HLN Revisits The Unsolved Case Of The ‘Golden State Killer’

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Between 1976 and 1986, 12 people were killed and at least 45 were raped by a man that has yet to be identified. Dubbed the Golden State Killer, the Original Night Stalker, and the East Area Rapist, this infamous figure remains at large.

HLN Network has released a program covering the original crimes in all of their graphic detail in the hopes of keeping the case in the public eye. According to reports by CNN and In Touch, Sacramento law enforcement and the FBI commemorated the 40th anniversary of the crimes last year.

Sergeant Paul Belli made a statement reaffirming the dedication of the Sacramento Sheriff’s office to finding and prosecuting the Golden State Killer.

“Obviously, with the 40th anniversary, this is a time we want to acknowledge the serial offender who was probably one of the most prolific, certainly in California, possibly in the United States, but also to let the victims know that we’ll never give up,” said Belli.

It’s thought that the Golden State Killer may have started as a small-time cat burglar, breaking into uninhabited homes and stealing valuables. He quickly graduated to stalking single women who lived in homes that he could easily access. He turned his sick fantasies into reality when he began breaking into these homes and assaulting the women he’d targeted.

The level of sophistication used in these break-ins was surprisingly efficient. The Golden State killer would study the layout of the homes and go as far as to disable lights and disarm any firearms.

Police tape across a fence in Los Angeles.
Featured image credit: David McNew Getty Images

The attacks usually featured women who were alone, but occasionally his targets had husbands or live-in boyfriends. He would break into the home, tie up the man, place him face-down close to where the rape was to take place, and then he would stack plates and dishes on the man’s back.

This gave the killer a surefire warning system should the man struggle against the restraints or manage to get free. One of the women described hearing her attacker sobbing “mummy” over and over again as he raped her.

He would make it very clear that if he heard a rattle he would kill the woman. This terrifying routine was sometimes punctuated by a trip to the kitchen for something to eat. The relaxed attitude combined with his volatile nature created a killer that was both unpredictable and nearly impossible to track.

A woman known only as “Jane” came forward to share details of her attack. She described waking up to a masked man standing over her bed in the early morning hours after her husband had left for work.

Jane had her 3-year-old son in the bed next to her, and the assailant made quick work of tying both of them up with shoelaces before blindfolding and gagging them with torn sheets. He then moved her son to the floor, untied Jane’s ankles, and brutally raped her.

In February of 1978, the man who started out as a rapist made his first known kills. Brian and Katie Maggiore were out walking their dog, when it’s believed that they spotted a man attempting to break into a home. This man turned out to be the notorious rapist who would, that night, become the Golden State Killer. The man killed the couple in order to get rid of two of the only people who may have been able to identify him.

The Golden State Killer continued to move throughout the state of California, committing multiple rapes and murders that would only be connected through DNA evidence years later. This is part of what allowed him to continue his devastating trek through the state, leaving behind victims wherever he went.

In an interview with HLN, Erika Hutchcraft, an investigator with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, said, “These cases are some of the most horrific I’ve had to investigate. They’re not a one-time, you know, crime of passion, but these are almost passionless crimes. Very cold, very violent.”

Another interview with retired Detective Larry Crompton revealed the killer’s meticulous methods and attention to detail.

“Over the years, we heard of homicides down in Southern California, and we thought it was the East Area Rapist,” said Crompton. “But he would not leave fingerprints, so we could not prove, other than his M.O., that he was the same person. We did not know anything about DNA.”

The killer would be between 60 and 75 now and is described at around 6 feet tall with blond or light brown hair. There is a reward of $50,000 dollars being offered for any information that could lead to the capture or identification of this man. Anyone who might have any information is being urged to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-225-5324.