Bermuda Triangle




Cold Case Files


Why the Q Files?

More about Q Man

Books by The Quester


True Crime/Cold Case Files     EAR Crime Index

The Case of the East Area Rapist AKA The Original Night Stalker


Night Predator crimes





Stalking the Ultimate 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.

East Area Rapist AKA EAR/ONS

The Nasca Lines on the pampa of Peru stretch for miles. They are another puzzle of ancient Peru. They had remained largely undiscovered though right there for all to see because, as it was later said, “they had been rendered invisible by the enormity of their scope.”

     The same can be said for the case of the East Area Rapist later known as The Original Night Stalker. His crime spree was no secret. He terrorized California nights for years back in the 1970s, and even the area around the State capitol. Yet close to 40 years later now and he ironically remains largely obscure. He is California’s No. 1 serial offender in history which, considering California’s crime rate, is saying something. Yet his crime spree is not the subject of book after book, nor TV drama after TV drama. The Zodiac Killer is forever trotted out. News articles still tell us of some supposedly new and significant breakthrough in the case of Jack the Ripper. The villain of dark Whitechapel nights of 1888 is still much with us, but a man who must still be under 60 years old and who terrorized California for 10 years is forgotten.

     There are a number of reasons, but by and large the answer is the enormity of the scope of his crimes. To do justice to a cold case, one must, well, at least I believe, reenact the crime and context of the crimes. After all, the detective is committing the crime (theoretically) in reverse when trying to solve it. The detective is walking in the perp’s footsteps (in reverse) in order to backwork every step and uncover clues. How on earth do you do that with at least 50 rapes and then at least 10 to 12 murders without blowing a gray cell?

     The enormity of The EAR’s crime spree makes it a daunting task. Each case must be examined. Each link made. Each break in his MO noted and explained. Even with all the evidence released to the public it would not be easy. But much has been lost. Statute of limitations has run out on the rapes. The reports were thrown out, supposedly. Some were saved by Lt. Larry Crompton of the Contra Costa County Sheriffs. He was an original forensic investigator on their aspect of the case. That’s another problem. EAR traveled over the State. Several jurisdictions were involved. They all didn’t get along and, as Crompton noted in his book Sudden Terror, they all didn’t share. Epithets were used so often in reference by one jurisdiction for investigators in others they could be mistaken for surnames.



The East Area Rapist began in Sacramento County, in the suburbs east of the capitol. After a year, EAR couldn’t be stopped. He sent Sacramento into a panic. Then he struck in Stockton, back in Sacramento off and on, and then Modesto and Davis. Then he moved on to the East Bay area of San Francisco and struck in Concord, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Fremont, San Jose. After 3 years he disappeared. It was only years later through DNA comparisons that he was identified with the rape/murder of several couples in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange counties. This criminal was known as The Original Night Stalker. This extended his crime spree to 1986, when his last victim, Janelle Cruz, was found bludgeoned to death. Like with every other victim it was in the home, always in the home.

     I come up in 2011 and take an interest in the case. It’s in my backyard after all. But this isn’t like investigating a murder scene. There is no scene to investigate. There is also no crime to punish. With the statute of limitation having expired on the rapes, America’s No. 1 sexual terrorist cannot be charged. However, there is no statute of limitation on murder. Thus if one uncovers who was The EAR, one has automatically uncovered who was The Original Night Stalker, the faceless murderer of the greater Los Angeles area. There is therefore a solid reason to investigate the rapes.

     I’ve spoken with some involved. You can’t go far around Sacramento without people recalling the case and knowing someone involved. I’ve spoken with victims. I’ve spoken with people who turned in suspects. I know people who knew victims. This is fine from a journalistic approach, but not from an investigative approach. To cut to the chase, who to investigate?

