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The Original Night Stalker (ONS), originally the East Area Rapist (EAR) (during opening three year rape spree in eastern suburbs of Sacramento),[2] are media epithets for an unidentified serial killer and serial rapist who committed 50 rapes in Northern California during the mid-1970s and murdered twelve people in Southern California from 1979 through 1986.[3] Other monikers include the EAR/ONS, the Diamond Knot Killer, and the Golden State Killer.[4]

The Original Night Stalker
Original Night Stalker-East Area Rapist.jpg
This was one of the three sketches the FBI focused on when it reopened the case in June 2016.
Other names
  • The East Area Rapist
  • The Diamond Knot Killer
  • The Golden State Killer[1]
Height Approximately 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) (from witness statements)
Weight Approximately 170 lb (77 kg) (from witness statements)
Victims 12+ (murder victims)
50+ (rape victims)
Span of killings
February 2, 1978 – May 4, 1986
Country United States
State(s) California

The crimes initially centered on the then unincorporated areas of Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova, all east of Sacramento, where at least fifty women were raped between June 18, 1976, and July 5, 1979.[3] In 2001, several of the Northern California rapes were linked by DNA to murders in Southern California. All of the DNA-linked assaults occurred in Contra Costa County but the distinctive modus operandi (MO) of the rapist makes it very likely the same man was also responsible for the attacks in the Sacramento area. His last crime, the only one after 1981, took place in 1986.

The Original Night Stalker has never been apprehended. Several suspects have been cleared through DNA, alibi, or other investigative means and methods.[5][6] On June 15, 2016, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies held a news conference to announce a nationwide effort and a US$50,000 reward for his capture.[7] They plan to erect electronic billboards nationwide and other forms of exposure for the push.[8]



California law enforcement authorities estimate fifty rapes in the California counties of Sacramento, Contra Costa, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Alameda, Santa Clara and Yolo were committed by the Original Night Stalker.[9] DNA evidence conclusively links him to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, and Irvine, California, with two other murders in Goleta linked by modus operandi but not DNA.[10][11] Some investigators also suspect the same perpetrator in three other murders, two in Rancho Cordova and one in Visalia.[6]

East Area Rapist crimesEdit

Various sketches of the suspect.[12][13]

The Sacramento East Area Rapist is believed to have started as a prolific burglar, only later graduating to rape. His initial modus operandi was to stalk middle class neighborhoods at night looking for women who lived in single-story homes, generally located near a school, creek, or other open space that afforded a quick escape.[14] He was spotted on a number of occasions, but sprinted away upon detection. On one occasion, a youth who closely pursued him was shot and seriously wounded.[6]:187–188 Most victims had seen or heard a prowler on their property before the attacks, and many had suffered break-ins. Police believed the offender had a pattern of using extensive reconnaissance on several homes in a targeted neighborhood before selecting one for attack. As part of his surveillance, the stalker was also known to call victims both before and after the night of the attack, sometimes hanging up, sometimes pretending to have the wrong number, and sometimes (in calls placed after the attack) threatening them.[4][15] In one of these messages, which was recorded by the victim in January 1978, the stalker repeats, "Gonna kill you."[15]

Although he originally targeted women either alone in their homes or with children,[5][16] he later came to prefer attacking couples instead.[5][17][18] His standard procedure was to break in and awaken the occupants,[5] threatening them with a handgun. Victims were generally bound with ligatures that the criminal brought to the crime scene, often blindfolding and/or gagging them with towels taken from the residence that he had carefully cut into strips. The female victim was made to tie up her male companion with bootlaces before being tied up herself.[19] In many cases, these bindings were made so tightly that the victims had no feeling in their hands for hours after they were untied.[6]:434 He would then separate the couple, often stacking dishes on the back of the male, and telling him that if he heard the dishes rattle he would kill everyone in the house.[5][19][20] The intruder at times spent hours in the home, ransacking closets and drawers,[21][22] eating food in the kitchen, and coming back to utter more threats to the victims, who were often unsure as to whether he was still in the home. In some instances, the victims believed he had left and began to move, but he then "jump[ed] from the darkness."[19] The perpetrator was believed to use a bicycle to travel to and from his car, and also made extensive use of parks, school yards, creek beds, and other open spaces that allowed him to stay off the street.[6]

