Cold Case Files
Why the Q Files?
More about Q Man
Books by The Quester
The Case of the East Area Rapist AKA The Original Night Stalker
He is the real life Michael Myers. He looked like the average teen, except for his morose eyes. Yet he is the No. 1 serial offender in history. He was so careful, he is known only by his DNA. The East Area Rapist, as he was known, struck California communities for 10 years— 1976-1986. Toward the end he became a murderer now known as the Original Night Stalker. He has 50 rapes and 12 murders to his record. Then he vanished. He would be about 58 years old now, living what appears a normal life. These are the files on his crimes.
Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Carmichael, Orangevale, Davis, Modesto, Concord, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, San Jose, Goleta, etc.
Lair of an Arch Rapist
East Area Rapist/ Original Night Stalker
Anyone having probed deeply into the case of The Night Predator (AKA the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker) cannot help but wonder where such a villain must have been based. Uncovering even the general area of his dwelling could be crucial to finally outing the miscreant.
EAR’s lair conjures up old images of a Dragnet episode, where the malcontent villain festers in a dank room amidst dreary mementoes of his boring job and frustrated life. EAR certainly had a number of souvenirs from his victims, none of which ever turned up again. I doubt they were displayed, but they were probably kept in that gym bag that he was known to have carried. This was probably stashed in a closet.
What we do know, from the most obvious deduction, is that he stayed close to a telephone; a scratch pad with many numbers was next to it. He dialed, quietly listened to the “hellos” on the other end, and then calmly put down the receiver.
Day or night he went about thinking how to reconnoiter his next victims. He stalked many neighborhoods before striking. In between he returned to his lair, sat at his little desk or hutch, and dialed again. At night he snipped out the little overhead light when finished. Then he was off to prowl.
This can tell us much of his profile, but it is best to leave that theorizing to the appropriate page.
This page is concerned with his attacks. They are not theory. They are solid strikes. He had to get to them and return to his lair. He had to get to these communities and return. Many times. Many times he stalked. He came and went many times. His entire crime spree helps us to get into his stalking mind. Study the map below before we continue. The East Area of Sacramento. . .
It is impossible not to leave a progressive chain of clues. It is a physical impossibility. It violates an immutable law of physics. The Law of Cause and Effect. Nothing just happens. Everything is connected. No matter how hard a villain tries to cover his steps, he cannot. Attempting to cover steps leaves clues. Disguise can last only so long until the clues are unraveled.
Before we look at a marked up map below, let’s make a few points.
We know where EAR began. It is not necessary here to speculate that he had some connection with the area of Rancho Cordova. What is necessary to highlight here is the fact that the area of Malaga/Paseo is quite close to Folsom Blvd. The first home he struck is 3 short blocks away.
The significance of this we know. Folsom Blvd is a main artery in and out of Rancho Cordova. The location of a main thoroughfare near a strike point (or “Comfort Zone”) would be a repeating theme in EAR’s stalking modus operandi. The map above marks the major arteries of Sacramento’s east end. Watt Avenue is traced in blue. Folsom Blvd is the crimson line south of the American River. Greenback Lane is the crimson line in the far north. Sunrise Blvd is the bright red line in the east. This cube of the East Area is where EAR began and concentrated.
When EAR moved on to the Contra Costa County area, he followed this pattern. He stayed close to Highway 680 and to main thoroughfares. It invariably indicated he was not familiar with the area.
When the EAR moved south to So. Cal, he did the same thing.
The East Area map above can be interpreted by EAR’s unflinching pattern abroad. EAR confined himself to areas around main thoroughfares because he could come and go quickly and be unobserved in the more trafficked area. Therefore when it comes to the East Area he probably did the same thing. He did not strike close to where he lived. He could be too easily identified while stalking if he did. One mistake. One cop on patrol that he didn’t suspect would be there. He could be traced back to his lair.
