Sunday, October 18, 2015

02 - The Original Night Stalker (Part Two: Original Night Stalker)

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Thanks again! So here's the transcript:


Hello, and welcome to the Unresolved Podcast. I'm your host, Micheal Whelan, and this episode is part two of the ongoing story about the Original Night Stalker. Before I get started, I would highly recommend that everyone who hasn't listened to the first podcast go back and listen to that. This isn't a very confusing story, but there's a lot of information in the first episode that will be relevant to this part of the story, so I'd highly recommend listening to them in order. 

I'm about to jump into what you're here for, the continuation of how the East Area Rapist became the Original Night Stalker and a part of California's urban lore, but before I get started, I just wanted to thank you. All of you, for the massive wave of support I was shown after the release of the first episode. I fully expected this podcast to reach a couple of dozen people at most, but I guess that there are a LOT more of you that are interested in the same, weird, dark, creepy stories that I am. 
Thank you all, again. Now, here we go, into part two of the Original Night Stalker...


We left off near the end of 1976, and the East Area Rapist had been born. The cat was out of the bag, and now the Sacramento area was painfully aware of it. 

Eight victims had been accounted for. Seven of them horribly raped, victims at the hand of this insane, methodical psychopath. However, now that the case was beginning to get heavily publicized in the local news, that wouldn't deter this psychopath in the slightest. 

He attacked again, on November 10th, 1976, this time attacking a high school girl that was home alone. He had assaulted and bound her, and grew irate with her upon asking her a rather simple question. He said that she looked familiar, and asked if she went to the nearby American River College. She said no, that she was still in high school, and the perpetrator seemed to not believe her. Investigators aren't sure whether this was a moment of clarity for the attacker or him trying to confuse them yet again, but he seemed to abandon the attack after learning this. 

Investigators later learned that the victim's family had lived next door to a similar family, whose older daughter greatly resembled the victim. This daughter *had* gone to American River College, unlike the victim. This began to fuel the belief that this perpetrator would stake out multiple houses at a time, likely striking at one when opportunity presented itself. It's possible that the East Area Rapist was beginning to confuse his crimes, but the confusion would not last long. 

At around this time, after the case had gone public, the investigators began to link the investigation to the medical field. At this time, the rate of doctors-per-civilians was rather low, making the medical field not a very common theme. But this early into the investigation, there had been four links to the medical field surrounding our nine victims. One victim's family had a doctor, one had an RB, one of the victims was pregnant, and another lived next door to a doctor. In the latter case, with the victim living next door to the doctor, investigators found footprints leading around the neighbor's house, which fed into the theory that the East Area Rapist was staking out multiple houses at a time. 

This, of course, also isn't including that many of the victims had "accidental injuries," which investigators used as fuel for this theory's fire. Many of the victim's suffered small cuts from the perpetrator's knife, and he often traced his knife along their abdomen in a similar fashion as morticians. He would never purposefully maim these women, but investigators saw a link between his already-violent actions and these pseudo-sadistic "accidental injuries." 

Needless to say, having nearly half of your current assaults linked to one profession isn't something an investigator is going to pass up easily. 

At around this time, the 7th victim, whose story I recounted in the introduction of the first episode, found an odd piece of potential evidence. A spoon, found underneath the couch in her living room. Many would try and reasonably rebut this as a silly piece of evidence, but it leads us straight into our first real suspect. 


Investigators had released a BOLO alert, also known as a "Be On The Lookout" alert. The BOLO alert was for someone of the similar dimensions to the East Area Rapist: five-foot-nine, 170 pounds, young, with blue eyes and either blonde or brown hair. One of the suspects brought back was a man named Art Pinkton, who matched the description nearly to a 'T.' He was a bit older than the perpetrator had been described as, but that didn't stop investigators from being astonished at the likelihood of this being their serial rapist. 

Pinkton was found with a serrated steak knife, a seperate pocket knife, three screwdrivers, a round file, two rocks, a business card for a psychiatric social worker and... oh yeah, a spoon in his pocket. This was too unlikely a coincidence for investigators to overlook, so he was brought in and investigated further. They discovered that Pinkton had been arrested about ten years prior for a series of rape charges. Ever since his release from prison, he had been classified as a mentally-disoriented sex offender, and hadn't been able to get a job due to his societal status. Investigators reasoned that this gave him plenty of time to pursue the type of stalking that the East Area Rapist was known for. 

Obviously, Pinkton denied all involvement in the assaults. But, peculiarly, his family didn't feel the same. One of his sisters, along with her husband, came forward to investigators with potential evidence. They told of how Pinkton was obviously mentally unbalanced, and how he had spoken of his desires to kill someone in the past. Apparently, according to these distressed family members, he had gone as far as lying in wait with a gun for a chosen woman to walk by, but she had decided to do something different that day, saving her own life. 

Pinkton's sister offered up his tool box up to investigators, hoping that some evidence could be found and her brother could be helped. Unfortunately, there was nothing in his tool box linking him to any crimes, just old, half-rusted tools. Pinkton was released, due to lack of evidence. 

Lead investigator Richard Shelby, the author of "Hunting A Psychopath," one of the best books on the subject of the East Area Rapist, personally linked Pinkton within two city blocks of two separate rapes in San Diego, both of which matched the M.O. of the East Area Rapist. But there was no evidence or reason for him to keep Pinkton locked up, so he had to release him. 

Police officers, who were staking out Pinkton's house for any sign of activity, had reported and seen nothing on the night the East Area Rapist struck again, seemingly eliminating him as a suspect. He would move away from the area a little while later, further proof against him. 

Years later, after DNA testing became commonplace, Pinkton's DNA was matched up against that supposedly left behind by the East Area Rapist, to no match. Investigators became comfortable knowing that they hadn't let the perpetrator slip away, but Pinkton found himself in trouble just a few years ago for the death of his own brother. 


With the serious lack of other suspects, the upper police brass became desperate to appease the public with an arrest or a track on a supposed suspect. Despite some of the lead investigator's resistence, a correlation was made between our perpetrator, the East Area Rapist, and another similar serial offender known as the Early Bird Rapist. Both had been plagueing the Sacramento area, but had completely different M.O.'s and almost an antithetical physical description. 

The East Area Rapist was described as lean and fit, whereas the Early Bird Rapist was not so, more round and not fit in the slightest. 

The police brass decided to pursue the two as the same, leading to a slight bungling of the early investigation. We don't know how many potential suspects were let go or eliminated because they didn't match the physical description of the Early Bird Rapist, which DNA would prove as an entirely separate case years later. 


The perpetrator would strike again on December 18th, at yet another high-school aged girl that had been left home alone. And just like the prior assault, this victim lived next to an older, similar-looking girl. The perpetrator would ask many times when her parents were expecting back, implying that he had been watching the house for quite a while. 

Everything seemingly went by-the-book for this perpetrator here. But found at the scene was a band-aid, which didn't belong to the victim or the victim's family. This band-aid had a small amount of blood found, identified as type-O, which later would go on to be a source of confusion for the investigation. 


At around this time, the police decided to hold a public forum to address the public about their understably-serious concerns. Many of the nearby citizens came out, and were addressed by the investigators in charge of the case. 