East Area Rapist Crimes June 18, 1976 to October 1, 1979Edit

This 'Open Mask' sketch of the East Area Rapist was created after one of his victims saw his face. What the victim saw was a man with wide eyes and a wide mouth wearing a ski mask. Nothing identifying at all. She said he had a young round face, putting his age in the late teens to early 20s.[23]
  1. – June 18, 1976 Fri – 4:00am Rancho Cordova, CA[24]
  2. – July 17, 1976 Sat – 2:00am Del Dayo, Carmichael, CA
  3. – August 29, 1976 Sun – 3:20am Rancho Cordova, CA
  4. – September 4, 1976 Sat – 11:30pm Citrus Heights, CA
  5. – October 5, 1976 Tue – 6:45am Citrus Heights, CA[25]
  6. – October 9, 1976 Sat – 4:30am Rancho Cordova, CA
  7. – October 18, 1976 Mon – 2:30am Del Dayo, Carmichael, CA
  8. – October 18, 1976 Mon – 11:00pm Rancho Cordova, CA
  9. – November 10, 1976 Wed – 7:30pm near Greenback Ln, Citrus Heights, CA
  10. – December 18, 1976 Sat – 7:00pm Carmichael, CA
  11. – January 18, 1977 Tue – 11:00pm Glenbrook/College Greens, Sacramento, CA[26]
  12. – January 24, 1977 Mon – 12:00am Primrose Dr., Citrus Heights, CA[27]
  13. – February 7, 1977 Mon – 6:45am Crestview Drive & Madison Ave., Citrus Heights, CA[28]
  14. – February 16, 1977 Wed – ** Ripon Court Shooting **[29]
  15. – March 8, 1977 Tue – 4:00am Robertson & Whitney Ave, Sacramento, CA[30]
  16. – March 18, 1977 Fri – 10:45pm Rancho Cordova[31][32]
  17. – April 2, 1977 Sat – 3:20am Madison & Main Ave., Orangevale
  18. – April 15, 1977 Fri – 2:30am Madison & Manzanita Aves, Crestview Area, Sacramento, CA[33]
  19. – May 3, 1977 Tue – 3:00am Glenbrook/College Greens, Sacramento, CA[34]
  20. – May 5, 1977 Thu – 2:40am Orangevale, CA[34]
  21. – May 14, 1977 Sun – 3:45am Greenback Ln & Birdcage St, Citrus Heights, CA[35]
  22. – May 17, 1977 Tue – 1:30am Sand Bar Circle, Del Dayo, Carmichael, CA[36]
  23. – May 28, 1977 Sat – 1:00am Fourth Parkway, South Area, Sacramento, CA[37]
    Unexplained 3-month break in attacks, then first attacks outside Sacramento Area
  24. – September 6, 1977 Tue – Lincoln Village West, North Stockton, CA – * First attack outside Sacramento *[38]
  25. – October 1, 1977 Sat – 1:30am La Riviera & Tuolumne Dr, Rancho Cordova, CA[39]
  26. – October 21, 1977 Fri – 3:00am Gold Run Ave, Elkhorn Blvd, Diablo Drive, Foothill Farms, Antelope, CA[40]
  27. – October 29, 1977 Sat – 1:45am Woodson Ave., Sacramento, CA[41]
  28. – November 10, 1977 Thu – 3:00am La Riviera Dr. near Watt Ave., Sacramento, CA[42]
  29. – December 2, 1977 Fri – 11:30pm Brett & Revelstok Dr. Foothill Farms, CA[43][44]
  30. – January 28, 1978 Sat – 10:15pm Winding Way, E. of Walnut Ave., Sacramento, CA[45][46]
  31. – February 2, 1978 ** Brian and Katie Maggiore murdered **[47][48][49]
  32. – March 18, 1978 Fri – 1:05am Parkwoods, Stockton, CA[50]
  33. – April 14, 1978 Fri – 10:00pm Piedmont Drive, Seamas & Riverside Aves. South Sacramento, CA[51][52]
    Attacks move out of Sacramento to Modesto and Davis
  34. – June 5, 1978 Mon – 2:30am N.E. Modesto, CA[52][53]
  35. – June 7, 1978 Wed – 3:55am Apartment, N. side UCD, Davis, CA[54]
  36. – June 23, 1978 Fri – 1:30am North East Modesto, CA
  37. – June 24, 1978 Sat – 3:15am Rivendell, Davis, CA
  38. – July 6, 1978 Thur – 2:50am Westwood Div, Davis, CA[55]
    three-month hiatus then attacks move to Contra Costa County and south
  39. – October 7, 1978 Sat – 2:30am Concord, CA[56]
  40. – October 13, 1978 Fri – 4:30am Concord, CA[57]
  41. – October 28, 1978 Sat – 4:30am San Ramon, CA[58][59][60]
  42. – November 4, 1978 Sat – 3:30am San Jose, CA
  43. – December 2, 1978 Sat – 4:30am San Jose, CA
  44. – December 9, 1978 Sat – 2:00am Danville, CA
  45. – April 5, 1979 Thur – 1:00am Fremont, CA[61]
  46. – June 2, 1979 Wed – Walnut Creek, CA[62]
  47. – June 11, 1979 Mon – 4:00am Danville, CA[63]
  48. – June 25, 1979 Mon – Walnut Creek, CA[64]
  49. – July 5, 1979 Thur – 3:45am Danville, CA[65][66]
    Last known attack by the East Area Rapist, attacks move down south to Southern California

