Suspect in nine sexual assaults in Contra Costa County
Although four decades have passed since a prolific serial rapist and murderer terrorized California communities from Sacramento to Contra Costa County to Orange County, the FBI and local law enforcement announced a national publicity campaign on Wednesday – and a significant reward – in the hopes of locating the suspect and finally bringing him to justice.
Between 1976 and 1986, the violent and elusive individual known as the East Area Rapist, and later as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries in multiple California communities. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41 and included women home alone, women at home with their children, and husbands and wives.
At a press conference in Sacramento, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department held a press conference to announce the launch of a reward and national campaign to help identify the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer, a violent serial burglar, rapist, and murderer who terrorized multiple communities in California throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
The digital media campaign includes the launch of a webpage, www.fbi.gov/EastAreaRapist digital billboards throughout the country; social media outreach on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; and audio broadcasts via podcasts and radio PSAs. The public can play an active role in helping law enforcement find the subject by sharing links to the website and official social media content.
Law enforcement asks the public to consider the following information when reviewing information about the case:
- Did they live in one of the areas of criminal activity and remember someone in the area who matches the physical description of the subject or may have been known to spend a considerable amount of time in the areas?
- Have they discovered a hidden collection of items among the belongings of a friend or family member—notably coins and jewelry—as described on the FBI webpage about the crimes?
The subject, who may be 60-75 years old now, was described as a White male standing approximately five feet, ten inches tall, with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build. He may have had an interest or training in military or law enforcement techniques as he was familiar and proficient with firearms.
People who know the subject may not believe him capable of such crimes. He may not have exhibited violent tendencies or have a criminal history.
Detectives have DNA evidence from some of the crime scenes which can either positively link or exclude a suspect. This enables investigators to quickly exclude innocent parties and the public should not hesitate to provide information—even if it is the name or address of an individual who resided in the areas of the crimes—as many parties will be quickly excluded by a simple, non-invasive test.
Between 1976 and 1986, this single subject committed 12 homicides, approximately 45 rapes, and multiple residential burglaries in the state of California. All of the crimes have been linked by DNA and/or details of the crimes. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41 and included women home alone, woman at home with their children, and couples.
The subject was active in the greater Sacramento area from June 1976 to February 1978.
Burglaries and rapes began occurring in the Sacramento area during the summer of 1976. During these crimes, the subject would ransack the homes of his victims and take small items such as coins, jewelry, and identification. These cases include the homes of families, couples, and single women; burglaries in a neighborhood tended to precede clusters of sexual assaults. On February 2, 1978, Rancho Cordova couple Sergeant Brian Maggiore and his wife, Katie, were on an evening walk with their dog, chased by the subject who overcame the couple, and shot at close range.
His activity continued primarily in the East Bay Area of Northern California in 1979 and, by October 1979, his activity escalated into rapes and homicides/attempted homicides along the California Coast with homicides in Goleta (October 10, 1979, December 3, 1979, and July 27, 1981), Ventura (March 16, 1980), Laguna Niguel (August 19, 1980), and Irvine (February 6, 1981 and May 5, 1986). During the commission of the homicides, the subject tied up both victims, raped the female victim, and then murdered the couple.
After July of 1981, no associated incidents are known to have been reported for five years. In 1986, an 18-year-old woman was raped and murdered in Irvine. No additional crimes have been connected to the subject after this incident.
A graphic illustrating the general location of these crimes is available on the FBI’s webpage.
The following is a listing of local law enforcement agencies who have investigated a crime believed to have been committed by the subject and the number of crimes in their jurisdictions:
|Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department||24||2|
|Sacramento Police Department||4||1 assault w/ deadly weapon|
|Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department||5||0|
|Concord Police Department||2||0|
|Davis Police Department||3||0|
|Fremont Police Department||1||0|
|Modesto Police Department||2||0|
|San Jose Police Department||2||0|
|Stockton Police Department||2||0|
|Walnut Creek Police Department||2||0|
|Irvine Police Department||0||2|
|Orange County Sheriff’s Department||0||2|
|Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department||0||4 +2 attempted|
|Ventura Police Department||0||2|
“Regardless of the amount of time that has passed,” said Sgt. Paul Belli, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department detective assigned to the case, “the sheriff’s department never gave up on the investigation. This person ruined a great number of lives, and he should be held accountable.”
Law enforcement is seeking any information that may help identify the subject, dubbed the “East Area Rapist” in Sacramento. He has also been called the “Original Night Stalker,” “Diamond Knot Killer,” and, more recently, the “Golden State Killer.” Individuals with information about the subject may call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Additionally, information may be submitted to the FBI’s online tip line, tips.fbi.gov.
For more information visit www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2016/june/help-us-catch-the-east-area-rapist/help-us-catch-the-east-area-rapist