This public forum has become the linchpin of the East Area Rapist myth, to many. So many rumors have been thrown out about it, that the East Area Rapist attacked one of the citizen dissidents the very next night, and that a potential suspect can be spotted in a theorized photo from the forum. I haven't found anything to substantiate these rumors, although they DO have some basis in reality. 

The fact is, a man with a thick Italian accent did stand  up and berate the police force for their ineffectiveness and their inability to find the perpetrator. Many of the myths regarding the East Area Rapist claim that the man, in a primal act, puffed out his chest and declared that he would never allow such a terrifying thing to happen to his wife. I cannot claim that this is truth, and it seems to be a thing of fiction, dramatized by somebody somewhere. 

Another rumor persists that this Italian native and his wife were attacked a day later, in a power move perpetrated by the East Area Rapist. That is a myth. Him and his wife were attacked, but it didn't happen for nearly seven months. 

The Original Night Stalker was anything if not patient. 


Another interesting note can be learned from the public forum. Investigator Richard Shelby, one of the lead detectives, had made a note of officers to search after anything interesting. Even at this point, in early 1977, it was common practice for criminals to revisit their crime scenes and taunt investigators. It wasn't too far-fetched for Shelby and the other investigators to stake out the public forum in hopes that it would attract the rapist himself. 

One of the police officers pulled over a tan Volkswagon Bug. The reason that the officer was so interested in the driver was because of their physical nature: they stood a five-foot-nine, about 175 pounds, and had dark with greenish hazel eyes. Upon further investigation, Shelby and the detectives discovered that he was an employee of the Department of Justice, in some capacity. He wasn't able to be arrested, due to the innocent nature of his presence there, but the presence of such a suspect can't be overlooked. 


Many theories have persisted that the East Area Rapist was present at the night of the public forum, but incredibly, they can't be discounted. 

1977 had officially started, and he attacked again on January 19th and January 24th. This was shortly after the public forum, in which many had been aware of what, exactly, the investigators had been looking for. During the public forum, the investigators told the public that the perpetrator had been using an icepick in his assaults, despite later recanting that information. 

However in these assaults, timed right after the public forum, the perpetrator began using an icepick as a weapon. Many find it more than a coincidence, and a likely reminder that the East Area Rapist was presence at the town meeting. 


The police force began a specific task force aimed at catching this serial offender. In addition to a handful of detectives focused primarily on identifying and finding this attacker, there were an equal amount of "X-Ray Units," plaincloths officers that would prowl the area of the assaults at night. They would utilize the same tactics as the East Area Rapist, by marching around the same type of areas, climbing through trees and shrouded areas, etc. They found many suspects, likely deterring other similar crimes, but were unsuccessful in catching the man they were looking for. 

This podcast is really a slippery slope. I try not to inject too many of my opinions in the matter, because I would love for this to be a fact-based analysis of the story not judged by my emotion. But this is a case that's hard to narrate chronologically, because there is so much information that can be gleamed throughout each case. And, because there are so many incidences that happened, I don't want the podcast to get bogged down with case files and irrelevant details. 

Needless to say, the East Area Rapist continued on his tear throughout 1977. He would strike again on February 7th, against an unsuspecting mother. This mother was one of the bold that fought back, perhaps for fear that something would happen to her young daughter in the very next room. She nearly freed herself and won over the assailant, even going as far as taunting him for his less-than-impressive man parts afterwards. Detective Richard Shelby would later write in his book that this woman was a personal hero to him, and still is. Can't blame him, really... this woman sounds like an absolute badass in the face of such horror.

He struck again on March 8th. He was now attacking his victims at an unrelenting pace, on victim number 14 in just a matter of months. This time it was a 37-year woman that was woken up at around 3:00 AM with a bright flashlight in her face. This was becoming a hallmark of the East Area Rapist... he would wake up his victims with the intimidating, confusing glow of a handheld flashlight, and begin the threats before they even had the chance to come to their senses. 

It wasn't two weeks later, on March 18th, that he would strike at a 16-year old that was arriving home from her job at Kentucky Fried Chicken. At this point, it was becoming apparent that the perpetrator didn't care for the victim's age, ethnicity, or health. He was attacking women in their early 40s just as often as he was assaulting teenage girls. Our perpetrator wouldn't even care if they were pregnant, as had been the case in a few of this incidences. 

However, it was two weeks later that the East Area Rapist would take the next step into sadism. 


April 2nd, 1977. It's 2:30 AM, and a woman is awoken to the shaky, bright blur of a flashlight in her face. Before she can jump up, a voice speaks down to her in gritted teeth. 

"Don't make a sound," he says. "Do you see this gun?"

She can't, but that doesn't stop her from saying "yes." No one in this situation, outside of a fictional action hero, would say otherwise. 

The perpetrator orders her to wake up her boyfriend, who is asleep next to her. The boyfriend wakes up in a start, but the perpetrator shines the flashlight in his face now. He commands the woman to tie up her boyfriend, and shows her some shoelaces that have been laid out ahead of time. 

She follows through with the demands, tying up her own boyfriend to the perpetrator's satisfaction. The perpetrator, wearing the atypical outfit of a ski mask with a dark jacket and dark pants, demands through gritted teeth to know where their money is, or else he's going to kill them like he did a family in Bakersfield. 

The two victims are obviously worried about making it out of this situation alive, but none more so than the woman. Unlike the boyfriend, she has two kids sleeping in nearby bedrooms... a son and a daughter, both under ten years old. 

The perpetrator takes the boyfriend's wallet and leads the woman into the living room, telling the two that he doesn't trust them to be in the same room. The boyfriend considers trying to free himself, but the perpetrator comes back into the bedroom with an impromptu failsafe. He brings with him dishes, which he decides to stack atop the boyfriend's back while he begins his ransack of the house. 
If the boyfriend tries to move, almost at all, the dishes come straight off of his back and onto the floor, a loud enough noise to alert the perpetrator from rooms away. 

The perpetrator does the same thing to the woman while he searches the house, stopping multiple times to untie her and rape her. In-between the random looting and sexual assault, the perpetrator decides to indulge in the family's kitchen leftovers, matching what we've heard of the East Area Rapist before. He would come back and put some of her high heels on her before continuing, almost at random. 

It's worth noting, at this point, that the suspect had been robbed months beforehand, of what we cannot say. During this attack, the family poodle, a breed of dog already notorious for being poor guarddogs, did almost nothing. It didn't even bark. Many have attributed this to the East Area Rapist scoping out the house beforehand and becoming "known" to the dogs. This wouldn't be the last time this point would be addressed. 

After the hours of torment and abuse, the rapist had left, but it goes without saying that these two victims had been traumatized beyond belief. But at this point, it was quite obvious that our criminal was not only learning from his mistakes, but he was escalating at a truly relentless pace. 


The investigators began to learn more about the motives of the East Area Rapist throughout this time, but he was still an enigma to them. Psychologists had narrowed down the possible job descriptions to including utility employees, as many of the eyewitnesses to the criminal had seen him checking meters in neighborhood houses days, if not weeks, in advance. 