Original Night Stalker murders and attempted murder October 1, 1979 to May 4, 1986Edit

  1. – October 1, 1979 Mon – Queen Ann Lane, Goleta, Santa Barbara County, CA (attempted murder/botched attack)[67]
  2. – December 30, 1979 – Sun – Goleta, Santa Barbara County, California[68]
  3. – March 13, 1980 – Thur – Ventura, California[69][70]
  4. – August 19, 1980 – Tue – Dana Point, Orange County, California[71]
  5. – February 6, 1981 – Tue – Irvine, Orange County, California[71][72]
  6. – July 27, 1981 – Mon – Goleta, Santa Barbara, California[73]
  7. – May 4, 1986 – Sat – Irvine, Orange County, California[11][74]

FBI investigationEdit

On June 15, 2016, the FBI released further information in relation to the crimes including new composite sketches, and victim and investigator testimony.[75] They also announced a US$50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the East Area Rapist.[76][77] The initiative includes a national database to support law enforcement investigating the crimes and to handle tips and information.

These were the three sketches the FBI focused on when it reopened the case in June 2016.

Murders of Brian and Katie MaggioreEdit

Sketches released of two suspects in the Maggiore murders

On the night of February 2, 1978, a young Sacramento couple, Brian (a military policeman at Mather Air Force Base) and Katie Maggiore, were walking their dog in the Rancho Cordova area, close to a cluster of five East Area Rapist attacks.[75] A confrontation in the street caused the couple to flee, but they were chased down and shot dead.[78] Some investigators suspected the couple had been murdered by the East Area Rapist due to the location and its vicinity to EAR attacks, and the fact that one shoe lace was found near the crime scene.[6]

On June 15, 2016, the FBI announced that they were confident the East Area Rapist murdered the Maggiores.[79]