     There was no prime suspect. There is no list of suspects. EAR didn’t know his victims. There was little way to have a suspect. For murder, suspects are easy. There must be a motive. Who profits? When criminology accepted that some kill for the thrill, the clues were still there to pinpoint a wacko. But rape? There is no profit. No Uncle Henry’s treasure. There may be some motive to dominate— but that’s quite effervescent. Some erogenous thrill— so where does that lead one? And for The EAR it was more about terror than rape. How do you round up suspects for that? All there is to go on today is DNA. CLUE has run his DNA through the database. He has never done time for anything or it has never been collected. He was that good at what he did. And ultimately that is his mistake . . .

     It’s hardly surprising to discover he was that careful. To study his MO is to stand amazed. He wasn’t just a rapist. He didn’t waylay women on a jogging path. He carefully laid out a tactical plan of assault and attacked the home. He was that careful so that he has remained successful, but this gives us a witness. He may not have known his victims, but he knew one thing. He knew how to stalk a neighborhood. And as time went by and his modus operandi refined, he stalked only certain types of neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are the witnesses. You see, the house may not be that significant anymore— there is certainly no evidence there— but its location in the community is.

     No ingenuity is required to break into a home and shine a flashlight and point a gun on sleeping people. The EAR’s ingenuity lay in how facelessly he stalked a community so that no one really could say they had seen a genuinely suspicious person. No one saw him. At least none are certain. The EAR had a method for walking the underbelly of a neighborhood. At night the parks and fields, schools and orchards are deserted; cement plastered canals sequestered avenues only for rodents and cats. The location of the house in relation to these is critical. There is also one other critical, tactical ally he used. Some neighborhoods are built in such a way that their entrance is blocks away from the entrance to another, but they are connected to each other other by a walking path between homes. It is safe to park in one and then walk the narrow path to the other. At night no one will see. No one will make the connection. The EAR became so methodical that the location of these tactical hallmarks can eventually identify the home. Unraveling how he stalked a neighborhood, and to what calculated lengths he went to remain anonymous, reveals the mind of The EAR. He was not impulsive. He may have been opportunistic on occasion, but he was obsessively calculating. He laid down such a pattern that any variation is a significant clue that must be obsessed upon.

     Thus a crucial part of my investigation was to stalk the ultimate stalker.

Crestview-aerial-icon #4-Crestview-aerial-icon
#4-Crestview-aerial-closer-icon Thornwood-aerial-angle4-icon
DSC04410-icon DSC04426-icon

     The above is only an example of the in-depth picture essays that will accompany the cases and then make up much of the analysis section. Above just scratches the surface of only 2 of EAR’s methods of stalking.

     Although Crompton did an admirable work in reintroducing the case, he was not an investigator in Sacramento where it all began. A serial makes his mistakes early on. He shifts gears until he perfects his MO. It’s at moments like this when he is vulnerable to being exposed. Crompton became good friends with the Sacramento lead sheriff investigator, Jim Bevins. Bevins gave him copies of what he had, but it is clear that Crompton didn’t have all the information, especially on the “prehistory” cases— those first 8 rapes that were never reported in the press. Street names are not recited by him, and on a number of occasions geographical mistakes are obvious in his recital.

     Nevertheless, his book Sudden Terror is invaluable. For the later attacks he mentions many of the streets by name. Although there are still a significant number where he only mentions the major cross streets or a community, like “Fair Oaks,” he does mention or makes offhand reference to certain facts which help establish the actual street or even the house.

     For case #9, for example, he mentions the canal behind the victim’s house, the area behind the fence where they used to play as kids, and the weeping willow tree. This was enough for me to find the actual locationDSC06109-icon and, when personally visiting, not to be surprised that the house had up bars. In some of the early cases he mentions a street, such as La Loma Drive in Rancho Cordova. Crompton having offhand noted that the backyard had a BBQ pit with a brick chimney that went up through an add-on extension roof over the patio, I was able to find the house. It was, in fact, one of the few homes next to a second story home where a suspect, “Tracey Erle,” supposedly could peer out the window and see the victim.

