Welcome back. We are now entering the Original Night Stalker’s territory. In this entry, I will be discussing the horrific murders caused by this unknown assailant who has never been apprehended, let alone properly identified. This will be the final entry in this incredibly long journey. A lot of time has been invested in this unsolved crime spree, yet I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface. Hopefully, this series garnishes enough attention to spread more awareness to those who aren’t familiar with this unforgivable rapist and murderer.
Dr. Robert Offerman and Dr. Debra Manning
On October 1, 1979, the East Area Rapist had traveled from Northern California to Goleta, California. He attempted to break into a home and continue his spree of rapes, yet his attack was foiled. Whether the attack was the result of careless planning or something else entirely, he made a conscious decision to graduate from mere terrorizing and raping a female woman to full-blown murder in the early morning hours of December 30, 1979.
At approximately 3:00 in the morning, a neighbor of Dr. Robert Offerman had woken up to use the bathroom. As he was getting himself out of bed the sound of three gunshots suddenly rang out from his next-door neighbor’s residence. The sound woke up the neighbor’s wife, to which both immediately peered out their bedroom window. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary other than the Offermans’ glass sliding doors that had been left ajar–yet no lights had been illuminating throughout the home.
The police were notified and as they made their way inside the Offerman’s residence, they noticed every light switch and the thermostat was turned off. They continued on and stumbled upon Dr. Debra Manning lying face down on the bed with her hands and wrists bound behind her back. She had been murdered by a single gunshot wound to the skull, execution style. Next to her on the floor was Dr. Robert Offerman, who had been shot four times; one in his chest and four in the back. Twine was dangling from his left wrist indicating he managed to partially get free of his bindings but wasn’t quick enough to stop the assailant.
- Upon further examination of the crime scene, the investigators learned the couple was murdered by a .38 caliber revolver with Super Vel brand .38 ammunition. There was clear evidence that ransacking, albeit lightly, had taken place in the bedroom. While they were looking for a specific point of entry they discovered the home had three glass sliding doors that led inside and each door had pry marks on them. A turkey bone was found next to a glass sliding door leading to the patio where a turkey carcass in a plastic bag was discovered. The murderer had seemingly taken the family’s leftover Christmas turkey dinner and had eaten it during his intrusion.
- The twine used to bind the victims were 1/16 in diameter and the color was nylon and rayon. Interestingly, the twine was discovered on the patio of residences living on 773 Avenida Pequena; a home just down the street from the crime. Furthermore, next door to the Offerman’s home was a condo. The residence was vacant but a registered nurse had plans of moving in soon. The police found the home had been broken into it. There were pry marks on the wooden framing of the front door, along with a window screen being removed. Underneath the window were footprints matching the same shoe impressions discovered in Robert Offerman’s backyard. When the police went inside the vacant condo, numerous strings of twine were littered inside–matching the bindings used for Robert Offerman and Debra Manning.
- The police were seeking any possible motive for their deaths, hoping the public would be able to assist them. Another newspaper article details the tragic event.
- When the police canvassed the neighborhood, they discovered a neighbor reported hearing Dr. Robert Offerman’s Porsche pull into the parking lot. Afterward, she heard three voices, two of which were Robert and Debra. She was unable to recognize the third voice though she believed it was a male speaking.
- According to the neighbors who initially heard the gunshots echoing from Dr. Offerman’s home, they were looking outside of their window at 3:17 a.m. and witnessed a white vehicle possibly being a Pinto or Honda, driving slowly away from the parking lot with the headlights off.
- Another nearby neighbor discovered their son’s bicycle had been stolen sometime during the night of the attack. It was later found several blocks away. Additionally, the same twine from the Offerman residence and other surrounding areas was found in their backyard as well.
- An autopsy was conducted on Robert and Debra. Though nothing substantial could be discovered from Robert, the medical examiner unearthed loose hairs on her back and two blue-green flakes on Debra’s big toe that were identified as architectural paint.
- Debra Manning managed to take off her jewelry and hide it under the mattress and the bedframe before she was murdered.
- Two days after the murders, more evidence was found on a dirt trail with a creek bed a short distance away. The same twine material was found, along with shoe impressions and dog footprints.
- The detectives working the case investigated the background lives of Dr. Offerman and Dr. Manning to see if any new light could be shed on a possible motive for their deaths. Both Robert and Debra were having an affair with one another. At the time, they were currently in the process of getting a divorce from their significant other. Debra’s soon-to-be ex-husband was questioned but he was soon eliminated as a suspect because he was on a skiing trip at Lake Tahoe and his entire story corroborated perfectly with a polygraph test. As for Robert’s soon-to-be ex-wife, she too was eliminated as a suspect.
