Monday, November 2, 2015

03 - The Original Night Stalker (Part Three: Golden State Killer)

Hello again! Hope you all have been well since my last update!

I apologize for the two week delay between podcasts and the three-day delay in posting this update on the website, it was just a busy weekend. My bad. I promise to try and be more punctual in the future.

I would like to thank ALL of you for helping to make this podcast endeavor what it has been. I might have run out of steam quickly doing this much research into the exploits of a psychopath, but your comments, compliments, and suggestions on how to make the podcast better have made it all worthwhile. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

This is something that I enjoy doing, but you all have made it something I want to make a permanent part of my life. Thank you for that.

I will post the transcript from the episode in just a moment, with still contains a lot of the notes I edited out of the podcast, for one reason or another. So, this is like the "director's cut" of the podcast, with the deleted scenes still intact. Whether or not that makes it better is your call, but I'll get some of the pertinent information out before then.

If you'd like to listen to the podcast, you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or other podcast-related apps & websites. If you utilize a podcast app that doesn't have the podcast available, you can definitely let me know and I'll do what I can to get it hosted there.

If you'd like to stay in touch with me, you can most definitely do so by either:

- Email
- Facebook
- Twitter

You can even enjoy some of the music on Spotify by finding "The Unresolved Playlist" on there. It doesn't have ALL of the music I use, but it has most of it. You can find links to the songs used in this episode at the bottom of this transcript, along with other links.

Thank you all again! If you have any interest in following up with this case, I'd highly recommend that you check out the books and the websites linked below. They offer up much more information than I could ever dream of, and I'd highly recommend all of them.

Now, here's the transcript...


Imagine knowing that the criminal known as the Original Night Stalker, also called the East Area Rapist and the Golden State Killer by others, has been inside your home. 

You've been watching the news, so you recognize all of the signs. You've been getting the type of hang-up phone calls associated with this psychopathic madman, and you've been getting them for weeks. Perhaps he asks you if Ray is there, before hanging up. Maybe you noticed a door or a window ajar when getting home from work, or you've noticed some family photos have been moved around by someone other than yourself. 

So you're diligent. When you get home, you begin to check your windows for any disturbances. The East Area Rapist, as he was primarily called during this time period, was know to cut holes in window screens and unlock the windows that way. You'd likely make sure that all of your doors and windows have stayed locked, and you're more than likely going to slowly, cautiously check behind your shower curtain and any closed closet doors. 

But as you're searching your house, which is located nearby a deep gully right next to railroad tracks, the type of house that would immediately attract this serial offender, you notice something. A wedding photo has been taken out of its picture frame, and surprisingly been placed on top of a notepad inside a desk drawer. You just used the notepad yesterday, and your spouse hasn't used it in days. 

Now you're scared, but you're holding out hope that it's a simple mistake, a misunderstanding. 
Then, upon a more thorough search of the house, you find a rolled-up coil of rope hidden under a couch cushion. There's only one possible explanation for that, and it's a terrifying one. 

The Original Night Stalker has been inside your house, and he's planned on making you his next victim. 


What some may call paranoia saved a family from untold terrors on one night in December of 1978. The East Area Rapist had been active for over two years, at this point, and was now continuing his venture south from Sacramento into more centralized California. 

Following the hints given to them from the news media and the police, this family was able to find the clues that put them in the sights of one of the most violent serial offenders in human history and avoid tragedy all together. 

Unfortunately, just as everything else in this case, it didn't stop the offender from finding another family to torment. At this point in his career, the Original Night Stalker wasn't lacking for victims. 


Hello, and welcome to The Unresolved Podcast, a podcast that hopes to dive into stories that have no ending and ask questions that have no answers. This is the third episode of my look at the Original Night Stalker, and the conclusion of the story that began with a small-time criminal in Visalia and ends with one of the most terrifying serial offenders in human history. 

If you're listening to this podcast and haven't listened to the prior two parts of the story, I highly recommend that you do just that. There will be quite a few references in this episode that I'll refer to, so it'll be quite handy to have the prior two episodes fresh in your head. 

Now, it's time to get to what you're all waiting for. Part three of "The Original Night Stalker." 


July 5th, 1979 - It's just about three-thirty in the morning, on the day after a national holiday in Danville, California, when neighbors are woken up by the sound of screams. It's not usual to hear loud sounds coming from this house in particular, as the homeowners, a man named Bill and his wife, were quiet people. So it was quite the shock to hear them causing a ruckus. 