     For others it was more difficult. The location of No. 10DSC05415-icon was crucial. But I had only two major cross streets. It took hours if not accumulated hours into days to uncover the location. The clues were provided by Crompton— the EAR had simply pushed over a fence between side yards and walked over it, leaving a perfect shoe print on the paling. He then surprised the victim while she was playing the piano. He led her into the garage, which was through a nearby door. He then took her into the yard, tied her feet to a post on the patio— it obviously had an overhang— and then raped her on the picnic table. Knowing the EAR’s MO by this time, I knew the home had to be near the Schweitzer Grove open park. Everything about this whole community had EAR written on it. It was a mirror of Del Campo Park, which the EAR had used several times in the Crestview area. However,Schwitzeroverhead-icon the area is huge. Several streets dead end into accesses into the wooded area.

     Where to begin? Zillow or Trulia are trusty companions for finding the age of a home (and even seeing the inside of a victim’s house if it should be for sale). Zillow showed that the age of homes around the Grove were too recent (by 1976 standards) to have fences that could be brought down by merely pushing on them. I was looking for at least a 20 year old fence. This meant the upper right quadrant of homes. Then I noticed what was becoming a familiar friend to my research, and something that had been a familiar ally to the EAR. Using Google Earth I finally saw a canal. This began the process. A little beetling in, lots of Zillow and Trulia to get each home’s age, and a close up with Google Earth showed the right home. It was 20 years old. The conclusion was clinched by an historic Google Earth aerial showing that in theSchwitzer-canal1-icon last decade the patio overhang was still in place and only recently removed. This home was also noteworthy for the chimney indicating that the living room was next to the garage. A garage is usually in the front of a home and accessed through the kitchen. Not in the case of this incident. A home nearby still carried bars on the window.

     Another example: For one of the Foothill Farms rapes, the victim was able to relate how theSchwitzer-canal2-icon EAR was distracted by the kids playing on the street outside. He kept going to the living room window and peering out between the closed drapes. After the rapist left, she heard his car (or van) start up next to the house. It was easy to determine that she must have lived in a corner house. However, the house marked by popular forums as the one was in the center cross street; though a corner house, it did not match in other areas. DSC06287-50%-iconThe street (Revelstok) was known, but the houses at Brett and Revelstok simply didn’t have living rooms that opened up onto the front of the house. A little Google Earth preplanning, Street View, and then on-scene walking about revealed the right house and intersection. The large living room window still had wrought iron bars on it. The EAR had parked in a blind spot next to it. That was becoming his MO. 

     Not having all the addresses was beneficialDSC06290-50%-icon for me. I had to find them. This exercised deduction. If I merely had the addresses I would have visited the locations and walked about a bit. But I had to deduce many streets and then on top of this find the right house. This caused me to notice everything in the community. I had to learn a neighborhood like he had learned it. In my case, from the barest shred of information I had to find the house, and this revealed exactly how he must have tactically sized up a community.

     Even with Google Earth I could not see all the details of a neighborhood. Often trees obscured a canal. I would visit a location, suddenly find a walking path between homes— another EAR telltale stalking clue— and then under trees behind the homes stumble upon a canal or creek. At this moment I learned to appreciate the cliché about a light bulb coming on over one’s head. I knew his MO so well by this time, I could find the house. Often times bars were still on windows in the general location— a sure sign DSC06261-iconone is hot especially in a nice neighborhood. No one has forgotten The EAR.

   All this has revealed clues. But some are hard to interpret. No one can just drive around and find these canals. Yes, the parks and schools, some of them huge open fields or orchards back then, can be found by driving about. But the canals and the nature trails and walking paths between homes are another matter. “Cats”— the huge power pylons— well, maps don’t show them, but they can be seen from afar. The “Cats” will become significant. Somehow he knew where they were or he saw them while driving the highways and knew there would always be an open field beneath them. He loved these areas. Canals come into play on Victim #4, from there on there is monotony.