- Two days before Robert and Debra were murdered, they attended a house-party together on 452 Toltec Way. Those who attended the party were primarily doctors and lawyers.
- Earlier in the afternoon before the murders occurred, a lot of strange activity took place in the area where Dr. Robert Offerman lived. A prowler was reported breaking into a home with a screwdriver on 5419 Parejo Drive. This location is very close to where the East Area Rapist failed his attempted rape on October 1, 1979. Shortly thereafter, an unknown individual had burglarized a home on 5422 Hannah Drive which was nearby. The family’s safe had been pried open and a wedding ring band and cash were stolen. Not too long later at approximately 6:10 in the evening, a family living on Windsor Street spotted a woman dressed in all dark clothing, shoulder-length hair, and in her early twenties standing at their neighbor’s front door. One hour later, the same family witnessed another person standing at the front door; this time, a white male who was 5’8 in height. The family thought it was peculiar, but they continued on with their own business. Thirty minutes later they see the same male again standing at the front door. However, two hours later at 9:30 p.m. a home on 5470 Queen Anne Lane was burglarized. In the backyard was twine that later matched what was used during the murders. The glass sliding doors had been pried open and a couple two-dollar bills, jewelry, and a class ring from the 1946 class of Merchant Marine with the initials HJH had been stolen. A short while after this incident occurred, a family returning home from the theater saw a stranger running out of their living room and into the backyard before scaling a fence that leads to Mountain View School. They hurriedly ran inside and found their poodle dog had been injured though nothing was missing from the home. Whoever the intruder was, he left shoe impressions in the backyard, which later matched those found at the murder scene hours later. The family said the stranger was wearing a dark jacket with a fisherman style hat. The majority of these reports of a prowler and break-ins happened within one mile of each other.
- The police later discovered that in the fall of 1978, a prowler was seen twice on Vineyard Road, Santa Barbra, between 2:00-2:30 a.m. Each report detailed the stranger as approximately 6’0 tall and dressed in all dark clothing and a stocking cap. When the prowler realized he was spotted he turned around and jumped the nearby fence.
Lyman and Charlene Smith
After the double homicide before the new year, the killer dubbed the Original Night Stalker went on a three-month break before he returned on March 13, 1980, in Ventura, California; a forty-minute commute from Goleta, California, where the two previous murders occurred.
It was Thursday, March 13, 1980, when an older woman awoke to the sound of her great Dane barking at 2:00 in the morning. This startled the homeowner, so she decided to look out of her windows, but nothing seemed amiss. Nonetheless, her dog remained persistent in leading her outside to a side gate that leads to the backyard of the Smith residence, where the dog strangely sat quietly. Again, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so she eventually made her way back inside and went to sleep.
On March 16, 1980, Lyman’s twelve-year-old son, Gary Smith, left his mother’s home to bicycle to his father’s and step-mother’s home to mow the lawn as he typically did as a chore. He arrived at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon and was greeted by the gardeners tending to other sections of the lawn. Before Gary got started with his chores, he went inside and heard an alarm clock buzzing in the master bedroom. Curious by the peculiarity, he peeked his head inside the bedroom and discovered two anomalies lying in bed with the bed sheets draped over them. He walked over to the bed and pulled the sheets away, only to discover his father lying face down completely nude with his hands and feet bound by a nylon drapery cord.
Charlene Smith — Gary’s stepmother — was next to her husband, face up with only a t-shirt on. Her hands and wrists had been bound behind her back and her ankles were crisscrossed and fastened. Out of utter shock and terror, Gary stumbled backward, automatically screaming and crying before running to the nearest landline to notify the police. The investigators quickly arrived at the crime scene and made their way into the home to gather evidence left behind. While they were examining each room in the home, it was the master bedroom itself that contained the majority of the crime, as it appeared the couple was attacked unexpectedly. The bedroom itself seemed to be ransacked, with dresser drawers sprawled open and personal belongings thrown onto the floor. In between the couple was a wooden log taken from Lyman’s backyard firewood stack, believed to be the murder weapon. Various pieces of wood and bark were scattered all over the bedroom carpet due to the immense amount of force used to bludgeon the couple to death. Their blood had been strewn all over the bedroom walls and dressers.
Once the crime scene was taped off and all of the evidence gathered, logged, and collected, a canvass of the neighborhood and questioning friends and family members brought forth more light regarding the Lyman and Charlene’s brutal slaying.