Bill and his wife, who shall remain nameless, had talked about what they would do if the East Area Rapist ever set his sights on them. While Bill would attack the masked intruder, his wife would make a break for it to try to get outside and get some neighborly assistance, or at least alert people to what was happening. At the very least, Bill would save his wife and give this pervert a thrashing. 
So on this night, Bill, a light sleeper by nature, was alerted to the sound of rustling. When he looked up, he saw a mirror's reflection of a man pulling a mask over his head. Instead of lying still and waiting to be assaulted, Bill woke up his wife by enacting the plan. He was screaming and rushing the intruder before his wife even knew what was happening, but she quickly caught on.

It was one of the first times that the East Area Rapist had met a match, and while he himself was quick to react, he hadn't planned for such an occasion. The masked intruder had nearly been bested by a bound, middle-aged mother just a year or so beforehand, and Bill now had the jump on him. Bill wasn't just bigger than the Rapist, he was much bigger. 

While the neighbors were alerted by the wife's screams for help, it was Bill's roars that gave them a cause for concern. 

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" Bill shouted at the East Area Rapist as he rushed him. "Get the fuck out of here now and you can leave!" 

The neighbors, awake and alert and likely trying to find out what was happening, didn't just sit on their laurels as so many other neighbors of victims had done. They called the cops as soon as possible, and just minutes after Bill had scared off this would-be attacker, the cops arrived with dogs to track the scent. 

The dogs followed the scent into a nearby patch of ivy, which was so potent that it caused one of the dogs to jump into it, believing the suspect was still there. It was apparently so strong in the East Area Rapist's odor that detectives believe he had been there just moments beforehand, and if it wasn't for the damp environment that led to the end of the perpetrator's trail, they might have been able to capture him.

The East Area Rapist was lucky on this fated morning, as he managed to evade capture yet again. However, if we are to believe that the East Area Rapist is the same person as the Visalia Ransacker, then this will have been the second close encounter with law enforcement that he had, and the second time he all but disappeared. 


Where we left off at the end of part two, after the murder of Brian and Katie Maggiore in early 1978, the East Area Rapist had moved south of Sacramento into other areas. While he returned to Sacramento on occasion, he began to torment other areas such as Stockton, Danville, San Jose, Fremont, Concord, and Modesto. 

His M.O. had remained the same since leaving Sacramento, but no one could argue that he was running out of steam. By this point, in July of 1979, he had assaulted nearly 50 different families, and had terrorized countless others through unknown home invasions, quick phone calls, or his notorious late-night and early-morning prowling. It's even possible that he had additional victims that refused to come forward and report their assaults, not wanting to go through the painstaking ordeals again and again. 

In 1978, police hounds had followed the scent of the East Area Rapist from a victim's house to a field, where they found a piece of ripped-out notebook paper next to tire tracks. This paper contained the angsty rant you heard in the introduction of the show, and it had seemingly been left behind by the East Area Rapist. Whether it was accidentally left behind, purposefully done so, or even belonged to the East Area Rapist himself isn't a sure thing. But after sending a poem to a local television station the previous year, which you heard in episode two of this podcast, many began to assume that this was the perpetrator's way of goading the police. Into what, we have no idea. 

The East Area Rapist would always operate under the same guideline: he would wake up a couple with a threat. He would usually be aiming a gun at them, or shining a bright flashlight in their face, and would present them with an option: to either die in bed lying next to their loved one, or comply with him and live to see another day. The East Area Rapist would often tell them that he was just there for money, and give them some melo-dramatic line about "being gone in the dark of the night", before giving the woman shoelaces that she would use to tie up her own husband. 

Oftentimes, the shoelaces came from the victim's own shoes. On rare occasions, the East Area Rapist would bring his own pre-cut sections of rope with him, or would tear strips from the family's towels. He would bind his victims, hand and foot, and blindfold them to the best of his ability. More often than not, the perpetrator would utilize a specific time of knot known as a diamond knot, which isn't very well-known to anyone outside of the nautical world. On more than one occasion, the victims would be found hours later with their hands tied so tightly that they were black due to lack of circulation. 

He would rape the women, maybe more than once, and would put stacks of dishes on the husband or boyfriend's back to make sure he didn't try to free himself. When he wasn't raping or terrifying his victims, he was walking around, more than half-crazed, tearing apart the family home but not really stealing anything. At most, he would steal the family's wedding rings or photographs, but left most things of value behind. He would eat leftover food from their refrigerator, often taking breaks to do just that or to even step outside. 

Detectives found bottles or cans of beer outside many of the crime scenes, most of the time the beer not belonging to the victim. This was a violent offender that came prepared, even for the post-game celebration that he threw himself. 