The psychologists were narrowing down the description of the killer even further, including the likelihood that he would live 10-15 miles from where the crimes took place, and would most likely bike to work every day. Funnily enough, the investigation squad working under Richard Shelby found a likely suspect who completely fit the description. 

This man had once worked for the city of Visalia, living just outside of town. He biked to work constantly, and had for years. Two days after the Visalia Ransacker was nearly caught by Detective McGowan, before shooting out the officer's flashlight, this utility employee filed for a transfer. Where to, you may ask? A suburb just outside of Sacramento, about 10 to 15 miles away from where most the crimes were centered. 

Detective Shelby & Co. investigated the man, taking Detective McGowen with them to question the suspect. Neither could come up with any definitive proof on the suspect, eventually eliminating him because of his physical proportions... the East Area Rapist was described as thin and athletic, whereas this man was not. He biked to work every day, that much was certain, from his gigantic, tree-trunk legs, Shelby notes in his book, but he was most definitely not the man they were looking for. 
However, this type of coincidence can't be overlooked. In a case that is frought with "what ifs," this man remains one of the biggest, at least in my eyes.


The identity of the East Area Rapist eluded all of the detectives working on the case. Neighborhood eyewitnesses were reporting strange dealings in the days leading up to assaults, noticing a trend of sightings that would plague a neighborhood. People described a man running from the area of the crime just minutes afterwards, or of normal, foreign-looking cars driving around the neighborhood constantly in recent weeks. 

One of the many deterrents to finding the criminal was the overall description of him. A vast majority of the sightings had the basics down: he stood about 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, with either blue or hazel green eyes, and normal-looking features. All of the victims even reported that he was in-shape, lean, very young, and most likely shaved his legs, as they would be very brittle during the sexual assaults, similar to a man's face just days after shaving. 

But one of the things that drove investigators crazy was the unreliability of the suspect's hair color. Many spotted a victim with dark brown hair, and others would report a man with light brown hair. Many said he was blonde, but a few later cases would even report a young man with odd-looking gray hair. A few of the investigators began to realize that this suspect, who most likely had a constant amount of supplies at his disposal, was probably using an assortment of wigs to confuse possible descriptors. 

It apparently worked, because he was never caught and the East Area Rapist was nowhere near finished with his spree of terror. 


The East Area Rapist, now bored with attacking single women, began to set his sights on couples. He would attack another couple on April 15th, in an almost identical manner to the one before. Then again on May 3rd. And again, just two days later, on May 5th, to a pair of friends that weren't even a couple. 

One of the couples consisted of a man and a woman who worked at a pharmay together, and another had just gone through a dental procedure and was taking a generic brand of codeine for the pain. The perpetrator identified the off-brand drug name, and demanded to know where the victim's codeine was. This indicated that he was knowledgeable in pharmaceuticals, and furthered cemented the theory that he was related to the medical field. 

The perpetrator continued to strike. He attacked a couple on May 14th. And then on May 17th. And again on May 28th. 

During the last two, he began to give larger, broader threats. He threatened to start killing people if he saw news of the attack on TV or in the newspaper. He demanded for the victims to tell the "pigs" - presumably the cops - that he was serious. 

Of course, they wouldn't have to. The East Area Rapist would tell them himself. 


That phone call was just one of many that the East Area Rapist made to law enforcement in the year after he started his attacks. By that point, in December, the East Area Rapist had become an urban myth, growing to infamous proportions in the Sacramento area within just over a year. 

After the incredibly frequent attacks in May, the East Area Rapist had disappeared for a few months. The investigation continued, with the police zeroing in on many different suspects that included a local preacher with shady character flaws and a local Air Force brat with enough anger and mental issues issues to put him on a watchlist for future crimes, to say the least. But they had no success. As is with every lead in this investigation, it eventually turned up empty. 

Sacramento began to breathe a sigh of relief, hoping that the criminal had eased away for at least the time being. But their peace was short-lived, as the East Area Rapist came back in full force in September, attacking yet another couple. This time, however, he attacked not inside the confines of Sacramento, but about an hour south in Stockton, California. He wouldn't make this a habit, moving back to Sacramento just a few weeks later. 

Several things continued to repeat themselves. Dogs would refuse to bark at this masked intruder. The perpetrator would often be considered foul-smelling, with several of the victims indicating that he either had strong body odor or incredibly bad breath. Also, his small penis was noted again and again.

One of the things that began to get noticed was the perpetrator's abhorrence of heat. In many of the houses, the East Area Rapist would either turn off the heater or try to dismantle it entirely. Investigators didn't think much of it at the time, but when it's taken into account alongside his frequent breaks to step outside or go to the fridge, it's likely that he had some physical aversion to heat or even maybe an illness that plagued him. Taking us back to the bloodhounds from the first episode, that identified either a drug dealer or a physically sick person, it's beginning to look like our suspect was suffering from something. Of what, we have no idea, but it would help explain his absences throughout his criminal career. 

Investigators began to notice something else entirely: very rarely did the suspect ejaculate. These most likely weren't rapes of a sexual nature, and this swung the case fully into the sadist camp of thinking. The perpetrator wasn't utilizing these crimes for his own perverted desires, but most likely in an effort to cause these victims pain. This would also explain the taunting phone calls placed weeks, months, and years later. Many of the local newspapers began to run with the theme that, because the perpetrator wasn't usually interested in his victims sexually, that he was likely a closeted homosexual. 

During the attack on October 1st, back in the La Riviera and Rancho Cordova area of Sacramento, the East Area Rapist woke up a pair of young lovers. The couple had a shotgun leaning against a nearby wall, and the Rapist tried to goad the young man, just 21 years old, into going for it. He was challenging his victims and taunting them at the same time, because investigators later found that the bullets from the shotgun had been taken out ahead of time and lined up underneath the bed. 
The East Area Rapist was now breaking into homes and dismantling the defense systems these couples had in place to protect themselves. He knew what he was doing, and he was trying to emotionally torment these victims in addition to the physical torture. 

He would attack couples again on October 21st and 29th, with the same M.O. Then he attacked an elder mother and her teenage daughter on November 10th, but both victims insisted that no rape had taken place. On December 2nd, he attacked a sleeping mother just minutes after her husband had left to go hang out with some friends. 

1978 began, and he would until January 28th to attack his next victims, a pair of teenage girls that were home alone for a few hours that night.

Things were going just as the East Area Rapist had likely imagined. But the water of the investigation would get a little murkier just a few days later. 



It's February 2nd, 1978, at around 9:00 in the evening. A pair of gunshots break the cold silence of the night, alerting this friendly neighborhood to danger. 

Then, a woman's screaming. It's not coming from a house, from from outside. A backyard, in a  neighborhood of Rancho Cordova, where the majority of the East Area's Rapist strikes have been occurring. 

Some brave, concerned dare to look. At least one or two rushes to the phone to call 911, but are interrupted just a moment later. 


Brian and Katie Maggiore were a young couple living in Rancho Cordova in the early months of 1978, having both moved there just months prior. Brian was a sergeant in the Air Force, having been previously stationed in Alaska. He and Katie were both alumni of Fresno High School, presumably high school sweethearts. 

Brian was just 21 at the time he was shot and killed, and Katie was 20 when she died, just moments later. 