Original Night Stalker crimesEdit


  • On October 1, an intruder broke in and tied up a Goleta couple.[6]:434 The attacker alarmed them by chanting "I'll kill 'em" to himself.[5][6]:435 When he left the room, the man and then the woman made attempts to escape during which the woman screamed. Realizing the alarm had been raised, the intruder fled on a bicycle.[5] A neighbor, who was an FBI agent, responded to the noise and pursued the perpetrator, who abandoned the bike he was on and fled on foot through local backyards.[6]:435 The attacker also abandoned a knife at this point. The attack was later linked physically to the Offerman-Manning murders by shoeprints and the same roll of twine being used to bind the victims.[6]:438
  • On December 30, Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and Dr. Debra Alexandra Manning, 35, were found shot dead at Offerman's condominium on Avenida Pequena in Goleta.[80] The bindings on Offerman were untied, indicating he had apparently lunged at the attacker. Neighbors heard the gunshots but failed to respond to them, attributing them to innocuous causes.[80] Prints from a large dog were found at the scene, leading to speculation that the killer may have brought it with him.[6]:446 There is evidence that he fed the dog some leftover Christmas turkey from the fridge.[citation needed] The killer also broke into the adjoining residence, to the west of the crime scene, which was vacant at the time, and stole a bicycle from a third residence in the same complex. The bicycle was later found abandoned on a street to the north of the crime scene.[23]


  • On March 13, Charlene Smith, 33, and Lyman Smith, 43, who was about to be appointed as a Judge, were found murdered in their home in Ventura.[81] Charlene Smith had also been raped.[5] A log from the fireplace was used to bludgeon both the victims to death.[6]:440[82] Their wrists and ankles had been bound with a drapery cord.[5][6]:441 An unusual Chinese knot, known as the diamond knot, was used on their wrists.[6]:441 The same knot had been noted in the East Area Rapist attacks in Sacramento, with at least one confirmed case publicly known.[23]
  • On August 19, Keith Eli Harrington, 24, and Patrice Briscoe Harrington, 27, were found bludgeoned to death in their home on Cockleshell Drive in the Niguel Shores gated community in Dana Point.[83] Patrice Harrington had also been raped.[5][84] Although there was evidence that the Harringtons were bound at the wrist and ankles, no ligatures or murder weapon were found at the scene.[83] The Harringtons had been married for three months at the time of their deaths.[83] Patrice Harrington was a nurse in Irvine, while Keith Harrington was a medical student at the University of California, Irvine.[6][83] Keith Harrington's brother Bruce later spent nearly $2 million supporting California Proposition 69 (2004).[5][68]


  • On February 6, Manuela Witthuhn, 28, was raped and murdered in her home in Irvine.[5][85] Again, while the body showed signs of being tied before being bludgeoned,[5] no ligatures, or murder weapon, were found at the scene. The victim was married, but her husband was recuperating from an illness in the hospital; thus she was alone at the time of the attack.[85] A lamp and crystal curio were removed from her house, presumably by the killer.[citation needed] Also, detectives remarked that Witthuhn's television was found in the backyard, which was possibly the killer's attempt to make it appear as a botched robbery.[6]
  • On July 27, Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, became the 10th and 11th murder victims of the Original Night Stalker. Both were attacked in Domingo's house on Toltec Way in Goleta,[6]:444 several blocks south of the Offerman–Manning crime scene. Their murder has been linked to the Original Night Stalker by DNA left at the scene.[86] He is believed to have broken into the home in Goleta, which was up for sale at the time of the attack. Law enforcement believe the attacker may have worked as a painter or related role in the Calle Real Shopping Centre.[87][88][89]
It is unknown how the Original Night Stalker selected Domingo and Sanchez as victims. Domingo's daughter Debbi (who was 15 at the time) was staying with friends on the night of the attack. Her son was out of state with other family members. The home in Goleta belonged to Domingo's family and she was staying there temporarily.[90] The offender had entered the property via a small window in the bathroom. Sanchez had not been tied.[6]:445 He had been shot in the cheek, although not fatally. He was then bludgeoned to death with a garden tool taken from the property. Some believe Sanchez may have realized he was dealing with the man responsible for the murder of Offerman and Manning, and made a desperate attempt to tackle the killer rather than be tied up. As in the Offerman–Manning case, no neighbors responded to the sound of the gunshot.[6]:445[90] Sanchez's head was covered with clothes pulled from the closet.[6]:444 Bruises on Domingo's wrists and ankles indicated she had been tied,[6]:445 although the restraints were missing. She had been raped and bludgeoned.[89] A single piece of shipping twine was found near the bed. Fibers of an unknown source were scattered over her body.[91]