In all the East Area there is a glaring exception to his MO. He struck deep only a few times, and these times were all around the same area on the map. The first time was in Del Dayo, and he struck here early on with Attack No. 2 and then 7, and then later returns for No. 21. Then there is that oddball attack No. 26. This is the furthest from a main thoroughfare that he struck.
From looking at the map you might think I have made a mistake in saying these were not by a main thoroughfare. Not true. The un-traced “T” in the center of the cube marks Madison Avenue (the cross east/west) and the stem is Manzanita (running north/south). At the base of this “T” Manzanita merges into Fair Oaks Blvd which goes west and eventually connects with Watt Avenue. These are main thoroughfares, yes, but they are markedly different than the others. They are not arteries that allow one to come and go to the East Area quickly. They are arteries that service the crisscrossing veins of the East Area. It’s a long way up Manzanita to Madison and from there (left) to Highway 80. It is also a long way along Fair Oaks Blvd to Watt and then left (south) to Highway 50.
Nevertheless, EAR strikes within this area. He made his escape somewhere, and it is unlikely that it was to a highway.
Exceptions though these attack sites be, they all lead to or from Manzanita/Fair Oaks boulevards— neither of which are a quick artery in or out of the East Area.
Taking all this in we may understand why EAR only struck once in such a prime area as Schweitzer Grove (10), which is itself a mirror of his oft-used hub of Del Campo Park. Perhaps it was too close to his sensitive lair.
Following this line of reasoning, however, highlights a far bigger blank area— Arden Arcade. Within this area there is a “T” with several crosses. This is Eastern and El Camino/Marconi/Arden Way. Eastern runs north/south between Fair Oaks and Whitney. The others run east/west between Watt and Manzanita. EAR never struck here. He never seems to have prowled here either. Could it be this is his lair?
EAR knew Del Dayo well enough so that with his first strike there (No. 2) he did not rely on the levee and park area. It was off Jacob Street, which is the main street into the area from Fair Oaks Blvd. No. 7 was also nearby off Jacob, and then No. 21 was also close by but off the levee in Sandbar Circle. These are quickly accessed by Eastern. going south to Fair Oaks Blvd. All of La Riviera is direct south on Watt Avenue, which is the main road just west of Arden Arcade. We know EAR did not know La Riviera well, for he relied on the CATs and then the levee walk.
No. 26 has always bothered me. EAR is apparently without a car. But this still does not explain why he stashes a bike (one he apparently didn’t steal) in the back of a dump truck parked at a conspicuous place at the corner of Mission and Whitney. Why not just stash the bike by the house and ride away? He had done so at other places. It could be this “dump truck biker” was not EAR. Either way, if he was limited to a bike, he could have doubled back and the area of Arden Arcade was not exceptionally far.
Here at No. 26, as we know, the offending organ is described as much thicker and larger than the other times. Only a few victims described this— 11, 17, for examples. A pumping device is a possibility, since on a few of these occasions the victims heard a popping sound as if a pump was being operated beforehand. They also heard the zipper of a gym bag. EAR had no ability to conceal a bag or pump at No. 26, for a witness saw him(?) retrieve the bike out of the back of the dump truck and ride off toward Manzanita, mask and all. Had he pumped himself up at his lair nearby and then struck at the Woodson Way area before the effects diminished? It would indicate his lair was nearby. Both Arden Arcade and the area east of Manzanita qualify.
At the next attack, No. 27 in La Riviera, EAR also uses a bike. But it doesn’t seem to be one stolen from the neighborhood. I doubt he rode up Watt Avenue, so he may have had a car present somewhere, and rode to that. Possibly a van. In Danville (No. 46) a suspicious van was seen, and the bloodhound traced the scent to Delta Place, the area to which it seems EAR had been seen to bike earlier. It would be easy to get a bike into the back of a van. It is interesting to note that No. 28, the next attack after La Riviera (No. 27) and Woodson Way (No. 26), the victim would insist that the attacker had parked a van next to her house.
