California serial killer cold case reopened

2016-06-15 20:41


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sacramento - Authorities announced a $50 000 reward on Wednesday as they renewed their search for an elusive serial killer they say committed at least 12 homicides, 45 rapes and dozens of burglaries across California in the 1970s and 1980s.

The case has grown cold for the killer known by at least four nicknames over the decades.

He was dubbed the East Area Rapist after his start in Northern California. The Original Night Stalker after a series of Southern California slayings. The Diamond Knot Killer for using the elaborate knot to bind two of his victims. And most recently, the Golden State Killer.

He's linked through DNA and other evidence to more than 175 crimes between 1976 and 1986, officials said.

Aside from the reward for his arrest and conviction, the FBI also has a new website with maps locating the murders and rapes, sketches created by three witnesses, video interviews with investigators and audio interviews with two survivors. It also made him the number one option on its major crimes tip line, 800-CALL-FBI.

The FBI is launching a nationwide social media campaign and releasing an online mini-documentary and podcast at

It's the latest of numerous attempts to identify the man who started in 1976 and 1977 by terrorising suburban bedroom communities east of Sacramento and as far south as Stockton and Modesto in the Central Valley.

The masked rapist, armed with a gun, would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He would tie up the man and pile dishes on his back. He would then rape the woman while threatening to kill them if the dishes tumbled.

Cased neighbourhoods

Investigators believe the rapes, and dozens of burglaries often used to case neighbourhoods, escalated in 1978 when he fatally shot US Air Force Sergeant Brian Maggiore and his wife Katie as they walked their dog.

They believe he soon moved on to commit several rapes in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading to Southern California.

It wasn't until 2001 that new DNA testing linked him to at least six Southern California homicides between 1979 and 1986. In each case, the killer broke into a house at night and raped the female victim first.

Investigators believe he also committed another four unsolved Southern California homicides because of similarities in evidence or his methods.

The Southern California killer had been called the Original Night Stalker, to distinguish him from the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez, who died of cancer in 2013 before he could be executed for committing 13 mutilation murders in 1984 and 1985.

The elaborate diamond knot was used to tie up a Ventura couple before they were beaten to death with a fireplace log in 1980. That killer was later also discovered to be the same man that authorities in recent years have taken to calling the Golden State Killer to reflect his crimes across California.

The unsolved crimes prompted lawmakers to consider changing state law in 2002 to let jailers use force to take DNA samples from inmates. Investigators wanted to take a sample from Paul "Cornfed" Schneider to see if he was the Original Night Stalker.

Schneider gained notoriety that year as the adopted son of two San Francisco attorneys convicted in a high-profile dog-mauling case who were raising Schneider's dogs while he was in custody. But there was no DNA match between Schneider and the Southern California murders.

The crimes also helped spur a 2004 ballot initiative expanding California's law requiring felons to provide DNA samples for a state database.

If he's still alive, the killer would likely be in his 60s. He was described at the time as white, between 1.7m and 1.8m tall and weighing 68kg to 79kg - a description so broad that it hasn't helped solve the crimes.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.