  • On May 4, Janelle Lisa Cruz, 18, was found bludgeoned to death in her Irvine home.[92] Her family was on vacation in Mexico at the time of the attack.[5][85] A pipe wrench was reported missing by Cruz's stepfather and was thought to be the probable murder weapon.[6]:458 She had also been raped.[11][74][93]

These murders in Southern California (Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, and Irvine, California) were not initially thought to be connected by investigators in their respective jurisdictions. One Sacramento detective strongly believed the East Area Rapist was responsible for the Goleta attacks, but at first the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department attributed them to a local career criminal who had himself subsequently been murdered. Investigating the crimes that did not occur in Goleta caused local police to follow false leads related to men who had been close to the female victims. One suspect, later acknowledged to be innocent, was charged with two murders. Linking all of the cases together was achieved almost entirely by DNA testing, which was not done until many years later.[6]

The Original Night Stalker speaksEdit

Letters and writingsEdit

"Excitement's Crave" poem (December 11, 1977)Edit

In December 1977, letters were sent to the editor of The Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento mayor's office and the KVIE 6 TV station titled "Excitement's Crave" written in poem form by an individual claiming to be the East Area Rapist.[6] It should be noted that December 11 is also the same date that a masked man, likely the Original Night Stalker, eluded pursuit by multiple law enforcement personnel after he had apparently alerted authorities by telephone that he would strike on Watt Avenue that night.[94] Though the authenticity of his authorship of the poem has never been proven, it is entirely possible that his successful evasion of the police on that morning inspired him to write it.

'Excitement's Crave'

"All those mortal's surviving birth
Upon facing maturity,
Take inventory of their worth
To prevailing society.
Choosing values becomes a task;
Oneself must seek satisfaction.
The selected route will unmask
Character when plans take action.
Accepting some work to perform
At fixed pay, but promise for more,
Is a recognized social norm,
As is decorum, seeking lore.
Achieving while others lifting
Should be cause for deserving fame.
Leisure tempts excitement seeking,
What's right and expected seems tame.
"Jessie James" has been seen by all,
And "Son of Sam" has an author.
Others now feel temptations call.
Sacramento should make an offer.
To make a movie of my life
That will pay for my planned exile.
Just now I' d like to add the wife
Of a Mafia lord to my file.
Your East Area Rapist
And deserving pest.
See you in the press or on T.V."[6]:p. 304

"The homework" pages (December 9, 1978)Edit

During the investigation of the 42nd attack in Danville investigators discovered three notebook pages not far from the scene of the attack where a suspicious vehicle had reportedly been parked.[4]

First page: "General Custer" essayEdit

Written on the first page is what appears to be an essay on General George Armstrong Custer.[4]

Front side of the "Mad is the Word" page
Reverse side of the "Mad is the word" page
Second page: "Mad is the Word" journal entryEdit

The second page contains a journal style entry where the author writes about a school teacher who made them write lines, and how humiliating they found the experience to be.[4]

Mad is the word that reminds me of 6th grade. I hated that year

I wish I had know what was going to be going on during my 6th grade year, the last and worst years of elementary school. Mad is the word that remains in my head about my dreadful year as a 6th grader. My madness was one that was caused by disappointments that hurt me very much. Disappointments from my teacher such as field trips that were planned and then cancelled. My 6th grade teacher gave me a lot of disappointments that made me very mad and made me built a state of hatred in my heart, no one ever let me down that hard before and I never "hated anyone" as much as I did him. Disappointment wasn't the only reason that made me mad in my sixth grade class, another was getting in trouble at school especially talking thats what really bugged me was writing sentences, those awful sentence that my teacher made

me write, hours and hours I'd sit and write 50-100-150 sentence day and night I write those dreadful paragraphs which embarrassed me and more important it made me ashamed of myself which in turn, deepdown inside made me realize that writing sentance wasn't fair, it wasn't fair to make me suffer like that, it just wasn't fair to make me sit and wright until my bones ached, until my hand felt ever horrid pain it ever had and as I wrote, I got mader and mader until I cried, I cried because I was ashamed I cried because I was discusted I cried because I was mad and I cried for myself, kid who kept on having to write those dame sentances. My angriness from sixth grade will scar my memory for life and I will be ashamed of my sixth grade year forever

Front side of the "Punishment" map
Third page: "Punishment" mapEdit
Reverse side of the "Punishment" map, showing the word punishment scrawled across the page.