Had EAR parked his van in the area of No. 26 and taken the bike out and rode to the attack? If so why hide the bike in such a precarious place? Also, if he did drive here, how to explain why No. 26 still so stands out in location? And it is not alone. Del Dayo, Schweitzer Grove, and Whitney Way, all bear one thing in common. They are connected via Fair Oaks/Manzanita boulevards. They are all the exceptions to the rule. These thoroughfares lead nowhere out of Carmichael and the East Area. But they are at the heart of the areas servicing the many communities and roads of the East Area.
I suggest to you that the EAR’s lair was here, in the area east of Manzanita or in Arden Arcade. The fact he never struck in Arden Arcade would favor that area the most. This may explain why he didn’t park a vehicle too close by at No. 26. It may have been recognized. Rather he uses a bike in these areas.
Manzanita proves an interesting axis. At the top, near Madison and a quick route to Highway 80, EAR strikes No. 4, his first strike so far afield from 1,2,3. Yet No. 2 (not pictured) is at the southern axis of Manzanita/Fair Oaks boulevards. Thus EAR’s first strikes outside of Rancho Cordova are on opposite ends of the same axis— Manzanita. Crestview allows a quick escape down Madison to Highway 80, which then offers a very quick back entrance into the East Area again at the next Highway 80 cutoff south— Watt Avenue. Much safer than driving down Manzanita to his lair, if it is in the Manzanita/Fair Oaks boulevard areas.
There are many ways back into the East Area from Crestview without conspicuously heading there down Manzanita Avenue. Madison goes to Auburn Blvd or to the I-80. Then EAR could go back to Watt Avenue and head back south.
For No. 2 this would not be possible. It would, however, be relatively easy to go up Fair Oaks/Manzanita boulevards from Del Dayo and fade into the many cross streets of the East Area or just cross Fair Oaks and fade into Arden Arcade. Arden Oaks, marked with the yellow exclamation point, would have been ideal for the lair.
None of this precludes the theory that EAR grew up or had lived in Rancho Cordova. He seems to have had more than a passing acquaintance with the area of the Cordova attacks. He remained confined to a specific area of western Rancho. He doesn’t use any tactical ally here until No 6. He seems to know the streets and cross streets. After No. 8, he steals the victim’s car and parks it down El Segundo Drive. His actions at No. 1 and 3 argue that he had some lair in the area. He arrives at No. 3 naked from the waist down, and leaves in the same improbable manner, this time with an eyewitness who watches him saunter down the street. I do not have the direction which way down Malaga Way he went, but either way fits with EAR knowing the area.
For one, EAR appeared in the bedroom doorway of Victim 1 naked from the waist down. We have no idea if he arrived that way, but if he did it would suggest he jumped the fences from Del Rey Court. If he walked in that direction on Malaga Way after he struck No. 3, it would mean he was going back to the Del Rey Court area.
There are reasons to wonder that he arrived at No. 1 naked from the waist down. In his early attacks he wore hiking boots. It is not easy to get pants off over these. I do not know how long he was in the house of Victim 1 (after he raped her) before she got up and to the back door, but he may not have had time to put his pants back on. If so, he arrived without them.
After attacking Victim 3 unsuccessfully, EAR sauntered down Malaga Way. If it was toward Paseo, this would fit with leaving the car of Victim 8 on El Segundo. But this would also mean that he would have to cross a major cross street (Paseo/Malaga butt naked. He could not have left his pants in one of the backyards, but he didn’t have much time before the sheriffs were there. He could have walked down El Caprice to the apartments, which would not present so great a problem. In any case, his pants were never found. He found where he stashed them or he was using a friend/relative’s house or an empty house or home where people were away on vacation.
The curious layout of the beginning in Rancho Cordova below:
Which way did he go, and what on Earth was he up to?