     Logistically it is hard to imagine someone just driving around looking for parks and schools or open fields and then laboriously narrowing down his tactical lines of stalking to canals and walking paths.DSC04671-50%-icon One would need a lot of time and patience. Original investigators thought that EAR may have been attracted to a location based on new construction going on. With this he could get a good scope of the layout of homes while under construction and learn the floor plan. He could also come and go unnoticed.

     But it doesn’t fit. His first attacks were in a 20 year old neighborhood. After that he struck in both old and newer neighborhoods. Maybe he was a roofer? He could then get a tall view of neighborhoods both old and new. This too was speculated. Not an unwise surmise to make. But it seems this would too openly connect him with the community. One thing he stuck to. He could not be connected withDSC06487-icon the area. He must be totally or near totally unobserved while stalking a neighborhood. His MO shows him to be a guy from the get-go that didn’t want to be caught.

     No matter what kind of interdepartmental contention existed in the sheriffs and the police, all were united in one thing. They knew this guy was the most calculated predator ever encountered. From terror, sadism, rape, he graduated to couples, striking even when entire families were in the house. Then he turned murderer. He didn’t change one iota, however, of his stalking MO. Over Santa Barbara DSC06541-50%-iconCounty, Ventura, Orange, the murder victims’ homes are all in the same relation to ‘Cats,’ canals, parks and schools. Only here his sadism led to murder, only here no more witnesses to tell of their ordeal . . . but he no doubt remained the hissing, ski masked villain.

   From these short notes on how I developed my own investigation, the reader will get a foretaste of the entire EAR/ONS section of The Quester Files, especially the analysis section. The reader must walk in the path of this real life Michael Myers like I have in order to appreciate why he is the most calculated and No. 1 serial offender . . .the one true Night Predator. These communities, these facts, are the only remaining witnesses. With their help we can still unmask the hissing little sadist.


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—

   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—

  Living Dangerously
— The Year of the EAR—

Victim #11
— Cats and Fields—

Victim #12—
 Blind Spot Reveals—
 Citrus Heights

Victim #13
— Unexpected Jogger—

Ripon Court Shooting

 Victim #14
— Over the River . . .
and Through the Woods—

Victim #15
— Tactical Misuse—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #16
— Opportunity Knocks a Clue—

Victim #17
— Unexpected Spoke in the Hub—

Victim #18
— Moving Upwards—
La Riviera

Victim #19
— Presentiment
 Impromptu Danger—

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—

Victim #24
— Switcharoo—
 La Riviera

Victim #25
— Follow Diablo—
 Foothill Farms

Victim #26
—  Dump Truck Biker—

Victim #27
— Condo Commando—
La Riviera

Victim #28
— Tail of Diablo—
 Foothill Farms

Victim #29/30
— Assault!—

Maggiore Double Murders
— Critical Clue—
 Rancho Cordova

   Yet Another Year— 1978


       Witness in Charcoal

Victim #31
— Distant Roaming—

Victim #31B
— Back to Rancho—
 Rancho Cordova

Victim #32
— Little Pocket, Big Clue—
 South Sacramento

Victim #33
— The Deep Dig—

Victim #34
— Co-Ed—

Victim #35
— Back—

Victim #36
— Forth—

Silent Victim
— Lateral—

Victim #37
— Forth North—

A New East—
 Contra Costa Corridor

Victim #38
—  Surreal Schedule—

Victim #39
— Opportunity Kicks—

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—

Victim #45
— Follow the Cats—
 Walnut Creek

Victim #46
— Sticking to Routine—

Victim #47
— Walnut Creek—
 Dig and Retreat

Victim #48
— Shouted Out—

Victim #49
—  The Unsuspected —


—Original Night Stalker—

— Doctor Duo—
 Dec 30, 1979

— Cats & Murder—
 March 13, 1980

Laguna Niguel
— Exclusive—
August 19, 1980

— Home Alone—
 Feb. 6, 1981

— Dig & Retreat Again—
 July 27, 1981

— 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

Phone Calls



Night Predator
Files on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker

The Website of Gian J. Quasar