But throughout many of the assaults, the East Area Rapist had a dark side he tried to hide. As he worked his way south, many victims began to report hearing him cry in other rooms, often repeating the word "Mommy" to himself. 

When he performed the despicable act of rape itself, he oftentimes wouldn't even become aroused. Many of the victims recalled his penis as being unusually small, and even more so when he struggled to maintain an erection, which was constantly. 

And now, after his close encounter with defeat in Danville, California, the East Area Rapist moved much further south, to the Los Angeles area, where things would take a more noticeably tragic turn... 


Months after his disastrous assault on Bill and his wife in Danville, California, a couple was woken up to a flashlight in their face, and a voice urging them to "wake up." 

The date was October 2nd, and the setting was  Goleta, California, a smaller town located in Santa Barbara County. Goleta is located just two hours west of Los Angeles, and is hundreds of miles south of anywhere that our perpetrator had assaulted as of yet. 

The couple complied with the perpetrator and his demands, even when it became clear that he wasn't interested in their money. He made sure that the husband was properly tied up by the wife before binding her hands and leading her into another room. He bound her hands so tightly that it didn't just restrict blood flow, it cut it off entirely. 

Throughout this ordeal, the perpetrator kept murmuring to himself under his breath. "I'll kill 'em, I'll kill em" he kept repeating, while the poor wife laid on her own living room floor, bound and blindfolded. The perpetrator did as he always did, rummaging the house in small bursts before returning to threaten the victims some more. 

But in this case, the perpetrator's eclectic bursts of energy would almost be his undoing. 
While he walked around the house, threatening to murder the couple under his breath, the woman tried to make a break for it. Still bound and blindfolded, she hopped her way to the front door, falling into the wall once and likely alerting the attacker. She managed to open the front door and hop outside, her leg bindings falling off, and as she tried to make a run for freedom, she was screaming for her life. 

Unfortunately, her rapid momentum led her directly into an outer wall of the house, stopping her. The perpetrator would rush to grab her and take her back inside, but at this point, the damage had been done. 

The husband, bound in the bedroom, had heard the screams of his wife at the front of the house, and began desperately trying to work himself free of at least his leg bindings. He was able to do just that, and was able to crawl outside their bedroom window. 

Thankfully, this couple lived next door to an FBI Agent, who was staying up late at night to read a book. The front of his house faced this one, and when he heard some screams erupting, however muffled, it must have caught his attention. He began to dial 911 to alert the authorities, and tried to find his pistol to help out his neighbors. 

As the perpetrator dragged the wife back inside, continuing his threats, he made his way to the back bedroom where he found the couple's sliding glass door opened. The husband was gone. Unknown to the attacker, he was hiding underneath a nearby orange tree, but for all intents and purpose, he had escaped. 

The masked intruder rushed to the front of the house to find that the wife had escaped out the front door yet again. Just like the last assault in Danville, this one had failed horribly. 

The perpetrator began to make his escape, using a bicycle that detectives would later find out was stolen from a block or two away. But during this escape, the perpetrator encountered our friendly neighborhood FBI agent, who gave pursuit in his car. 

After a few blocks of evading the FBI neighbor's car, the perpetrator would abandon the bike and hop over a fence. Not wanting to face a grisly fate while climbing the fence himself, the FBI agent refrained from further chasing the suspect, knowing that the police were inbound and just moments away. 

When he returned to his house, he found the wife in his yard, naked and terrified but unharmed. The husband would later be found in the backyard, still bound at at his wrists and ankles, hiding in the same shrub he had escaped to. He, too, was unharmed, but thoroughly terrified. 

Fortunately for this couple, they had survived a terrifying assault perpetrated by our same assailant. 

Unfortunately, they would be the last couple he would ever leave alive. 

Santa Barbara detectives believed that this was just a failed B&E, seeing as there was no sexual assault and the East Area Rapist was located hours away. While the ligatures raised some suspicions, the failure and location of the assault made it appear to be a copycat, nothing more and probably nothing less. 

They would find out, months later, that their assumption was dead wrong. 


December 30th, 1979. Just days after Christmas, and a single day before New Year's Eve, the city of Goleta, California must be in the seasonal mood. The East Area Rapist seemingly hadn't assaulted anyone since July, and outside of the botched late-night robbery in early October, Goleta had been a normal town. 

Unfortunately, this would be the first time that the Original Night Stalker would leave his victims behind without the ability to recount their terror to investigators. 