The two had been married for a little over two years, and had been living at an apartment in Rancho Cordova for mere months. Katie had been living in Fresno while Brian was stationed up in Alaska, so the two were probably excited to be together. They had a small dog named Thumper, whom the two were walking on this fate-filled evening of February 2nd. 

Very little is known of how or why these two love-birds were singled out by this shooter. One of the main stories repeated over and over again is that their dog, Thumper, likely a little poodle of sorts, somehow slipped loose and took a run into a neighboring backyard. The two gave pursuit of their small dog, according to this story, and ended up in the wrong backyard. 

It's possible that they stumbled upon a secret of sorts: maybe they encountered our Rapist as he was unmasked and stalking another house. Perhaps they knew who he was, and could identify him as one of their many neighbors. Many lean on this being a part of this shooting, because the East Area Rapist hadn't killed anyone as of yet, and the shooting didn't match his modus operandi in the slightest. 
However, we do know for a fact that somehow, Brian and Katie ended up coming across a shooter, who chased them through a couple of backyards before catching up to them and killing both. 


To this day, the murder of Katie and Brian Maggiore has only been linked to the East Area Rapist, but not confirmed. The only evidence found was a small pair of ligatures found near the scene... ligatures similar to those that the East Area Rapist brought with him to his crimes. A nearby neighbor had nearly avoided becoming a third victim, when one of the stray bullets came in through his living room window and missed him by inches. 

A couple of witnesses recalled seeing a suspect similar to the East Area Rapist fleeing the scene of the crime. But this suspect was taller, standing well-over six feet, and had been wearing cowboy boots and a leather jacket, items never before associated with the Rapist. 

Another suspect had been spotted hours prior, with this one much more resembling the East Area Rapist. He stood the proper height and wore the traditional blue ski jacket associated with the Night Stalker. But this suspect had been seen with a small mustache, and the Rapist had never been spotted with facial hair during any of his crimes. 

This is when the investigators began to believe that there was either an opportunist in the area, or it was likely that the East Area Rapist had an accomplice. 


By this time, in 1978, police were used to the idea of copycats trying to pass off their crimes as East Area Rapists crimes. They presumed that they'd get away with their crimes, but relied on the media for their information and often got important details wrong that led to their capture. 

However, during one case of the East Area Rapist breaking in and terrorizing a young couple, they had reported hearing a car honking multiple times outside, on the street. On more than one occasion, this led to the Rapist taking a break and stepping outside for a moment or two. They even reported hearing the doorbell ring a few times in quick succession, leading to another break from the rapist. 
Investigators didn't know what to do with that information at the time, but now with two suspects alleged in the Maggiore murders, they began to seriously debate the prospect of the East Area Rapist having an accomplice. 

It wouldn't explain WHY the crimes were committed, but it would help them to explain the HOW. 


The police had long been investigating how the East Area Rapist was able to cover so much ground. They had long suspected that he scoped out most of his targets during the day, using a disguise or a job to pose as a friendly, neighborhood worker. 

Many of the houses he struck were located nearby other houses that were for sale, leading to a thought that he was involved in real estate. But then that idea quickly spiraled into another, that he would scope out the empty houses that were for sale first, learning to see what kinds of windows the nearby houses had in common, the types of locks, the floorplans, escape routes, etc. 

Quite a few of the houses in the area were also under construction, or were having some type of work done. At more than one of the East Area Rapist's crime scenes, they found paint marks, which implied that the perpetrator might have been involved in construction or painting. Paired up with the knowledge that he often had strong body odor and was physically fit, it seems to be a pretty solid theory. 

But another theory came from the victims themselves, after the crimes had been committed. We already know that in the weeks leading up to the assaults, the victims would get phone calls from the perpetrator. Only occasionally would he actually talk to the victims, often in quick, veiled threats before hanging up himself. He would usually call his victims afterwards, taunting them, and the police would try and "trap" the phone, so that they could trace the call. But almost every single time, after successfully trapping the phone, the calls would stop. 

A few of the victims reported that, after they had been assaulted, they would try and make calls but the line would go dead. This was back in the day when homes still had land lines, so they would call out the phone company to repair it, only to have the same results, regardless of the phone. Even when they would change their number, the problems would persist. 

On one occasion, the victim had been getting hang-up phone calls in the weeks leading up to her assault. Just two days before her assault, she had the phone number changed, but that didn't stop the caller. She found it likely that the perpetrator worked for the phone company, and had access to the phone numbers of the victims. 

Police began to get worried, because none of their ideas were working. Despite nearly coming across the Rapist multiple times, none of their tricks were working. While many would theorize this as the East Area Rapist being a cop himself, or having access to the police, Detective Richard Shelby notes that it's probably more likely that the suspect had a police radio on him, and could overhear whenever the police were planning on trying to trick or capture him.


The East Area Rapist, at this point, was becoming the thing of nightmares. He now had upwards of thirty victims, not including their families he had terrorized in the process. And while he was still called the East Area Rapist by the area of Sacramento, he would soon set his sights elsewhere. After the murder of the Maggiore family, the East Area Rapist all but disappeared from the Sacramento area, returning at random intervals over the next few years.

For now, the East Area Rapist turned his attention south, focusing on cities like Danville, Fremont, Concord, and San Jose. It would still be some time before he moved down to the Los Angeles area, but he would slowly start to make his way there. 

For all of the atrocities committed by this assailant thus far, the worst chapters were yet to come. 


So here we are, after another chapter of the Original Night Stalker saga. I'll admit, this episode was a LOT harder to put together than the first, so I hope that it made sense to all of you and that it was enjoyable in a way that only true crime podcasts can be. 

As I said in the intro of the show, I want to thank all of you again for the support. Just by listening to this, you're doing me a huge compliment, and I can't thank you enough. If you've made it this far, I appreciate the time you've sunk into this little project of mine. 

I hope to have the rest of the Original Night Stalker story completed in the next episode, part three, but we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping to have an interview or two featured, so this podcast that original started as a single episode, only to be turned into a trilogy, might soon become a quadrilogy when all is said and done. Oh well... still a better love story than Twilight. 

If you've enjoyed the podcast and want to stay in touch, you can contact me in many ways. You can like us on Twitter, @UnresolvedP... I still haven't gotten over the hilarious of that Twitter handle, but it's become kind-of endearing to me. We're also on Facebook, at If you're old school, you can even send us an email at No spaces, dashes, or whatnot. You can also find a transcript of the show up on our website,, and I'll be posting links to all of the songs, videos, audio links, websites, books, and other sources I utilized during this show. 

I won't presume to know how you're listening to this, but you can find us on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Stitcher. That way, if your friends ask, you can tell them. 

If you have any information about this case, or any questions or comments, please don't feel shy. The main reason I like to tell these stories is that I naturally enjoy telling stories, but if these can do anything to help the crime be solved, I'd love for them to do so. 

I hope to have the next episode out within a week, hopefully the conclusion of this story, but we'll see. I'm not sure how long it will take, but I promise to keep in touch via social media.

