Geoprofiling the Doodler– San Francisco’s forgotten serial killer.

I’ve been slammed with my other cases and pursuits to make it to San Francisco to finally start geoprofiling the Doodler locations. However, John was visiting from Chicago and asked if I wanted any recent photos of Zodiac locations. I directed him to some Doodler locations, and he was delighted to go there. He took my information and did more research. Then he hit a few of the main spots and really walked around and took pics every which way.

Below are just a few examples.

Where it all began– here on Ocean Beach at the end of Judah Street the body of Gerald Cavanaugh was found. He is considered No 1.

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Looking back toward Great Highway, the coast road.

Spreckles Lake, Golden Gate Park. Around here the body of Jae Stevens was supposedly found (some say Stow Lake).

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There’s lots of secluded locations and a path near the lake.

Spreckles33-Across36

Behind these dunes Klaus Christman (Victim 3) was said to be dragged and finished off after he tried to flee back to Lincoln Way.

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On top of the dunes looking back to Great Highway at Lincoln Way and Golden Gate Park.

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Capin (Victim 4) was found around the end of Vicente Street– much further south along Great Highway than the others. John said these are the most intricate dunes he’d encountered.

Vincente-Oceanfront3

Vincente-Oceanfront5

This is only the beginning. More details must be uncovered, exact locations of the murders within these areas, plus the locations of the other victims, to start working the Geoprofile of the Doodler.

 

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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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Doodled to Life. . . The Doodler

I started writing about the case of the Doodler in 2015. It is a fascinating case, but one that didn’t at that time motivate one to proceed with it too quickly. There really wasn’t much mystery. The suspect’s name was long known. He had been repeatedly questioned by police back in 1975. I planned to hit the crime scenes and do some photo essays, but I knew there were very few details public on this serial’s MO and his attacks. They were only recited in general. It would be difficult to even do the serial spree justice in terms of historical chronicling.

But the Doodler’s MO was unique. You don’t get jacket jobs like this anymore. He entered gay bars in the Castro, ingratiated himself by drawing a caricature of patrons on  a napkin or on his drawing pad, and then they left together. The bar patron was not seen again until found as a lifeless body slashed to pieces in some remote spot around Golden Gate Park or Ocean Beach.

Apparently there was some indoor action as well, and a few survived but didn’t want to get involved in a public scandal. We’ve all heard they were a prominent SF businessman who promptly fled the city instead of being questioned. There was a European diplomat, who also left, and a “nationally known entertainer,” who also refused to return to SF. (My discussions with some in-the-know have centered on identifying the last person, obviously the most interesting of the three.)  No trial ever came because none wanted to be involved in a public scandal.

. . .So how to proceed?

As I saw it, my purpose to the old crime case was thus to highlight the crimes, document the scenes, bring the case from the relative obscurity it had. . .but there was no real mystery to solve because the guy’s name was known and there was no admissible evidence.

This must have been the fly in the buttermilk for SFPD as well. The question was how after 40 years to get some admissible evidence?

SFPD is now trying to do so, hoping, I suppose, that there is DNA somewhere on a couple of the victims that can link to the man they repeatedly grilled back when.

The news sensations over identifying EAR-ONS via DNA have started a fad whereby we hear of all these re-examinations of old cases. The current fad, however, is a news fad, not a police fad. They were always re-examining cases. The news are reporting on cases that had some vague notoriety at one point. But there are many cases being re-examined that aren’t getting news because they really never had national news to begin with.

Another case that desperately needs public revision is the Colonial Parkway Murders. Like the Doodler case, there is too little information out there. This serial was very careful to the extent that his height, weight, or any part of his features is completely unknown. There is also some question on how many crimes he committed and if all those attributed to him are all done by the same perpetrator.

The first step with this old case is probably underway. This is to find DNA to begin with. The FBI would have to find it on two different cars. Then comparing touch DNA (if they get it) from these cars is necessary to confirm a link between very different murders (the first victims were a female pair; those thereafter were male and female pairs). Confirming there was one killer is a huge advance in the case. A phenotype would also greatly help.

For more details, the reader can go to my site The Quester Files and read about the Colonial Parkway Murders.

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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 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.

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.

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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.