Some neighbors awoke a short time after three o'clock in the morning, believing that they had heard a firecracker in the distance. It might have been so muffled and faint that it simply kicked them out of sleep, and they weren't quite sure what they had heard. 

But then it happened again, three more times, in quick succession. They still weren't sure, as it might have been some kids firing off some fireworks ahead of the New Years holiday, so they remained cautiously alert, waiting for it to happen again. Just to be sure. 

It happened once more, and hours later, these neighbors would find out the reason. 

Dr. Robert Offerman lived in the Goleta condo, and sleeping next to him was his girlfriend, Dr. Deborah Manning. Robert, along with her other friends, called her Debbie. She was technically still married, but had recently filed for divorce from her husband and had made her relationship with Robert public the week beforehand, when the two hosted a Christmas party for medical and legal professionals. 

Both details, the Christmas party and her divorce, would go on to mar with the case with relevant and irrelevant details later on. 

When their bodies were discovered, there was a white chord around Robert's wrist, but he wasn't fully bound. It was likely that, in the process of being awoken and tied up, Dr. Robert Offerman had decided to fight back for his life. Unfortunately, he had encountered this mysterious attacker when he had all but given up on mercy, and had been shot four times with a .38 pistol as a result. His body was found right as he had fallen. 

It appeared that the last, fatal gunshot was reserved for Dr. Debbi Manning herself. She was found, still-bound, and lying face-down on Dr. Offerman's bed with a single gunshot to the head. 

We can't even begin to imagine the amount of terror these two lived with in their final moments. 


What detectives found at the crime scene is eerily similar to that traits given to the East Area Rapist. Outside of the murder, this played out exactly like something from our original culprit's playbook: he attacked the victims while they were sleeping in bed, just hours after the two had been intimate. This would not only become a trend for the Southern California victims, but it had been becoming commonplace in the Sacramento-area assaults before our perpetrator disappeared. 

The attacker of these two doctors had not also turned off the condo's thermostat entirely, but had turned off all of the lights. A betting man would surmise that this attacker had some aversion to heat, and perhaps even a sensitivity to light. The East Area Rapist had been openly hostile towards heaters in the houses he attacked in Sacramento, sometimes going as far as trying to break them to turn them off, and his propensity for striking in the dark and cool of night had been commonplace. 

Some paint chips were found on the victim, which later would connect this case to theories regarding construction workers or professional painters. 

This attacker even helped himself to Dr. Offerman's Christmas leftovers, presumably after murdering the couple in bed. 

Unfortunately, this attack happened in the last days of the 1970s, when information wasn't as readily-available as it is now. While detectives nowadays might be able to piece one and two together by utilizing internet resources and streamlined communication, things weren't this way forever. 
Looking back at this crime, knowing what we do, it's easy to surmise that this was the work of the East Area Rapist, but it wasn't until 2001 that DNA would permanently link the Northern and Southern California crimes together. 

In her last minutes, Debbi had hidden the jewelry she was wearing in the crack separating the bed from the wall, so as far as Santa Barbara detectives were concerned, this was just another botched robbery. 


In the years since, detectives have tried to find a common thread connecting all of the victims. For some cases, it's a common gas station car wash. For others, it's the Alpha Beta Market, a California-based grocery store chain that many of the victims frequented, which was eventually bought out by other companies in 1995. 

But one of the links that keeps showing its ugly head in every investigation is the Original Night Stalker's connection to the medical field. Many of his Northern California victims were doctors or nurses, or had even recently been to the doctor or prescribed pharmaceuticals. And now, two more doctors were murdered in their home, just days after hosting a party for co-workers and other related professionals. 

One would almost like to see a copy of that party's guest list, just to see if any of the names pop up interest. 

In the days after the murder, noticing that not many of the condo's valuables had been taken, the investigation focused on the former-spouses of both Dr. Offerman and Dr. Manning, the former who was neck-deep in a divorce with multiple assets, and the latter which had just started the divorce proceedings. 

Of course, all investigations would lead to a dead-end, but other interesting information would arise. 
One of the nearby neighbors of Dr. Offerman's condo was a young nurse, who had just started a job at a nearby hospital. She had found twine inside her house, and when detectives searched the house, they found more instances of the same twine, hidden in plain sight that could make for our perpetrator's easy access. 

This same type of twine would be found multiple times, seemingly all over the area. It would be found inside other houses, in backyards, in garages, even in a nearby open field. Right beside the open field were footprints: footprints which matched the size and shoe type of not only the East Area Rapist, but our current attacker. 