If you've enjoyed any of the songs, please check out the artists. All of them are great, and some of them offered up their music to this podcast for free, so I'd love them to have all of the success in the world. The artists featured in this episode were Joao Picoito, Andrew Reddy, Kai Engel, The Gateless Gate, and badasswolfshirt, who created the song you're hearing right now. Last week I used the wonderful Chancius song, "Time And Space Died Yesterday" to take us out, and this week, I'm using the amazing "Mayak" by a group named Mount Graham to do the same. 

Thank you again for listening. Stay safe, and a word of advice... try not to think about this as you're falling asleep tonight. Sweet dreams! 


Music/Ambiance Links

Joao Picoito - "Untitled" (Intro)

Andrew Reddy - "Ossuary"

Kai Engel - "Wake Up"

Joao Picoito - "Third Floor"

The Gateless Gate - "View Of The Greenland Sea, Part 2"

badasswolfshirt - "Famouser"

Mount Graham - "Mayak" (Outro)

Video Links

Sleep Ambiance Nighttime Crickets

Ted K EARONS comparison

Books & Info

"Hunting A Psychopath" by Richard Shelby (the original investigator)

"Hot Prowl" by Jack Gray

"Sudden Terror" by Larry Compton

QuesterFiles (my most valuable resource) (a great timeline of events)

EAR/ONS discussion thread


Free SFX


Thursday, October 8, 2015

01 - The Original Night Stalker (Part One: East Area Rapist)

So this is the transcript, video/song links, and any additional notes I may have from the first episode of the podcast, about the Original Night Stalker (aka the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer). Links are located at the bottom.

If you have any comments, questions, or criticisms, please let me know! I've become infatuated with the case, and would appreciate any corrections or further discussion.

Thank you so much!

Podcast can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or other podcast-related apps. You can listen now HERE. 


It's 2:30 in the morning, on a Sunday. Imagine where you are. Most people would be at home, sleeping. 

It's the middle of October, in Sacramento, California. It was a hot summer during America's bicentennial of 1976, leading to the biggest drought on-record, and now it's beginning to cool down for the fall. The sun is setting earlier and earlier with each passing day, kids are beginning to get excited for Halloween, and families must be thinking about plans for the upcoming holiday rush. The leaves have started to change colors, and even in the mainland of California, it's beginning to get a bit chillier in the evenings. 

So, at 2:30 on a Sunday morning, where are you? This particular evening - October 18th, 1976 -  took place several years before I was even born, but I can imagine where I would be on most Sundays like it: at home, deep asleep, without a worry in the world. 

However, for one mother and the rest of her family, this normally relaxing time would become a nightmarish hell of which there would be little escape.
It all starts with a dog barking. A ten year-old boy wakes up to the sound of the family dog barking in his bedroom, where it has been locked up for the night. The boy, whose father is away for work, is home with his mother and four-year old sister. The other two are long asleep, and not wanting to wake them, the boy gets up to put the dog outside. He climbs out of bed, likely groggy with his eyes covered in sleep, and makes his way to the back door. 

As soon as he puts the dog outside, the boy turns on the outside lights, illuminating the back patio and the surrounding area. In the corner of his sleepy eye he sees a dark figure near the kitchen window, and it shocks him. It's a man, wearing what looks like a dark hood and a dark T-shirt, but whom is absolutely naked from the waist down. Next to the man, laying in the dirt and the grass, is the window screen separating the family kitchen from the outside world. 

The dog begins chirping at the dark, half-naked figure, but it's much too small to pose a real threat. The dark figure runs, the sound of any dog surely an imposing one, but quickly jumps on top of the fence, showing off at least some athletic prowess. The boy, in his shocked horror and confusion, closes and locks the kitchen door, and begins running towards the back of his house. 

Towards his mother. Towards comfort. Towards what he has always known as safety. 

During his mad dash, the boy catches a glimpse of the terror haunting him: the dark figure, beginning to climb through the kitchen window. 

The boy reaches his mother's room in a panic, closing the door behind him. Just behind him, he hears a plate smash into pieces on the kitchen floor. The boy's heart is racing, and he isn't able to tell his mother much of what's happening. 

"A man in the kitchen window," he repeats, likely out-of-breath and largely unintelligible. The mother reaches for her nearby phone, calling for the operator, only to get no reply. She tries the neighbor immediately afterwards, only to get the same response. Or, rather, the absence of one. 
During these rushed, panicked, unsuccessful phone calls, the two can hear an audible thump from the kitchen, just down the hallway. Then, the racing thudding of footsteps down the hallway, just as the two begin to lose all hope of a happy ending. 

The door swings open, revealing the intruder in all of his horrifying glory. He wore a black mask with a black T-shirt, with what is believed to be a black glove on one hand and a white glove on another. He carried with him a large knife, which he brandished threateningly as he ordered the screaming mother and child to "shut up." He begins to threaten, numerous times, to kill and/or butcher the entire family if they do not cooperate to his satisfaction. The mother pleads to spare the lives of her children, the ten-year-old son crying for comfort in her arms, and the four-year-old daughter in another room. 

The dark figure demands to know if anybody else is home. The mother, in a panicked state, confirms that her husband is away at work. However, based on this intruder's M.O., he likely already knew that. He knew more about this family than they could have ever imagined. 

During the chaos of the intruder's entrance, the dog continued to bark up at storm outside. The intruder commanded the dog to be brought inside and placed in an adjacent room, where it would be quiet. It's life was safe, for the time being. 

The intruder tears the phone from the wall in a rage. He covers the boy's head with a blanket, and then binds the mother with strips of a towel from a nearby room. He begins to demand money, of which the family has very little on-hand. She offers up an envelope of cash headed for the American Heart Association, but it isn't enough. With her children left in other rooms, the mother is taken to the family room, where she is further bound, blindfolded, and gagged. During all of this, the intruder is rummaging the house, looking. Searching for something. He finds several things of value, but takes nearly none of them. 

One of the few things of value he decides to take is the mother's wedding ring. She has other jewelry in the house, but the intruder isn't interested in that. This intruder becomes intent upon getting this woman's wedding ring, going as far as to threaten chopping off her finger to get it. She is lucky in that she's able to pry it off with some soap, but that isn't the end of her troubles. 

For the next few hours, the mother's life is a living hell. She is raped repeatedly. The intruder, now the rapist in this situation, continues to get up every few minutes to look around. To rummage. To search. To check on things in other rooms. He is methodical, but seems to lack attention for much longer than a minute or two. He doesn't keep still for long.  

He continues to threaten her, accusing her of lying to him when he finds money in a nearby desk. He threatens to kill her and the children, trying to break her into complying. But in-between his threats, in-between the hours of rape, in-between instilling terror in this chosen family, this intruder tries to compliment this terrified, traumatized mother of two. 

"Your body is beautiful," he said, admiring it with his intense, steely blue eyes while keeping a knife close to her throat. He tells her this on more than one occasion, usually between threats. 
The mother, perhaps in a desperate attempt to keep her children alive from this unknown, violent attacker, compliments this shadowy enigma. 

"You're such a good lover," she tells him. This takes him aback, and his blue eyes look back at her in shock of their own. Nobody had ever told him that before, he tells her. 

"They usually just laugh at me," he says.

"Do you like to get complimented?" she asks, perhaps trying to buy time or leeway for the lives of herself and her children.