A hand drawn map of what appears to be a suburban neighborhood.[88] Investigators were unable to identify the area depicted in the map, although it was clear that the artist also had some knowledge of architectural layout and landscape design.[95] Detective Larry Pool believes the map to be a fantasy location representing the Original Night Stalker's desired striking ground.[4]

The area depicted in the map has been identified as possibly showing the area which is today near the Livery Shopping Center in Danville. It may depict San Ramon Valley Drive and Sycamore Valley Drive.

Phone callsEdit

"I'm the East Side Rapist" call (March 18, 1977)Edit

On March 18, 1977, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office received three calls from a man claiming to be the East Area Rapist.[96]

The first two calls, received at 4:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. were identical and ended with the caller laughing and hanging up. Neither was recorded.

I'm the East Side Rapist

The final call came in at 5:00 p.m. and was not recorded either.

I'm the East Side Rapist and I have my next victim already stalked and you guys can't catch me.

The East Area Rapist would attack his #15 victim on March 18, 1977.

Phone call to police (December 2, 1977)Edit

Sometime in late 1977, a man claiming to be the East Area Rapist called the Sacramento Police to taunt them. The call was recorded and later released.[15]

You're never gonna catch me, East Area Rapist you dumb fuckers I'm gonna fuck again tonight. Careful!

"Merry Christmas" call (December 9, 1977)Edit

A previous victim received a phone call during the Christmas period of 1977. She identified the caller as the man who had previously attacked her.[6]:301

Merry Christmas, it's me again! (hangs up)

"Watt Avenue" call (December 10, 1977)Edit

Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on the night of December 10, 1977, dispatchers from the County of Sacramento's Sheriff's Department and the City of Sacramento's Police Department received calls threatening an attack on Watt Avenue (the calls were apparently recorded, and the caller was subsequently identified as the same individual who had made a call to law enforcement on December 2, threatening to commit a rape later that night; a home invasion attributed to the Original Night Stalker was in fact made several hours after that December 2 call but was aborted before a rape could occur). Law enforcement patrols were increased on the night of December 10 in response to the new round of calls.[6] Sure enough, at 2:30 a.m. December 11, sheriff's deputies spotted a masked man bicycling on the Watt Avenue bridge, but he was able to elude them. He was then located again at 4:30 a.m., this time by the city police. He discarded the bike and successfully fled on foot. The bicycle was quickly determined to have been stolen in Redding, California.[94] It is noteworthy that the "Excitement's Crave" poem is also linked with exactly the same date of this bike chase.

I am going to hit tonight. Watt Avenue. (hangs up)

"Is Ray There?" call (January 2, 1978)Edit

The very first known rape victim received a "wrong number" call on January 2, 1978. The call was recorded, and law enforcement suspect that it may be the same caller who made a threatening call to her shortly afterward.[4][6]

Victim: Hello?

Caller: Yeah, is Ray there?

Victim: Pardon?

Caller: Is Ray there?

Victim: I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number.

Caller: Sorry. (hangs up)

"Gonna Kill You" call (January 2, 1978)Edit

Later that evening, the same victim received another call, much more sinister in nature.[2] This call was also recorded and identified by the victim as being the voice of her assailant.[4][6]

Gonna kill you...gonna kill you...gonna kill you...bitch...bitch...bitch...bitch...fucking whore.

"Counseling Service" call (January 6, 1978)Edit

A volunteer for the Contact Counseling Service answered a call from a man who claimed to be the East Area Rapist.[6]:310–315[97]

Caller: (male voice) "Can you help me?"

Volunteer: "What's the problem?"

Caller: "I have a problem. I need help because I don't want to do this anymore."