However, an interesting note is that right beside the human footprints were that of a dog. These dog prints seemed to keep right alongside the human tracks, and made it seem as if our aggressive prowler had begun bringing his pet along with him in certain instances. 


Speaking of dogs, an interesting occurrence happened at around this point. The break-ins that can be expected from the Original Night Stalker were happening all over the area, and one family came home from an event earlier than expected. Through their living room window, they could see a dark figure moving about quickly, as if he had not anticipated being interrupted. 

They rushed inside, likely to scare him off and to alert the police, but he was already gone, having vaulted over their back fence before they even made it inside. But they would find that their family hadn't been unharmed. Not entirely. 

Their dog had suffered an injury to its eye, an injury perpetrated by the masked intruder. This was clearly an individual that wasn't interested in just raping his victims anymore. This was a terrorist that wanted to inflict as much pain as inhumanly possible. 


On March 13th, 1980, the perpetrator would strike again, this time in Ventura, California - about forty miles east, closer to Los Angeles itself. Lyman Smith was a 43-year old lawyer, a beacon of the community who was well on his way to being appointed judge. Charlene was his 33-year old wife, a beautiful younger woman that everyone adored. 

Charlene had been married twice before, and Lyman had been married once before, having a few children from that previous union. His 12-year old son, Gary, primarily lived at his mother's house, but was headed over to his father's house to do some yardwork. Lyman insisted that his children had to earn their allowance, so Gary got his by mowing lawns and weeding. 

Gary was shocked to find the front door unlocked, and to find the state of the house in such disarray, but that was nothing compared to what he was have felt when he found his father and stepmom dead in bed. 

Lyman and Charlene Smith were still bound, Lyman by Charlene's hand and Charlene with the Original Night Stalker's notorious diamond knot. A blanket had been draped over their bodies, and the nearby wall was splattered with their blood. 

This was the first time that detectives became enamored with the knot used. Known as the diamond knot, and also called the decorator's knot or the Chinese knot, it was an intricately-folded knot that very few people know how to tie. Investigators would try to find some symbolism there, as Charlene was a decorator herself and some detectives thought that there might be a connection between the two.

This time, our perpetrator had not been quick or gentle, instead choosing to beat both victims to death with a log found outside the house. And unlike the last set of victims, Charlene had been raped before her death. 

The investigation would soon turn on some of Lyman's business associates, one of which spent an entire year in jail facing trial before being exonerated. The investigators wouldn't link this crime scene to the nearby Goleta double-murder until much later, due to the presence of rape, the means of killing, and the location. It would be much, much later that the crime would be connected to the Original Night Stalker, but he was nowhere near done. 


August 19th, 1980. Dana Point is a small town in Orange County, perhaps the perfect embodiment of the Southern California beach community. Located just south of Los Angeles, it's exactly the type of place a young couple would love to build a foundation on which to comfortably spend the rest of their lives together. 

For Keith and Patti Harrington, it was just that. Keith was a 24-year old that was in his third year of med school, and was preparing to begin a medical internship that would help set him up for life. Patrice, who was called Patti by everyone in her life, was slightly older, a 27-year old registered nurse. The two had known each other for less than a year, but had gotten married just months prior, in May, and lived together in a small gated community in what most people would describe as paradise. 
The house belonged to Keith's father, Roger, a self-made man that loved his children and was more than happy to let them live there until Keith graduated later that year. 

Unfortunately, after being invited over for dinner by Patti days prior, it was Roger who found the bodies of his son and new daughter-in-law in bed, with the covers draped over them just like the prior victims. Patti had been raped, records would later state. Keith had been killed by a single blow to the head, maybe two, but Patti had been beaten with an unknown object multiple times. There was a piece of brass that would later be uncovered from the wounds on her head, and detectives assumed that the perpetrator had used a piece of brass piping from outside, where Roger had been installing a sprinkler system in his spare time. 

The bindings had been cut from the victims after their deaths, perhaps as a way for the perpetrator to hide his ties. The diamond knot had specifically been noted on the last victim, and it was possible that this was a clue to his identity that he wanted to keep hidden. 

One thing was pretty unique about this killing, in that the location itself didn't match the perpetrator's usual hunting ground. He usually picked houses located nearby ravines, creek beds, rivers, alleys, open fields... places where he could stalk his pray uninterrupted. But this house was in a gated community, and it wasn't nearby any of those things. It was if the killer wasn't interested in re-treading the same ground, and wanted to simple cause pain. 


Years later, Keith Harrington's brother, Bruce, would champion the cause of Proposition 69, now a California state law that requires all criminals to give samples of their DNA to the State of California's DNA database. He put up millions of his own dollars to the campaign in his painstaking effort to get the law passed, and it has helped ensure that killers like this never develop again. 