His response is one of the biggest clues to his identity that we have. Or, perhaps, it was just another way for him to throw off the police to his true identity. 

"Yes, people make fun of me, especially since something happened to my face," before continuing with his violent, despicable act. 
That was one night for one victim of the Original Night Stalker, also known as the East Area Rapist and the Golden State Killer. But the terror wouldn't end there, on that night. Not by a long shot. 
The Original Night Stalker would go on to rape over 50 women, and murdered upwards of twelve people. That is, of course, if those are all the victims that we know of. The thing that is so terrifying about the Original Night Stalker is that he was never caught, or even identified. 
His identity, just like his whereabouts, are completely unknown. 
This is the first episode of Unresolved, a podcast that hopes to dive into stories that have no ending... questions that have no answers. I'm your host, Micheal Whelan, and on this first introductory episode of Unresolved, I will of course be diving into the story of the Original Night Stalker, a notorious criminal known not only for the numerous violent acts he committed, but for his calculated, methodical approach to those crimes. 

You heard what is believed to be the Original Night Stalker in the intro to the show. He was calling one of his victims, the mother from the story I just told you. But what's terrifying is that he didn't call her a month later. Nor a year later. That phone call was made in 1991, fifteen years after the Original Night Stalker had terrorized and assaulted this family. They had moved, and likely done their best to hide from his terrorizing ways, but the Original Night Stalker was well-known for his intelligence. 
Not only did he know how to commit the perfect crimes, but the Original Night Stalker knew more about his victims than their friends or family did. By the time this unknown criminal committed his crimes, he had already been inside your house multiple times, and had witnessed your habits. He knew when you'd be home, when you'd be at work, when you'd be picking up the kids, and even when you'd be sleeping. 

When it comes to figuring out the identity of the Original Night Stalker, all we can do is guess. But we can try to learn more about him and his motives by starting at the beginning of this story... or, at least, what we assume the beginning is. 


Spring of 1974 was a historic time for not only the United States, but the world. Richard Nixon was fast on his way to becoming the first president to resign after being impeached. The United States and Russia were still knee-deep in the Cold War, and a global recession was starting to take hold. The MRI was developed by scientists. Muhammed Ali was circling a boxing match with George Foreman, in what would later be known as the "Rumble in the Jungle." Bands like Queen, Abba, and Deep Purple dominated the Billboard Charts. 

But in the burgeoning town of Visalia, California, a criminal was beginning to gain prominence. Known to Visalia locals as the "Ransacker," this criminal gained notoriety for his actions. He would break into houses, but not with the sole intention of stealing. He would canvass houses, presumably looking for something, but would just end up vandalizing the house. 

Many of the people involved had items of value, but the Ransacker refused to take them. He seemed to enjoy being in these people's homes, to simply mess with their things. Perhaps to make them feel violated. Maybe they might notice objects out-of-place, or notice some leftover food had been eaten from their fridge. We don't know. 

But what we do know is that this criminal, the Ransacker, broke in and burglarized over 80 homes in the Visalia area between April 1874 and the end of the following year. You might hope that the criminal simply lost interest and moved on, but the answers is much more tragic. 

On September 11th, 1975, Claude Snelling, a journalism professor, woke up to strange sounds in his home. He left his bedroom, looking for the culprit of the sound, and what he found must have been an absolute nightmare. 

According to all reports, Claude Snelling found his teenage daughter, Beth, being tied up by an unknown, masked assailant. This assailant had led this terrified daughter to the backyard, where he was attempting to kidnap her. 

Claude Snelling, being the father that he was, jumped into action and tried to save the life of his daughter. He went for the masked figure, but wasn't fast enough... he was shot twice. Beth began to scream, which awoke her mother inside, and the masked assailant made a dash for it. Claude Snelling gave pursuit, but succumbed to his injuries just moments afterwards. 

Mrs. Snelling, Claude's wife, called the police, but it was too late. The Ransacker got away, but the damage had been done. Claude Snelling had died, becoming this attacker's first official victim. 

As you can imagine, this left the town of Visalia in quite a terror. The escalation of the Ransacker, in such a horrifying fashion, left the citizens reeling. The Visalia police force, in an effort to combat the Ransacker, began doing nightly stakeouts in the neighborhood that he had been active in. 

They were successful, for a time. It wasn't until December 12th that the police staking out the neighborhood found a suspect, likely back for round two. 

A man was walking through the neighborhood rather late, and Detective William McGowen was on-duty that night. He decided to try and apprehend this mysterious individual, so he tried to approach the man. 

His efforts were in vain. The unknown suspect immediately turned on him, and began firing with a handgun. One of the shots hit Detective McGowen's flashlight, but the police officer was able to make it out alive. 

However, the suspect was never apprehended. And just like that, after a single run in with a cop, the Visalia Ransacker was gone forever, never to be found. 


To this day, investigators haven't been able to confirm that the Visalia Ransacker was the same person as the Original Night Stalker, due to the lack of evidence the Ransacker left behind. He stole nothing of value, just seemingly inocuous things like family photographs or sentimental heirlooms. But the two criminals are unanimously linked together, with most people who look into the case coming to the belief that the two are the one in the same. 

The perpetrators operated under similar courses of action, and the escalation near the end of the Visalia Ransacker's reign of terror can be correlated with the origins of the East Area Rapist. Just months after the Ransacker had left Visalia, a string of rapes began to be reported in Sacramento, leading to the birth of the East Area Rapist, who would later be known by the monikkers of the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer. 


July 18th, 1976 - Our first victim is a young, 23-year old woman working as an insurance adjuster. She lives in a house in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of the Sacramento area, with her father, a retired servicemember of the United States Air Force. However, her father is away for the time being, having been gone for about two months. He's set to return home in just a matter of days.

The first victim was deep asleep when she was assaulted. She was awoken to the sound of a knife tapping against the wooden door-frame leading into her room, and the perpetrator was in what would become his customary outfit: a mask of some type, perhaps a dark gray or stained white balaclava, with a black T-shirt, dark-looking gloves, and he was naked from the waist down. 

The physical description of the perpetrator was known from the get-go: he stood about five foot, nine inches, and weighed in at approximately 160 or 170 pounds. He was athletic-looking: thin and lithe, like a swimmer. The only identifiable thing about his face which was primarily hidden behind the mask, were his piercing blue eyes, a trait that would be repeated among all of his attackers. 

However, that wasn't the only identifier of our perpetrator. One of the things that all of the victims repeated was the unusually... small... nature of the perpetrator's penis. In a few of his future cases, this seemed to be a point of resentment for him, and perhaps was one of the building blocks that led him to this psychotic life of aggression. That's not to put the blame of his actions at the foot of his genetics, but a lot of investigators have pinpointed this as a thing that may have begun a sexual crisis for him, leading him to escalate his crimes in such a serious, violent way. 

After the violent deed was done, the perpetrator tied up the victim's hands behind her back, and even tied up her ankles with the chord of a hair dryer. The victim recounted how she once feared that there were two suspects in the house, because when the perpetrator would leave her room to rummage or search for valuables, he would whisper quite loudly. She could hear him in the other room, telling himself (or someone else) to shut up repeatedly. 