The general circumstances suggest some kind of lair here— either an empty home, a rental or an apartment. Knowing where he parked Victim 8’s car on El Segundo would help, but this information is not available. If he parked the car close to Paseo, then perhaps he was in a rush to get back to Folsom Blvd where he might have parked his own car by the shopping center, where his car would easily have blended in. It would have been wise to park here to begin with, for the shopping centers and strip-downs are on Folsom Blvd. But it would also mean he walked quite a distance to the canal. This seems a little pointless. (He’s done it other times, though, as in the case of Victim 4.)
. . .Or was he trying to deflect attention away from the fact he had arrived via the canal? This seems possible. Had he not taken the victim’s car, the canal which backed Los Palos would have stood out as his means of escape back to an apartment complex also on the canal.
This then fits with EAR having arrived to the location of No. 8 on Los Palos by having come down from Moraine Circle, either from the apartments or from having crossed the school grounds, the canal, and then by skulking down along the canal to Dawes Street.
Many ways to have used the canal to come down to Dawes Street. The canal leads behind Victim 8’s house and down to the apartments.
Richard Shelby (Hunting a Psychopath) discusses from memory an incident that he said occurred in 1974 involving the two corner homes on the canal on Dolecetto, the other side of Dawes from Los Palos. The perp is identified as a 16 to 18 year old who was dressed in olive drab, a favorite early outfit of EAR in 1976-77. The homeowners on the corner house reported a prowler in their neighbor’s yard. Shelby said he is the one who responded. Shelby found nothing and left. He wasn’t blocks away when the call came back in. The prowler was back. Shelby returned to find the garage door rolled up, a bloody log from the fireplace at its foot. The neighbor said the perp had jumped off his roof into his backyard and then the agile villain vaulted over the back fence and into the canal. Shelby checked the house cautiously. He found the family dog beaten to death in the master bedroom. It had been hit so hard that it was disemboweled.
The problem with accepting this scenario as remembered 40 years after-the-fact is that the actions of the perp are so illogically recounted the story is unbelievable. It requires that he beat to death a dog no one heard barking, with a log in the bedroom, then ran outside the house with it into the garage (apparently leaving no blood trail since Shelby does not mention one). He opens the garage door (automatic or manual?) drops the log, jumps on the neighbor’s roof and then runs to the back again and vaults over the fence. Why not just open the victim’s back patio door and quietly leave through the backyard?
In any case, the scenario might fit EAR later in his career (he apparently stabbed one dog and beat another in Goleta), but he was not yet using canals in the beginning of his crime spree in 1976 and apparently also ingratiated himself to dogs while prowling the intended’s house.
This does not mean this was not EAR prowling about. But if it was then it implies he was based near the area.
Even without the above vignette it does seem The EAR had some kind of haven in this area of Rancho Cordova and no doubt also had lived in the Carmichael area west (or east) of Fair Oaks/Manzanita boulevards. He may have grown up in one location and now on his own was renting an apartment in the other.
Renting an apartment is a bit problematic. All that coming and going he must have engaged in late night should have alerted some other tenant, but perhaps it did not.
One correspondent with me suggested that EAR was using pay phones in order to make his hang up calls. This would explain why he stole so much change. Could be. But I have no reports that all those who experienced hang up calls ever heard traffic on the other end, which one would suspect if he was at a pay phone.
All in all, I would say EAR’s longest and most used abode was north of Arden Way and south of Whitney Avenue and West of Manzanita. Only here does he not need to flee off to a main thoroughfare that leads to a highway. It is also easy to get to these locations again from the others without going down Manzanita. He could use one or more highways and then Watt Avenue.
As I update this article on October 2, 2017, it is best to underscore again that this is the area of Arden Arcade, the blank space on the East Area map above, blank insofar as there are no EAR attacks in the area to number.
Watt Avenue is traced in blue. This leads between both Highway 80 and Highway 50 and it also leads straight south to La Riviera. Fair Oaks, which merges into and becomes Manzanita Blvd, is traced in bright green. It leads to Del Dayo and Crestview. Eastern Avenue is traced in yellow. El Camino and Arden Way are traced in red. The most probable area— Arden Oaks— is circled in yellow. EAR never struck here. The closest is Del Dayo and then much further north Victims 14 and 26.