- Charlene Smith had been raped. There were other signs that shown she had been intimate with her husband shortly before their untimely deaths. More information can be found here. Additional information can be found in this newspaper article.
- Interestingly, Dr. Robert Offerman and Lyman Smith’s home had striking similarities in its design and overall layout.
- The cushion pillows from the family sofa had been removed and placed on the back end of the sofa. A black cloth was found underneath one of the cushions.
- Lyman Smith was a prominent lawyer awaiting a judgeship. Prior to living in Ventura, California, he attended San Juan High School in Citrus Heights, California. A classmate of his ended up working for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
- On March 8, 1980, a nearby resident living on High Point Road heard someone scuffling in her backyard. Someone was trying to jiggle her bathroom window as if unloosening it. The commotion stopped shortly after and because nothing else happened she never called the police.
- Sometime during the night of the murders, a person living on El Malabar spotted a white 1970’s Pontiac Sedan parked on the corner of High Point Road; the same location which the reported prowler was tampering with a woman’s bathroom window. The vehicle hadn’t belonged to any residents in the general vicinity.
- Days after the murder between March 17-18, another resident living on High Point Road claimed to be a victim of a possible break-in. The family’s infant son had woken up crying in the middle of the night. The following afternoon the husband searched his property to see if anything had been tampered with. He discovered his son’s bedroom window screen completely removed and stolen. He didn’t notify law enforcement until seven days later. On the same night the child had woken up, another local on High Point Road heard a neighbor’s dog bark relentlessly for forty-five minutes at approximately 4:00 a.m.
- As the police continued to conduct their investigation, they came across a possible suspect by the name Joe Alsip. He was an acquaintance of Lyman Smith by a legal partnership. Shortly before the murders, Joe had been in their home visiting. This particular piece of information stemmed from a priest who claimed Joe had confessed to him about murdering the couple. Joe spent one-year in jail awaiting trial because he couldn’t afford the bail. He was released due to a lack of credibility from the clergyman, who often inserted himself into police investigations.
- Despite the outward appearance of feeling content and loved in the marriage, Charlene Smith was secretly having an affair with a former deputy sheriff, Rick Atwood, for nearly an entire year. However, Rick was completely oblivious that Charlene was married.
Keith and Patrice Harrington
Once the Original Night Stalker murdered Lyman and Charlene Smith, another large gap in time occurred. It wouldn’t be until Thursday, August 19, 1980, in Dana Point, California, when the heinous killer emerged from the darkness to kill once again.
Keith and his wife were living in a home in a gated community owned by his father, Roger Harrington, who happily allowed them to stay while Keith finished up his schooling as a medical student. He was in his third year and had an internship already planned.
On August 21, 1980, Roger had plans to eat dinner with his son and daughter-in-law. When he tried walking inside he noticed the main door had been locked which was unusual. He grabbed the spare key hidden nearby and made his way in. The home was eerily quiet and nobody seemed to be around despite vehicles being in the garage. In the kitchen were newly bought bags of groceries on the kitchen counter and not stored away.
Sensing something wasn’t right, Roger began walking throughout the home and checking each room for Keith and Patrice. That’s when he noticed the guest bedroom door was closed. Not wanting to barge in and disturb them, he simply peeked his head inside and saw two people seemingly asleep under the sheets and blankets, yet it was entirely too early for them to be sleeping with groceries not stored away.
Roger knew something was amiss as he slowly walked to the side of the bed and pulled the blankets away. The sight sent him into an uncontrollable frenzy, discovering his son and daughter-in-law had been brutally bludgeoned to death. Their blood had been soaked through the mattress and pillows. Roger immediately contacted his other three sons and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department who arrived hastily at the scene.
- Keith Harrington was a third-year medical student at UC Irvine and Patrice was a registered nurse. Once again, in terms of the East Area Rapist and now Original Night Stalker, more connections to the medical field arose. As for Keith’s brothers, two were attorneys while another was a psychologist. Although this was a horrific tragedy, one blessing managed to come through it. Keith’s older brother, Bruce Harrington, helped fund and create Proposition 69, which is a law that prisoners will have to mandatorily donate their DNA to a statewide database. Here is a very interesting article that goes more in-depth about the entire scenario.