Eventually, the whispers subsided. After a period of time has passedin silence, the victim decided to get up and make a run for it, and found the back door barred open. Her hands were still bound, so she couldn't do much but close the door with her feet, but she noticed that the deadbolt was engaged, preventing her from closing the door. 

Miraculously, she was able to call the police from a phone in her father's room, using her numb, still-bound fingers to do so. She was safe, but the East Area Rapist had begun his crime spree. 


Investigators found that someone had tried to cut the phone lines outside the house, unsuccessfully. They assumed that whoever had done this was an amateur criminal, and hadn't truly planned ahead. However, despite being able to cut the phone lines, the investigators found two strips of rope that the victim had brought with him in preparation for the crime. 

Later, the victim would report clues that would later become hallmarks of the Original Night Stalker. She had witnessed an older dark sports car drive past the house several times, and every time she looked up at the car, the driver would look away. She noticed nothing of it at the time, but just days after the car stopped driving by, she started to get phone calls at sporadic times of night. The person on the other end of the line would never say anything, but as soon as she answered with a customary "Hello?", they would hang up. 


July 17th, 1976 - Nearly one month after the original assault, the perpetrator strikes again: this time at two teenage girls who are home alone. This is in a slightly more upscale development from Rancho Cordova, in the nearby area of Del Dayo. With their parents away on a Church outing for the weekend, the two girls stay up until 10 PM or so watching television, but are woken just hours later by the perpetrator, who had been watching them for an unknown amount of time. 

Footprints would later be found in the dirt outside their windows, but none would be found outside the master bedroom. This perpetrator knew that the parents were away, which indicated that he had some knowledge of the two or, most likely, he had been observing them for some time. 

He tied up one sister before assaulting the other, telling her that he had wanted to have sex with her since junior prom. This victim knew it was a feint, since she had a photograph of herself at junior prom with her boyfriend displayed on her nearby dresser, where the perpetrator likely got the idea from. 

Throughout the assault, the perpetrator kept insisting that their father, a doctor, should have been keeping medicine in the refridgerator. This confunded both daughters, who really had no clue what he was rambling about, but they didn't say anything. The perpetrator didn't think of checking the father's medicine bag, located in the master bedroom, but odds are that this was another fake-out from the Night Stalker. He tried to misdirect people in small, odd ways like that, trying to pose his sexual assaults as robberies-gone-wrong. This becomes a common thread throughout the multiple assaults. 
The perpetrator lingers around the house for much longer this time. Investigators would find two cans of Coor's beer in the family trash can, beers that didn't belong to the teenage daughters or the parents that were away. The investigators would also find four separate strips of rope, which indicates that the perpetrator intended on tying up two suspects and had planned on it, cementing the idea that he had been watching the two for some time. 


On August 29th, a month after the second assault, the perpetrator returns to the same neighborhood of his first victim. Just two houses down, he chooses a house where a mother is home alone with her two young daughters. Their father was gone, having started to work overnights just two days prior. 
The perpetrator sneaks in the house through the window of the youngest daughter, just twelve, but she is able to run to her mother's room. From there, the perpetrator attempts to bind the two together, but the mother refuses to give in. Instead of his customary knife, the suspects brings a revolver and a handheld club with him, and when the mother fights back, he decides to hit her in the head repeatedly. 

However, this mother refuses to give up. She is able to run outside, followed closely by her two daughters. They run to a neighbor's house for help, while the perpetrator, naked from the waist-down, dives into a nearby patch of bushes. He is later seen by a neighbor simply walking peacefully away, still naked from the waist-down. 

The mother, a 41-year old of no real physical prowess, describes the perpetrator as rather small and weak, whose voice gets rather high-pitched when he's not whispering through gritted teeth. The mother goes on to say that, if he hadn't had brought the gun along with him, she thinks that she could have taken him in a fight. This really paints an illustrious portrait of the perpetrator, who is described by all of his victims as really young. Many have him pegged as being in his early twenties during these first assaults.


After the failure of his last attack, the East Area Rapist strikes again less than a week later, on September 4th. This attack occurs outside of a victim's house, for the first time, and is one of the most brutal of the assaults. It's easy to surmise that after his most recent failure, the perpetrator lashed out at someone rather quickly. 

This was the first time that the Original Night Stalker began to use the canal system to get around. Instead of driving around and possibly getting his car identified, the perpetrator would use the canal system to travel, using the foliage and cover of darkness to get around with ease. This is a rather important fact, because the use of the canal system points out the methods by which our perpetrator would utilize. 

He would attack again on October 5th, this time taking his time to terrify the family. The victim, in this case a wife of an Air Force officer and a mother of one, would make a few phone calls to the police in preceding weeks, indicating that a break-in had taken pace. She had found dirt on the floor of her son's room, and had noticed some inexpensive heirlooms had been taken or moved around, but her expensive jewelry hadn't been touched. Police told her that it was likely just neighborhood miscreants, and that it was nothing to be worried about. 

Just like other victims, this one received many phone calls at odd hours of the day. It ultimately led to her husband leaving work at around 6:30 in the morning, on October 5th. A short time afterwards, she would hear clicks, sounds similar to light switches being turned on and off. Then she was attacked, pleading for the life of her son. 

The rapist gave an indiciation that he knew her, and had seen her at "the club," an obvious hint towards the officer's club her husband frequented at the nearby Travis Air Force Base. He even mentioned her husband in his gritty voice, calling him "the captain," a true indicator of his rank. 
Many clues can be ascertained from this case, as it was one of the first times the East Area Rapist made himself at home inside the victim's home. After the sexual assault had taken place, the victim went out into the kitchen and made himself something to eat with the family's frying pan. 
Neighbors had identified a dark green Chevy Vega in the area weeks preceding the attack, and one neighbor had even made a note of it being in the neighborhood while the assault was taking place. 
Bloodhounds were later called to try and get a hint of the perpetrator's scent, but this is when one of the most perplexing things happened. The bloodbounds began to go berzerk when they found traces of the perpetrator's scent, something they only do when they come across heavy drug users or people suffering from a debillitating disease. We really can't pinpoint which one, if either, could be used to label the Original Night Stalker, but this was one of the rare occasions where such a small clue could throw off an entire investigation. 


The next assault took place on October 9th, just days later. He attacked a young woman that was sleeping alone in her family home, but had been inside the house for what seemed like hours before attacking her. Despite the fact that she was home alone, the perpetrator had created an intricate tapestry of rope, tying together many bedroom and hallway doors so that none of them could be opened. No one is quite sure how or why he decided to do this ahead of time, seeing as the victim was home alone. 

But this was another case where the Original Night Stalker, the East Area Rapist, used the topography to his advantage. He was able to access this house via the canal system from the earlier attack, which gave him the ability to come and go at-will. People in the area reported seeing the dark green Chevy Vega, but it wasn't spotted in the neighborhood on that night. The perpetrator made his way via the canal. 


I've already told you the story of the seventh victim, the mother from the original story. That was October 18th, which shows just how quickly the East Area Rapist was willing to act on his crime. He was obviously escalating, beginning to act much more frequently, and if his actions have shown us anything, it's that he was bold. He wasn't afraid to walk around neighborhoods calmly with his pants off, or to refrain from cooking up food in the family's kitchen with them tied up and victimized in the other room. 