Files on the EAR/ONS
A Word About Rape
Notes on Personal Investigation
Logic verses Instinct
The Folklore of “Copycat”
The Summer of ’76
Victim #1— The Beginning— Rancho Cordova
Victim #2—Careful Selection—Del Dayo
Victim #3— Foiled Attack— Rancho Cordova
Victim #4— Violent Improvisation— Crestview
Victim #5— Selected Target— Citrus Heights
Victim #6— Curious Tactics— Rancho Cordova
Victim #7— Baring Down— Del Dayo
Victim #8— Interrupted Arrival— Rancho Cordova
Analysis of First 8 Strikes
Victim #9— Revealing Mistake— Citrus Heights
Victim #10— Fair Oaks— Undaunted
Living Dangerously— The Year of the EAR—1977
Victim #11— Cats and Fields— Sacramento
Victim #12— Blind Spot Reveals— Citrus Heights
Victim #13— Unexpected Jogger—Carmichael
Victim #14— Over the River . . .and Through the Woods— Sacramento
Victim #15— Tactical Misuse— Rancho Cordova
Victim #16— Opportunity Knocks a Clue— Orangevale
Victim #17— Unexpected Spoke in the Hub— Crestview
Victim #18— Moving Upwards— La Riviera
Victim #19— Presentiment of Impromptu Danger—Orangevale
Victim #20— Blind Spot and a Stop Watch— Citrus Heights
Victim #21— Tactical 1— Del Dayo
Victim #22— Tactical 2— South Sacramento
After the Lull— 1977’s Autumn of Fear
Victim #23— Tactical 3— Stockton
Victim #24— Switcharoo— La Riviera
Victim #25— Follow Diablo— Foothill Farms
Victim #26— Dump Truck Biker— Carmichael
Victim #27— Condo Commando— La Riviera
Victim #28— Tail of Diablo— Foothill Farms
Victim #29/30— Assault!— Carmichael
Maggiore Double Murders— Critical Clue— Rancho Cordova
Yet Another Year— 1978
Victim #31— Distant Roaming— Stockton
Victim #31B— Back to Rancho— Rancho Cordova
Victim #32— Little Pocket, Big Clue— South Sacramento
Victim #33— The Deep Dig— Modesto
Victim #34— Co-Ed— Davis
Victim #35— Back— Modesto
Victim #36— Forth— Davis
Silent Victim— Lateral— Modesto
Victim #37— Forth North— Davis
A New East— Contra Costa Corridor
Victim #38— Surreal Schedule— Concord
Victim #39— Opportunity Kicks— Concord
Victim #40— Cats and Fields Again— San Ramon
Victim #41— The Way to San Jose— San Jose
Victim #42— Sobbing in San Jose— San Jose
Victim #43— Danville— Playing it Close
No Stopping Him— 1979
Lacing with Ligatures— Thunderbird Place
Victim #43B— Auld Lange Syne— Rancho Cordova
Victim #44— Along the 680— Fremont
Victim #45— Follow the Cats— Walnut Creek
Victim #46— Sticking to Routine— Danville
Victim #47— Walnut Creek— Dig and Retreat
Victim #48— Shouted Out— Danville
Victim #49— The Unsuspected — Goleta
Murder—Original Night Stalker—
Goleta— Doctor Duo— Dec 30, 1979
Ventura— Cats & Murder— March 13, 1980
Laguna Niguel— Exclusive— August 19, 1980
Irvine— Home Alone— Feb. 6, 1981
Goleta— Dig & Retreat Again— July 27, 1981
Irvine— Epitome of MO— May 4, 1986
Phantom Predator— Analysis of EAR Crime Spree
Analysis of EAR Prowling MO
Portrait of Terror
The Lair of an Arch Rapist
The Mystery of the Silent Dog
Night PredatorFiles on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker
The Website of Gian J. Quasar