- The police investigators found no sign of forcible entry. The question has to be asked, was this double-murder intentionally planned beforehand? Though not entirely, this murder posed its set of challenges. Roger’s home was located in a gated community and there were only three ways of entering. One is through the gate by the security guard. Another is by having access to the gate code itself. Lastly, the third option is by scaling the fence. This attack was the first time the Original Night Stalker had struck in a tight-knit gated community, and there had been no reports of any dubious prowlers before or after the murders, but there was a blood-stained motocross glove found several blocks away from the crime scene.
- This double-homicide presented clear signs of learning for the Original Night Stalker. After binding Keith and Patrice, he placed the bed sheets over the couple before bludgeoning them to death. This helped eliminate blood spatter on the murderer himself and the bedroom walls. Additionally, bruising was found on the wrists and ankles of each victim indicated they had been bound, but the killer had removed the restraints after their death.
- The cause of death was blunt force trauma, but the investigators couldn’t find a murder weapon at the crime scene; the killer had apparently taken it with him. However, fragments of brass were discovered protruding from Patrice’s head due to the excessive force used. Though it can’t be conclusively proven, the general consensus is that the murderer used the sprinkler head from the family’s lawn. A point of reference can be found here and here. An autopsy also concluded that Patrice was raped before her passing. After a significant amount of time had passed since the murders, forensics discovered the murderer who raped Patrice had a vasectomy. Unfortunately, in 2010, Detective Larry Montgomery checked with those in charge of handling the DNA evidence for the murders from the Original Night Stalker and The East Area Rapist and found out no such evidence existed of a possible vasectomy. This caused a major hindrance in the overall investigation because due to the supposed fact of the vasectomy, law enforcement had a prime suspect by the name of “Waz” for the murders, but he was hesitantly eliminated as a suspect.
As the breaks expanded between each murder, the Original Night Stalked halted his murder spree until the following year on February 6, 1981, when he paid a visit to Columbus, Irvine, and murdered twenty-eight-year-old mortgage broker, Manuela Witthuhn. At the time of her untimely demise, Manuela’s husband had been hospitalized at Santa Ana-Tustin Community Hospital — now Newport Specialty Hospital — for an infection.
Manuela, who suffered from anxiety and wasn’t fond of being alone overnight, was hesitant on staying home by herself. When unfortunate times such as this happened, she would sleep in her sleeping bag because it provided a sense of extra security for her. Her father, knowing her daughter’s condition, happily offered to stay with her until her husband was released from the hospital. She declined, but he insisted that she should at least let his German Shepherd stay with her, but again, she said no and assured him she would be okay.
On Friday, February 6, 1981, Manuela was home alone. Her husband tried contacting her from the hospital to check in and converse before going to bed. He wasn’t able to reach her so he called Manuela’s mother to ask if she was around. She told him she hadn’t heard anything from her. Out of concern, she went to her daughter’s home to see if everything was alright.
When she arrived, she stumbled upon a ghastly scene. Her daughter had been savagely beaten to death while still in her sleeping bag in the master bedroom. She screamed in sheer terror and immediately notified the police. Upon their arrival, they quickly escorted the distraught mother away from the crime scene and taped off the area with yellow caution tape to begin their investigation.
- Hours prior to the murder at 11:00 at night, a woman living directly behind Manuela arrived home and found her deadbolt for the main door had been unlocked.
- Manuela was raped before she was viciously murdered. There had been ligature marks around her wrists and ankles, and her cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the skull. However, as reminiscent of the previous murder case, the material used for binding and the murder weapon had been removed from the crime scene. The police noticed pry marks on the sliding glass doors where the murderer made his forceful entry with a flathead screwdriver with brown paint on it that was left behind. Additionally, burnt wooden matches were littered throughout the home and family garage; the same type of matches had reportedly been found at the murder scene of Dr. Robert Offerman and Dr. Debra Manning on December 30, 1979. There were also shoe impressions in her backyard that appeared to be “Tred 2” racquetball-style print.
- The assailant had stolen a lamp and crystal curio, both of which weighed approximately nine pounds each. Furthermore, a tape recording from the family’s telephone machine was missing. According to those investigating the murder, the home seemed as if it had been purposefully but poorly staged as a burglary. From their judgment, they suspected Manuela knew her rapist and murderer personally.
- Due to the strangeness of this murder and the notable differences from previous attacks affiliated with the Original Night Stalker, the two cases weren’t linked until years later when forensic evidence from DNA connected the two together. You can read more from this very brief newspaper clipping. Once it was proven the Original Night Stalker raped and murdered Manuela, the question is why? He deviated from his modus operandi and attacked a woman home alone. Did he go off course or was he planning to murder her husband as well, only to find he wasn’t present?
