There are some stories that are simply too horrifying to tell in detail. The Original Night Stalker is one of those cases. No, I'm not talking about Richard Ramirez, the convicted serial killer who terrorized L.A. and San Francisco in the 1980s. I'm talking about an even scarier killer...one whose crimes are the stuff the worst horror movies are made of.
Also known as the Golden State Killer, the East Area Rapist, and the Diamond Knot Killer, this murderer's crimes took place across California between 1976 and 1986.
The Original Night Stalker began as the East Area Rapist, committing a series of about 50 rapes and burglaries in the Sacramento area between 1976 and 1979. He targeted single women living alone, breaking in late at night and tying the women up before robbing them.
He became known by the knot he always tied when binding his victims. It was a diamond knot, which some have speculated indicates he might have been a rancher or cowboy.
Eventually, his M.O. changed...he progressed to couples. This is where it gets disturbing. He would tie up the male and stack plates on him, saying if he heard the plates rattle, he'd kill the female. Most of his crimes didn't involve murder, but to date, he's been linked to at least eight murders.
Due to the change in his M.O....and the fact that he expanded his crime area, the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist were thought to be two different perpetrators until 2001. That was when DNA evidence linked them.
Both before and after his crimes, he would harass his victims by phone. There is even this recording left on one woman's answering machine. Police believe this is the Original Night Stalker:
The Original Night Stalker has never been found. The police have his DNA and it doesn't match the 14 million profiles in the FBI's national database, so did he retire? Die? Maybe he sits in jail today on an unrelated crime and the police simply never took his DNA...
Or maybe he's still alive, out there, somewhere...
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