So, while Keith and Patti Harrington's murder remains a tragedy of the highest caliber, there was a slight sliver of good that came out of it, as Proposition 69 has become a common practice throughout the United States Justice System. 


At this point, detectives were stumped. The crimes were so spread out, and so different, that detectives were still slow on accepting that they were the works of the same serial offender. Detective Richard Shelby, now off of the East Area Rapist case, was eager to point out similarities between his perpetrator and this new Southern California murderer, but other detectives weren't as gung-ho. 

This is when the Original Night Stalker entered another one of his lull periods. This wasn't the first, and it wouldn't be the last, but it's noticeable to point out that he didn't attack again until February 6th, which is about half a year later. 


February 6th, 1981. Manuela Witthuhn was a 28-year old housewife that had been employed as a mortgage broker for the time being. Her husband, David, was in the hospital with a viral infection of sorts, so she was home alone. 

Her father had insisted that she allow the family's German Shepherd to stay at the house with her, but she refused. She felt safe in her own home, although she had a weird quirk of sleeping in a sleeping bag when she was home alone... for her, a sleeping bag meant safety. 

Little is known of how or when Manuela was found, but she was found in her sleeping bag, brutally murdered at the hands of this psychopath. Bruises were found on her wrists, which implied that she had been pretty tightly bound up, and there were other bruises found on her body, implying that the perpetrator had been rather rough and violent. 

For some reason, the attacker had tried to make this attack look like a burglary. A lamp, which might have been the murder weapon, and a valueless crystal ball had been taken, but besides that, nothing of value had been stolen. Another notable missing item was the tape from the house's answering machine, which led detectives to believe that whoever was responsible knew the victim or her husband. 

The family television was found in the backyard, perhaps in the hopes of making this look like a burglary-gone-wrong, but investigators would later look through this guise. 

Another notable find was a screwdriver, which the perpetrator had used to unlock and get through the back sliding glass door. The screwdriver was rather plain, but a brown paint stain on the handle would later go on to be a point of interest in the investigation. 

For the longest time, Manuela's husband, David, was a primary suspect in the case, although his hospital stay should have been enough to eliminate him as a suspect. In 1997, DNA would later prove that this case was connected to the Original Night Stalker, but at the time, this was just another robbery-gone-wrong. 


July 27th, 1981. It had now been nearly two years since the perpetrator struck in Goleta, beginning to slow his pace of crimes significantly. For some reason, on this night at the end of July, he decided to return to this small Southern California town. 

The crime took place not far from where the other assaults in Goleta had taken place, along the San Jose Creek. 

This night, the victims would be 35-year old Cheri Domingo and her 28-year old boyfriend, Greg Sanchez. Cheri had been staying at the house, having recently been laid off from her job at a company involved with computers, a company that Greg worked for. The house belonged to a relative of Cheri's that had recently passed away, so she had elected to stay there and help oversee the house while the real estate company tried to sell it. 

The day before the murders, a younger man had asked to see the house, and requested a tour. Detectives would later find that a screen to a window he had looked at had been removed during this tour, and it might have been one of the main components of the later breaking and entering. 
Eyewitnesses would spot a similarly-aged young man around the neighborhood the day of the murder, and more than one eyewitness saw this young man, who had longer, light hair, with a similarly light-haired German Shepherd. 

A neighbor would later recall hearing a single gunshot, but wouldn't call the police because they weren't sure of what they had heard. 

A real estate agent would come to the house the next day, and would find the dead bodies in the bedroom. Greg Sanchez, still naked from the night before, was found dead with his body halfway in the closet, as if he had been taken unawares. He had been shot once in the cheek, a non-fatal wound, and then hit in the head repeatedly until he had died. 

Cheri Domingo had been raped by this psychopath, hog-tied, and then her head had been bashed repeatedly in a similar manner. The ties had been cut off and taken away by the perpetrator after the act itself, but the markings and the scene itself made it clear what had happened. 

It wasn't until the later DNA testing happened that proved this incident was the work of the same masked intruder that had been plaguing California for the better part of five years, but now his presence was beginning to be known in Southern California. 

It was time, once again, for the Original Night Stalker to disappear. 


In perhaps the most baffling thing of the Original Night Stalker's criminal career, he disappeared for the better part of five years. He had been gone from the Sacramento area for years, at this point, and was quick on the way to becoming the thing of legend. 

Even in Southern California, with more modern crimes and a body count piling up, the Original Night Stalker's case file was starting to get cold. 

