Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The East Area Rapist

Not all Serial Killers have been captured or stopped. In fact it is estimated that in the United States alone there are at least 50 serial killers at work at any one time. One interesting case is that of The East Area Rapist, here is what i know...

During the 1970s, more than 50 women are believed to have been assaulted by a brazen serial rapist who terrorized the Sacramento, California area. The mysterious attacker, known to police as the "East Area Rapist," was never identified. More than twenty years later, dramatic advances in DNA technology determined that the same man was responsible for a series of murders in southern California in the 1980s, a suspect who has eluded police for nearly 30 years.
As a rapist he established himself as a unique offender with unusual signature habits, including boldly lingering in victims' homes for hours. While his victims lay blindfolded, bound and helpless, he would raid their kitchens, rummage about their homes, and taunt them with threats, before finally sexually assaulting them and sneaking away. Evidence recovered at several crime scenes indicated the rapist had spied on his victims before he struck. At first he attacked homes in which only women and children lived. Then he became bo
lder, targeting homes in which a man was also present. The rapist would first restrain the man, placing dishes on his body so he could hear him if he tried to break free. Then the rapist would assault the female in another room.

By the late 1970s, the rapist had moved to communities in Contra Costa County, 50 miles west of Sacramento, where authorities traced five sexual assaults to him before the attacks abruptly stopped.

In 1979, the killer struck again, killing a couple in Goleta. Several weeks later another Goleta couple was murdered. Months later, a couple in Ventura was brutally bludgeoned. Because the m.o. was the same, investigators knew that the rapist had struck again.

In 1980, the killer turned up in Orange County for the first time: newlyweds Keith and Patrice Harrington were found bludgeoned to death in their Laguna Niguel home. Patrice had been raped. The killer murdered another woman in her home - her husband was spared because he was in the hospital. Then, back in Goleta, two more murders were attributed to the killer. The killings suddenly stopped for five years. Investigators speculated that the killer had gone to prison for another crime, or had moved out of the area.

In May 1986, the rapist/killer struck again, sexually assaulting and bludgeoning Janelle Cruz of Irvine, California. A year later he raped and murdered a woman about a mile from Janelle Cruz' home. And then the killings stopped.

Then, in 1996, at the Orange County, California Sheriff's Department, a forensic scientist compared semen samples from several unsolved rape/murders in the southern California area with samples from the Sacramento County rapes and linked the crimes to the same perpetrator. The East Area Rapist had become a southern California killer, leaving a trail of deaths in his wake.

If the old police adage that serial killers do not stop unless they're caught is true, how is it possible this one hasn't been heard from since 1986? Police say he could be dead, he could be disabled or in prison, or he could have simply moved to another state, where he is committing similar offenses that have not yet been linked to the California crimes.
The truth is that we really do not know why we have heard nothing since 1986. Yet another reason to keep walking in this big weird world of ours.
I'm Average Joe

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