Greg Sanchez and Cheryl Smith-Domingo
Five months had gone by before the Original Night Stalker returned to where it all began on July 27, 1981, in Goleta, California. Cheryl Domingo’s aunt had been living a half-mile away from where Dr. Robert Offerman and Dr. Debra Manning was murdered. Though two years had flown by since the unexpected tragedy, a sense of unease and paranoia clouded her mind regularly. Due to that, she had put her residence up for sale. Meanwhile, Cheryl would occasionally house-sit until the property could be sold. On the night of the murders, her boyfriend, Greg Sanchez was accompanying her even though their relationship had been rocky with them frequently breaking-up and mending the relationship.
Earlier in the afternoon on July 26, 1981, John Sullivan, the real estate agent in charge of selling the property, had a potential buyer who wanted to look at the residence. During this scheduled event, another male adult had arrived unexpectedly. Nevertheless, the agent didn’t consider it much of a roadblock and let him check out the property as well. The following afternoon, John Sullivan had appointments with more prospective buyers. As he was providing a tour, he opened the door to the master bedroom and when he did a horrific sight was unearthed. Cheryl Domingo was lying hogtied and motionless on the bed, and Greg was partially nude with the lower part of his body protruding from the closet doorway.
- According to Richard Shelby, the unexpected prospective buyer who showed up during John’s scheduled appointment had removed the screen from the bathroom window in order to unlock a bathroom door to sneak inside later that evening. It’s unclear how he comes to this conclusion because it has never been determined that the random visitor was the killer.
- While the real estate agent was guiding the family around the home shortly before discovering the grizzly crime scene when he opened the master bedroom door the family’s three-year-old son peeked his head inside and saw the gruesome scene. It’s allegedly rumored the child was so traumatized by what he saw that he didn’t speak or utter a single word for nearly a year.
- The crime scene painted a clear picture of what transpired during the murders. Greg and Cheryl had been sleeping in bed when he had heard strange noises emanating from the bathroom. While he was getting out of bed to check on the sound he encountered the murderer in the bedroom doorway. He was quickly shot in the face causing him to fall back into the closet. The wound was not fatal but the assailant had quickly run to Greg and used a blunt-force object to hit him twenty-four in the face and skull. Subsequently, he removing hanged clothes and draped them over his head. Afterward, he focused his attention on the petrified girlfriend, Cheryl. Though Greg was not discovered to be bound because of the abrupt attack, Cheryl’s body indicated she had been hogtied which was the first time for any victim. This double-homicide was suspected by many to be the work of the Original Night Stalker but it wasn’t confirmed until DNA-evidence proved it in May of 2011.
- A local resident nearby stated on the night of the murders he had witnessed a man standing behind a tree at 9:45 p.m. when he realized someone was watching him. Fifteen minutes later a married couple on a leisurely walk around the neighborhood reported they were being followed by a young white male with shaggy blond hair down to his neck. He was approximately 5’11 and very thin. Moreover, during the murders between 3:15-3:30 in the morning, many surrounding residents heard a single gunshot being fired, but nobody thought to call the police. However, one witness claimed to see a young white male with a dog jogging away from the murder scene.
The Lost Years
In a strange turn of events, the Original Night Stalker disappeared for five years after murdering Greg Sanchez and Cheryl Dominguez. It’s unknown what transpired in this interval of time. Nevertheless, speculations and theories went rampant. Law enforcement considered the likelihood of the reprehensible murderer becoming complacent and bored with his atrocious crime spree due to the prolonged gap in-between the murders. Others speculated the possibility the individual required an out-of-state job or even a possible stint in prison for a lesser charge. Some people even suggested he ended up in a mental facility for an extended period of time.
Regrettably, nobody has an accurate answer to his sudden disappearance. However, though he wasn’t apprehended in this five-year period, communities in Southern California were beginning to feel comfortable in their neighborhoods again. The sense of paranoia and untrustworthiness amongst others were fading away and life was seemingly back to normal. The dark and gloomy cloud looming over the Original Night Stalker’s hunting grounds started to disperse, and lives of surviving family members were beginning to put their broken hearts back together and find a sense of peace and closure. Unfortunately, this newfound peace shared within many residents unexpectedly shattered when on May 4, 1986, the murder of an eighteen-year-old girl sent waves of terrified panic across the town of Irvine, California.