The investigation continued, but as we can look back over the past thirty years to see, nothing came of it. Suspects came and went, some more interesting than others, but they always went. 

Then, on May 4th, 1986, nearly five years after the murder of Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez, the Original Night Stalker would strike for the final time. 


Janelle Cruz was an 18-year old woman with her entire life in front of her. She was a cashier at a local pizza place, and was presumably a part of the mid-1980s culture that was all about having fun. Her parents had gone to Mexico on vacation, and despite the fact that the family house was for-sale, Janelle decided to stay behind. 

It was a Sunday night, and Janelle had had a male friend over earlier in the evening. The two of them were just friends, not dating, and while they were hanging out, they heard multiple sounds outside the home. The young male friend would later recount these details to police, but he remembered the two of them looking outside Janelle's bedroom window, but not investigating further. 

The sound might have been the gate to the backyard closing, or the door to the garage being shut. They didn't know, because they chose not to investigate beyond the bedroom window. 

Sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 that night, Janelle said goodbye to her friend, and then followed him out to her car. From there, she dropped by a local store to grab some supplies, and then she was never seen alive again. 

Just like in prior incidents, Janelle's body was found by a real estate agent the following morning. 
Blood was found in the kitchen, leading detectives to believe that the perpetrator had surprised her there, hitting her with a pipe wrench that would forever remain missing from the family garage. Then he had taken her to the bedroom, where she would be found hours later, with signs of being bound, gagged, raped, and then brutally murdered. 

The Cruz family home was no more than a mile away from where Manuela Witthuhn had been murdered years previously, so it was located right in the Original Night Stalker's Southern California hunting grounds. But it wasn't until DNA testing, years later, that this case would be attributed to the same psychopathic killer. The time between the crimes was just too vast, too unexplainable. 

From here on out, everything about the Original Night Stalker is purely hypothetical, gossip built upon theories, old evidence, and presumptions. 


No one knows why the Original Night Stalker did the things he did, or why he chose to wait five years in between his string of murders and the final senseless murder of Jonelle Cruz. Many have theorized that he was in prison for unrelated offenses, or that he might have been in the military, gone from the area for the duration of the early 1980s. For all we know, he was a contractor of sorts with a family, that spent the early 1980s helping raise his children and couldn't sacrifice large chunks of his evenings to stalking and prowling other young couples. 

Out of all of the cases, over fifty of them, there are connections to be made. But over he past 40 years, the most experienced detectives and investigators have struggled to make sense of it all. Was this unknown attacker a construction worker, as surmised by some of the evidence left behind? Was he a doctor, or somehow involved in the medical field with ties to many of the victims? Was he a military member, as that would help explain his physical abilities and the location of the crimes? Was he involved in education, seeing as many of his victims were either teachers, educators, or younger students? Was he a real estate agent, which would help explain why so many of the victims houses were, or lived next to houses that were, for sale. We honestly just don't know, and that's what's so terrifying about this killer. For someone that relied on a large amount of luck to remain unknown, this killer has evaded some of the best detectives in the world for a lifetime. 

Even his identity in the pantheon of California serial killers was unknown. It wasn't until the late 1990s and early 2000s that DNA linked together many of the cases, decades after the assaults had taken place. In Sacramento, the legend of the East Area Rapist still loomed large after the years of terror placed on innocent citizens, but in Southern California, these seemed to be largely unrelated murders that occurred in the golden age of the serial killer. Even the name of this unknown assailant was derived years later, when compared to the more well-known serial killer Richard Ramirez. Investigators and journalists realized that this criminal had the M.O. perfected years before Ramirez himself turned to a life of violent crime, thus making him the ORIGINAL Night Stalker. 

We don't know how many total victims this suspect created, because unfortunately, most of his victims never knew he existed. He operated in the shadows of society, striking whenever his victims were away or asleep, lurking just outside or even inside their homes. To him, anywhere was available for him to creep, and he seemed to relish feeling the intimacy of another's home. It's very possible that this unknown assailant has a collection of trophies taken from his years as a criminal: a large assortment of wedding rings, lost family photographs, murder weapons, small mementos or tokens taken from homes. 


It would be nice to say that there are positive updates to be made, but despite the hard work being done by detectives to this day, there isn't much progress that can be accounted for. This case has become one for the ages, and despite many suspects that fit the bill, including a fellow known as "Carlos" to Detective Richard Shelby and others, none have been arrested in connection to the rapes and murders. 

