (North Natomas) from which he could have watched them. There seems no place on Parkway (Rohnert Park) where he could have done the same there.  There is some other means by which he first saw his intended victims and then learned more about them. More precise information on location is needed still for all of the attacks.

There was once a website listing all the details known. It had been put up by a friend of one of the victims and then it was augmented by Victim 1. Unfortunately it is long gone, and no one has so far contacted me to fill me in on dates and locations and any details NorCal said and did during his attacks.

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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.

The Smiling Sadist . . . NORCAL Rapist

It’s time on finally take on this taunting swine. Before he left one victim, after he had subjected her to hours of indignity in her own home, he advised her to keep her doors locked because she was only inviting burglars otherwise. He called another and apologized to her, reaffirming for her personal feeling of value that he knew she was a good person at heart. . . like it had been her fault he had stalked her, learned her residence, and then broke in one night and raped her.

The lead CSI that cued me into this case had told me NORCAL was a “taunter.” He liked to tease and taunt his victims. Tongue-in-cheek, he thought he was being witty with his sarcasm, as his victims lay there gagged, trussed, eyes bulging, wondering if he was going to kill them.

This whole character of taunting comes to life when you study the ATM footage of this creep. This footage was taken in Davis in 1997 after he had left one of his victims and used her ATM card to get cash. He liked to wear masks. He wore a Halloween mask when he struck one victim on Halloween. Here he wears a clear, face distorting mask because he knows the ATM has a camera. He turns, boasting in his way that he has outwitted those who shall see it, flaunting the mask. You can see him smiling.

At least 10 victims between 1991 and 2006. He presumptuously enjoyed it all . . .and he got away.

As I write the introduction to this case study on Q Files, there is much that needs to be done. More details are imperative.  He struck his victims in their homes. Somehow I must uncover at least the street names. This much is necessary because the location will help to determine how he prowled and where he selected his victims to begin with. He struck over a large part of northern California, so that he had some unique method by which he was attracted to potential victims and then learned their locations.

The introduction and the page on his last attack, ironically, will go up first because I know the location and details of the last strike. But the others have been lost, and so far I have not been able to uncover them. Nevertheless, it is time to start the hunt for this dramatic, theatrical rapist.

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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.

Narrowing the Dragnet–the Hunt for Mr. Cruel

Australia’s Mr. Cruel is certainly the embodiment of calculated evil. His preparations to limit any kind of forensic evidence he might leave behind were meticulously planned, almost over-planned.

But 2 things he forgot– his first attack and his final attack’s disposal site. His route to and from them he did not have to protect. He was a beginner at Lower Plenty with his first attack. He raped the poor girl in the house while her family was gagged and tied up. Then he left and went back to his squalid lair to fester.

I’m sure he chose the most direct route home. Why would he not?

7651d141caec6bb612370b9a3bb1f943
The dump site for Victim 4.

 

For his next 2 attacks he had to be evasive to protect his route home. At both home attacks the fiend kidnapped the under-aged victims and took them to his lair, there to assault them for 18 and 50 hours respectively. He made sure he drove down side routes and back and forth down streets. Both girls said that he drove all around.

This is curious, as it suggests that his route back home was rather straightforward.

LowerP-routes-1

1, marks the attack site in Lower Plenty. This was Mr. Cruel’s first victim. No major highway is near there. But Rural 44 courses down to merge with a very significant route– Rural 40. Arrows mark the way. Click to enlarge.

For these last two attacks he had clearly used the M3 Highway at one point, either to access them or then to drop them back off  in neighborhoods near to where they lived. He passed one of the victim’s home to get to Bayswater, and he stopped just short of Victim’s 3 neighborhood to drop her off in Kew. Each site was off the M3.

But for his final victim this was unnecessary.  He used either Rural 40 or the M3 to access her neighborhood too, but he either never intended to bring her back or something went wrong and she got a glimpse of his face or, worse, something that would easily mark the location of his lair. Precise location would more quickly identify him than a facial composite.

Routes intersect

The route to and from Lower Plenty is marked with yellow arrows (Rural 44 and 40). High Street is marked in red arrows. Dump site for Victim 4 is marked 4. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Cruel drove her to a landfill at High Street and Mahoneys Road. There was no need to disguise his way there. He knew he was going to snuff out her life, which he did with 3 shots to the head. This intersection, under development at that time, is on remarkably straight line from the major streets that he would have used to return from Lower Plenty.

This bolsters the hypothesis that these two locations and the direct routes that service them lead to his lair. We can ad one other factor. Both kidnapped girls that he had returned after their harrowing ordeal reported hearing jets fly overhead while they were kept chained to the bed in his lair. They sounded like they were coming in for a landing. This told police that the lair was under the flight approach to the Melbourne Airport.

Routes-40

Route 40 is significant. It is marked in yellow arrows. It connects the northeast and east area of Melbourne where Mr. Cruel struck with the north of Melbourne and the communities under the airport flight path. It also connects to the M3 (broad red line)Attack points are marked in numbers. Drop off points are marked by stars.  Click to enlarge.

The communities under this flight path were Keilor, Plenty, Watsonia, McLeod, Strathmore, and Coburg. Most important here for us is Coburg. The roads we have discussed above lead straight to Coburg. This is where we begin.

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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.