The eighth victim of this attacker wouldn't be raped. She was a 19-year old young woman that was headed home late at night, awaiting the arrival of her father and brother. She was attacked, and the perpetrator led her to the backyard, where he bound her. But instead of assaulting her further, he simply demanded her car keys. She easily gave them, and was able to free herself. By then, the perpetrator was long-gone, and had taken her car. Not far, mind you, but just down the street where two of his earlier victims lived. It was less than a mile away, and was found just hours later. No one knows why this victim was treated differently, and was simply robbed of her car. 


This is where the media blackout ended. This unknown perpetrator was given the name of the "East Area Rapist," and was heavily publicized in the local newspapers. 

At this time, investigators were beginning to piece things together. The assaults had taken place in such close proximity to each other that this was obviously the work of a serial attacker. 
Investigators knew the basic of the attacker, which was nearly unanimous from the victims: he stood about five-foot-nine, weighed about 160 pounds, had prominent blue eyes and either dark blonde or light brown hair. He was skinny in an athletic fashion, and was seen as very young by most of the attackers. Even his small penis was notable at this point, as a few of the victims, who had never had sex before, could still be classified as virgins. 

He also left behind several calling cards: the green Chevy Vega was spotted at several of the crime scenes. He would call most of his victims in preceding weeks to learn their schedules, and planned ahead, evident by the rope he would prepare and bring with him. He even started to utilize a calling card: many of the victims had window screens with a small mark near the bottom left. Investigators thought this was his calling card, but later on, they theorized that it might have been his way of identifying houses that had a dog. 

He would tear apart the victims' homes, but would rarely take anything of value. He would mess around with photographs or personal mementos, but didn't take much. He would eat their food, often after the attack had taken place. He would drink beer, often bringing cans of his own. The perpetrator would usually cut the phone lines before the attack, a skill he grew better at as time went on. However, on multiple occasions, he wouldn't do so, which led investigators to believe that those crimes were more impromptu in nature. 

The East Area Rapist's most notable calling card, which I haven't really gotten into yet, was his propensity towards knots. This would help tie together many of the cases later on, but our perpetrator was an expert at tying the knots he would use in his bindings. The most distinguished of these knots was the diamond knot, a type of knot used primarily in the nautical world. Many theorized that this could point towards the East Area Rapist being a ranchhand. 

However, so many things didn't make sense. He toyed with the victims, telling one victim one thing and telling one another. Investigators didn't know whether he was a member of the Air Force, whether he worked in a pharmacy, whether he was a sailor or ranchhand of types, or was just a local kid from the area. And when the bloodhounds went crazy at finding his scent, indicating a drug user or someone with a disease, the investigators most likely leaned in the direction of a drug user. It made sense, at the time. By all indications, this was an attacker that was robbing from his victims as much as he was assaulting them. 

But, unfortunately, the East Area Rapist was just getting started. 1976 was coming to a close, but 1977 would be the year that he would gain the most notoriety. 

1977 was the year where the East Area Rapist went from being a serial offender... to becoming an urban legend. 


So, I have to admit... the Original Night Stalker has taken up quite a bit of my time over the past couple of weeks. In preparation of this debut episode of Unresolved, I have been trying to do as much research as possible, utilizing not only internet resources, but the few books written about the topic and scouring Youtube for any interviews, news footage, or sound bites I can find. 

It's tough, because outside of a few things, this case isn't very well-known. Despite the victim count, and the insane amount of people traumatized by the Original Night Stalker, not much is know about him. Most people associate the Night Stalker monikker with Richard Ramirez, and our mystery attacker falls by the wayside. 

This case is a monster, in almost every single way. I'm seeing the Night Stalker in the shadows at night, and it's quite terrifying. Outside of the Zodiac killer, a true crime like this hasn't really taken ahold of me in such a way and shaken me to the core. 

In an effort to do the story complete justice, I am going to try and cover as much ground as possible. 
So this was just part one of the Original Night Stalker story. I don't know whether I'll be able to wrap up the entire thing in part two, so this might become a trilogy of podcasts by the end of it all. This story is just too insane and too large to be covered in a single episode, so I promise that I'll be working my hardest to get you the conclusion sooner rather than later. I'm hoping to get out an episode every week or two, and I swear to you that by the time you're hearing this, I'm already hard at work on part two. 

I hope you've enjoyed this first episode of The Unresolved. I've wanted to start a podcast for the longest time, and with my love of true crime and unsolved mysteries, this just seemed like the perfect fit. With the amount of unsolved mysteries and unresolved stories out there, I don't see me running out of any subject matter anytime soon. 

I apologize if the sound quality is a little buggy at times, as I'm still getting used to this. I was also recovering from a cough during the recording of the episode, so I have to apologize for being rather breathy throughout. 

I do have a lot of people to thank for this episode. Not only my wife, who is able to endure me rambling on and on about odd cases of serial killers on a relentless basis, but the many musical contributors who made this episode what it is. 

I have the band While She Sleeps to thank for the introduction to the show, and other individual artists to thank for the music you heard throughout the episode. Andrew Reddy, Alea Minerva, Laoshi Ma, Karl Does Music, Chancius, The Gateless Gate... bless all of you, your music is amazing and fit this episode perfectly. All of you listening should check these artists out, they have some great stuff. 

Speaking of checking stuff out, you should hit up the podcast on social media. You can send us an email at "," or you can like us at I'm even on Twitter, at That's right, the word Unresolved followed by the singular letter "P." Not quite sure how that happened, but I'm stubborn and not very Twitter-friendly, so I'm sticking with it. 

You can also find me on Reddit, as I frequent the "Unresolved Mysteries" subreddit quite a bit. That's actually where the inspiration for this podcast comes from, so thanks to all of you there that keep the charm of unsolved mysteries alive. I don't think I'll reveal my personal reddit handle quite yet, but I'm sure you frequent Redditors will be able to find me with a little detective work. 

I'll even be launching a blog to compliment the show, and there I'll leave a transcript of each episode along with links to the songs and resources I utilized. You can find said blog in the near-future at either of the social media links. 

So, again, thank you all for listening. I hope you get some satisfaction out of this, and I will hopefully be back in a week or so to continue the story of the Original Night Stalker. I would like to get out a new episode of the Unresolved Podcast every week or so, and as long as someone out there learns something new or gets some enjoymeny out of this, I'll keep making them. 

Until next time, however, stay safe, and try not to pay attention to the sounds that go boo in the night. It's probably nothing.  


Music Links

While She Sleeps - "The Woods" (Intro)

Karl Kay - "Call Of The Void"

Laoshi Ma - "Enoch"

Andrew Reddy - "A Breath"

Alea Minerva - "Dead Letters"

The Gateless Gate - "Samarkland"

Chancius "Time And Space Died Yesterday" (Outro)

Video/Audio Links

MSNBC Investigates
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Original Voice Recording

KCRA News - DNA clues


"Hunting A Psychopath" by Richard Shelby (the original investigator)

"Hot Prowl" by Jack Gray

"Sudden Terror" by Larry Compton

Useful Information

QuesterFiles (my most valuable resource) (a great timeline of events)

EAR/ONS discussion thread