As I've stated multiple times during this podcast, DNA has gone on to connect all of the Northern California sexual assaults to the Southern California murders. Until the DNA proved it, the separates cases were linked together only in motive and detective guesswork. But now we know for a fact that the cases are connected by the same perpetrator. 

In 2004, Proposition 69 was passed by one of the victim's brothers, who wanted to ensure that things like this could never happen again. Now, criminals are required to give up DNA to the state database. 

On September 21st, 2015, the United State Air Force Office of Special Investigations, also known as the AFOSI, announced that it was still looking into the murder of Brian and Katie Maggiore. While this was bitter news for people hoping for a happy ending, it just shows that while the crimes may have been committed a generation ago, the authorities are restless in trying to find justice for those taken too soon. While many believe that the perpetrator may be dead or long-gone, authorities believe that they will find the perpetrator any day now. 

Detectives have never given up on this case, and it remains one of California's most notorious unsolved mysteries. Despite the little-known nature of the Original Night Stalker, the case has remained in the public's eye not only because of the published works of Detectives Larry Crompton and Richard Shelby, but also because of a strong internet presence and the reporting of the LA Times Michelle McNamara. 

If you would like to learn more about the Original Night Stalker, you can do so by joining the EAR/ONS Proboard online. This remains one of the most vibrant, active communities of people discussing the case, evidence, and theories. 

You can also check out the Questerfiles online, a large, ever-growing case file online archived by one man who has arguably done more for the publicity of the case than anyone else. 

You can definitely learn more detail by checking out the published works of two of the original detectives, Larry Crompton and Richard Shelby. Both of their books, "Sudden Terror" and "Hunting a Psychopath," respectively, give great detail about each case and really give you a good idea about how the investigation itself unfolded. Michelle McNamara is penning an upcoming book about the subject, in which she is going to attempt to rebrand the killer with the monikker of "The Golden State Killer." Be sure to be on the lookout for that, as it's undoubtedly going to be a treasure trove of information. 

And lastly, if you have any information about the case, please contact the authorities. This is a still one of the largest open cases in America, so any information that could lead to the arrest of the culprit is of the utmost priority. 


While a part of me is sad that my look at the Original Night Stalker is coming to an end, a much larger part of me is glad that it's done. While there was a nice gap between episode two and this one, I can assure you that the research and the nights spent listening for any sound outside my window didn't stop. 

I make no claim to be the utmost authority on the Original Night Stalker, so I merely hope that you enjoyed this story and continue the investigation on your own. I may have flubbed up some of the facts, and definitely messed up on some of the smaller details, so I hope that you take it among yourselves to help stay involved and find this guy responsible for so much terror. I know I will. 
I would really like to thank all of you, not only for taking the time out of your day to listen to my boring voice, but for the kind words, the compliments, the advice, and the support. I'm definitely working on making this podcast better with each passing day, so they're not falling on deaf ears, I can promise you that. 

I would also like to thank all of the sources of information that unknowingly contributed to this episode, and I'll be linking to all of those on the podcast website, You can find the links, along with a transcipt of the show and audio links, there as well. 

Speaking of audio, I would like to really thank all of the musical artists that have contributed music to this show. Among them is the artist Ailsa Traves, who created the song you're hearing now SPECIFICALLY for this podcast. That is such a huge honor for me, so thank you so much Ailsa, and all of you others. 

I haven't decided what topic is to come next, but I hope that it will be just as engrossing and unique as this one. I wasn't planning on making a three-part podcast epic for my first ever story, so the next might be slightly smaller in scope. If only for my mental well-being. 

Thank you all, yet again. I hope you all have a Happy Halloween, because I know I need a drink or two now. Adios. 


Music Links

Scott Holmes - "Everest" - Intro

Pulse Emitter - "Nebula"

Joao Picoito - "Third Floor"

Kai Engel - "Touch The Darkness"

The Gateless Gate - "Melnibone"

Graham Bole - "Sunset At Goat Fell"


Alexandre Nevarro - "Forme De Vie"

Forlon - "Roembden Crater"

Ailsa Traves - "Unresolved" (written for THIS podcast... LOVE IT)

The Music Plays You - "Sailing" (Outro)

Audio Links

Gunshot SFX

Nighttime Ambiance

Book Links

"Hunting A Psychopath: The East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker Investigation - The Original Investigator Speaks Out" by Richard Shelby

"Sudden Terror" by Larry Crompton

"Hot Prowl" by Jack Gray

Internet Resources

Questerfiles (great information about each case)

EAR/ONS/GSK Proboard (a great treasure trove of info, theories, evidence, etc.)


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