Janelle Cruz, an eighteen-year-old cashier at Bullwinkle’s Pizza, was at home with a male friend on the night of Sunday, May 4, 1986, while her family was vacationing in Mexico. During their get-together, they began hearing unidentified noises occurring outside of Janelle’s bedroom window. They laughingly joked and shrugged the incident off, dismissing the sound as a pestering cat. Soon after, another startling sound echoed from inside the family garage and they blamed the sound on the washing machine.
Some time had passed since any abnormal noises were made and the male friend decided it was time to go back home at approximately 10:45 p.m. Afterward, nothing seemed amiss. The following evening at 5:00 p.m. a real estate agent who had been scheduled to present a tour for a prospective buyer at the Cruz’ home arrived at the residence to make the necessary preparations. He knocked on the front door multiple times but didn’t receive an answer. Nonetheless, he made is way inside anyway and was making sure things were tidied up before presenting the home. That’s when he stumbled upon the deceased body of Janelle Cruz sprawled out diagonally across her bed with a blanket draped over her. The sight stupefied the real estate agent and sent him into a hysterical fit of emotion as he swiftly alerted the police.
- Unlike previous murders where the Original Night Stalker was learning to make less of a mess in terms of blood spatter, this murder had Janelle’s blood found in many sections of the home, including the kitchen floor and cabinets, near the front door, wooden shutters on the inside of the windows, and her bedroom. More information can be found in this newspaper clipping.
- The police found blades of grass on the bed where Janelle was raped and murdered. They discovered shoe impressions when they examined the yard. They theorized the sound Janelle and her male friend heard stemmed from the Original Night Stalker preparing for his attack.
- It may not be entirely important in the grand scheme of things, but the residence of Janelle Cruz had an insurance policy with Frederic Sauer Insurance Agency; the same insurance held on Dr. Robert Offerman’s home.
- Prior to Janelle’s untimely murder, she had spent a significant amount of time in two separate psychiatric hospitals due to overwhelming emotional stress.
- Sickening rumors circulated following Janelle’s death. In particular, people were spreading illegitimate stories that Janelle had been molested by her step-father and numerous people affiliated with the military, one of which was a Marine stationed at El Toro. He lived less than a mile away from Janelle (and close to Manuela Witthuhn) and owned a business marketing dental supplies with his wife. Furthermore, shortly before Janelle’s murder, she had spent a total of $2,000 dollars on dental work.
- When the police conducted their investigation searching for a possible motive for the murder, Janelle’s good friend, Greg, told investigators about a man referred to as the “Kitten Man.” This person was supposedly meant to meet Janelle at her home the evening of her death to bring over a few kittens for her to choose to have as a pet. Apparently, Greg had met this individual at the local swimming pool. When he approached him for a conversation, the man tried avoiding him and refused to speak. Greg sensed something suspicious about the man and promptly told Janelle to stay away from him. More oddities surrounding the alleged “Kitten Man” came to the forefront during this investigation. Supposedly, Greg had attended the same high school as him (Woodbridge High). Moreover, a woman named Amber (but often referred to as Bambi) was friends with “Kitten Man.” Years later post-graduation, rumors began surfacing stating Amber became pregnant by an unknown individual. Eventually, due to their friendship, she had temporarily moved in with “Kitten Man,” who lived on the Marine Core Air Station base. The mysterious “Kitten Man” was finally identified by Janelle’s younger sister, Michelle Cruz, in 2016 and subsequently ruled out as a suspect.
- The sudden murder of Janelle Cruz was the Original Night Stalker’s last known victim. As to why he suddenly appeared and disappeared in the blink of an eye is not clear. There had been no more reported subsequent assaults and murders. Five years later in 1991, the seventh rape victim received a prank phone call. It was determined to be the East Area Rapist due to voice analysis. In 2001, the fourteenth rape victim received a phone call believed to be from the notorious serial killer. This has confused law enforcement and amateur sleuths for years. How could someone so active for ten years suddenly stop but reemerge in 1991 and 2001 to make a phone call? Was he still active but the crimes were somehow not linked? Did he have a family that took up his time? Could he have been in prison for a lesser charge? Was he out-of-state? Nobody knows, and the questions will remain lingering until he is identified and arrested if he is still alive.
It’s Far From Over
This officially concludes my series on the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker. I have to thank everyone who invested their time in reading and sharing my entries. Your generosity, support, and overall kind words and dedication helped motivate me to continue writing these posts. Though my series has ended, the story of the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker hasn’t. This monstrous criminal has yet to be identified and apprehended. It’s important to spread awareness for this case that has largely gone under the radar. Whether this person is alive or dead, the case still has a chance to be solved.