Volunteer: "Do what?"

Caller: "Well, I guess I can tell you guys. You're not tracing this call are you?" The voice became violent and angry.

Volunteer: "No, we are not tracing any calls."

Caller: "I am the East Side Rapist and I feel the urge coming on to do this again. I don't want to do it, but then I do. Is there anyone there that can help me? I don't want to hurt these women or their husbands anymore" The voice was pleading, but then became violent again. "Are you tracing this call?"

Volunteer: "We are not tracing this call. Do you want a counselor?"

Caller: "No. I have been to counseling all my life. I was in Stockton State Hospital. I shouldn't tell you that. I guess I can trust you guys." Normal voice, then angry again. "Are you tracing this call?"

Volunteer: "No, we are not tracing the call."

Caller: (very angry) "I believe you are tracing this call." (hangs up)

1982 callEdit

In 1982, a previous victim who was working at a Denny's restaurant received a call at work from the rapist, during which he said he would rape her again. Contra Costa County District Attorney Paul Holes has stated that the rapist must have gone to the restaurant and recognized one of his victims working there.[98]

1991 callEdit

In 1991, a previous victim received a phone call from the perpetrator and spoke with him for one minute. She stated that she could hear a woman and children in the background, leading to suspicion that he had started a family.[3]

Final call (2001)Edit

On April 6, 2001, the day after a Sacramento Bee article was published revealing the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist to be the same person, a victim of the East Area Rapist received a call from him.[98]


June 2016 nationwide billboard campaign to locate him

Detectives connect the crimesEdit

Even prior to 2001's connection of the Original Night Stalker to the East Area Rapist, some law enforcement officials, particularly several from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, sought to link the Goleta cases separately to the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker.[99][100] These postulated links were considered primarily due to similarity in modus operandi. One of the already linked Original Night Stalker double murders did take place in Ventura, California, 40 miles southeast of Goleta, while the remaining murders took place in Orange County, California, an additional 90 miles to the southeast. In 2001, several rapes in Contra Costa County believed to have been part of the East Area Rapist series were linked by DNA to the Smith, Harrington, Whithuhn, and Cruz murders. In 2011, DNA evidence proved that the Domingo–Sanchez murders were committed by the Original Night Stalker.[6][101]

Suspects eliminatedEdit

Throughout the course of the investigation into the Original Night Stalker murders, the following persons were suspected of committing the crimes, only to be determined to not be the culprit:

  • Brett Glasby – From Goleta, California, Glasby was considered a suspect by investigators in Santa Barbara County. He was himself murdered in Mexico in 1982. Glasby's death prior to the murder of Janelle Cruz eliminates him as a suspect.[102]
  • Paul "Cornfed" Schneider – A high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. Schneider is a career criminal who was living in Orange County, California, when the murders of the Harringtons, Manuela Witthuhn, and Janelle Cruz occurred. In the late 1990s, while serving time at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California, Schneider provided a DNA sample to authorities.[103] This sample cleared him as the Original Night Stalker.[104]
  • Joe Alsip – A business partner of the victim Lyman Smith. Alsip was a friend of the Smiths and visited their home on High Point Drive in Ventura the day before the murders. Alsip's pastor claimed that he had confessed to him, during a family counseling session, but this confession was considered dubious by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. Nevertheless, Alsip was arraigned for the murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith in 1982. After the preliminary hearing, however, all charges against him were dropped.[105] He was also tested in 1997 for DNA and was cleared.[106]

It was not until 1996 when DNA testing came on-line that the murders were linked.

In November 2002, journalist Colleen Cason wrote a newspaper series about the Original Night Stalker murders for the Ventura County Star. According to Cason's articles, Detective Larry Pool of the Orange County Sheriff's Department visited California's Death Row at San Quentin State Prison in an attempt to locate the Original Night Stalker. Detective Pool suspected that the Original Night Stalker had been captured and sentenced to death for some other violent crime. Nevertheless, none of the genetic samples collected from Death Row inmates at San Quentin matched the DNA of the Original Night Stalker.[104]

Psychological profileEdit

After criminologists matched serological evidence found at the southern California murder scenes, a psychological profile of the Original Night Stalker was compiled. According to Leslie D'Ambrosia, who was the primary author of the profile, it is likely that the Original Night Stalker would possess the following characteristics:[107]

  • White male
  • Dressed well and would not stand out in upscale neighborhoods
  • Drove a well-maintained car
  • Emotional age of 26 to 30 at the time the crimes were committed
  • Engaged in deviant paraphilic behavior and brutal sex in his personal life
  • Engaged in sex with prostitutes
  • Had a criminal record as a teenager that was expunged
  • Had some knowledge of police investigative methods and evidence-gathering techniques
  • Had some means of income, but did not work in the early morning hours
  • Hated women for real or perceived wrongs
  • If married, probably has a submissive spouse who tolerated his sexually deviant behavior
  • Intelligent and articulate
  • Likely began as a voyeur in his late teens or early twenties
  • Lived and/or worked near Ventura, California, in 1980
  • Neat and well-organized in his personal life
  • Peeped into the windows of many potential victims who were not attacked
  • Possibly unmarried and did not enter into long-term relationships
  • Self-assured and confident in his abilities
  • Sexually "functional" and capable of ejaculation with consenting and non-consenting partners
  • Was a skilled and experienced cat burglar and may have begun that way
  • Was in good physical condition
  • Would appear harmless
  • Would continue committing violent crimes until incapacitated by prison, death, or some other intervention
  • Would have been described by those who knew him as arrogant, domineering, manipulative, and a chronic liar

In addition to describing the characteristics of the Original Night Stalker, the profile also speculates about the fate of the killer. According to the profile, the Original Night Stalker could have been incarcerated following Janelle Cruz's murder or killed in the commission of a similar crime. (However, the last known contact with the Original Night Stalker was in 2001 when he made a taunting phone call to one of his victims.) As to the latter point, the profile indicates that law enforcement agencies should look into attempted "hot prowl burglaries" in the late 1980s that resulted in the death of a lone male offender. The profile also indicates that there is a slight chance the Original Night Stalker committed suicide; furthermore, it is speculated that it is unlikely that he is confined in a mental institution.[107]

The profile reveals that following the original homicides in this series, teletypes were broadcast to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. These teletypes requested information on similar home invasion attacks involving sexual assault, murder, bludgeoning, multiple victims, and/or bondage. As of 2015, no similar crimes have been reported in the United States. The profile propounds the possibility, however, that the Original Night Stalker could have continued committing his crimes in another country where records were not consulted for linkage purposes.[107]

As a psychological profile is based on a probabilistic analysis, its accuracy cannot be assessed before the offender has been apprehended.

The Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist case was the motivating factor in the passage of legislation leading to the establishment of California's DNA database, which authorizes the collection of the DNA of all the accused and convicted felons in California.[108] California's DNA data retrieval and storage program is considered by researchers to be second only to Virginia's in size and effectiveness in solving cold cases.[109] While the California DNA database motivated by this case has solved numerous previously unsolved cold cases across the country, the original case remains unsolved.[110]

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department revealed that microscopic paint chips were discovered at three of the crime scenes,[111] two homicides and a rape. This suggests that the Original Night Stalker may have worked in construction possibly using a paint spray gun.[112] At one murder site there was construction work taking place nearby. The police are working with the developer to identify subcontractors working at the site and obtaining employment records.[111]

Physical descriptionEdit

The East Area Rapist was described as being a white male approximately 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall with light brown or blond hair and an athletic build. If the perpetrator is still alive, he is believed to be between the ages of 60 and 75. [47]

See alsoEdit

  • Delroy Easton Grant, a serial rapist who operated in London during the 1990s and 2000s, sometimes referred to by the British media as the "Night Stalker"
  • Richard Ramirez, a serial killer based in Los Angeles, whose murder spree in California in the mid-1980s led to him being known as the "Night Stalker"
  • Casefile True Crime Podcast - for coverage of similar serial crimes


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External linksEdit