Between 1976 and 1986 the East Area Rapist is believed to have killed at least 12 people, raped over 50 women and robbed over 120 residences in and around the East Bay Area and Sacramento, California. The serial killer remains at large, police have no idea who he is. Now, 40 years after he first struck, the FBI wants the public's help to solve this cold case. And they're offering a reward of $50,000 for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man behind the crime streak.
"The sheriff's department never gave up on this investigation," said Detective Paul Belli of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. "This person ruined a great number of lives, and he should be held accountable."
If he is still alive, the FBI estimates the killer is between age 60 and 75.
The East Area Rapist, also known as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, is described as being a white male, close to 6 feet tall, with blond or light brown hair.
Investigators have also matched his DNA to various crime scenes, which they believe will help them link or eliminate suspects.
During the time he was operating in Sacramento the East Area Rapist struck fear and anxiety into the community. "Everyone was afraid," said Special Agent Marcus Knutson, who was born and raised in Sacramento and now heads the FBI's portion of the investigation. "We had people sleeping with shotguns, we had people purchasing dogs. People were concerned, and they had a right to be. This guy was terrorizing the community. He did horrible things."
Cold Case Clues
In their statement the FBI said It is known that the East Area Rapist took things from crime scenes, coins and jewelry in particular. The public is asked to be mindful of that. "We know that our guy took items," Knutson said. "So if for some reason people--whether their family member is deceased or they're cleaning out a storage unit--come across a weird collection of items such as women's ID's, rings, earrings--anything that's out of the ordinary--it could be significant."
Burglaries and rapes began occurring in the eastern district of Sacramento County--hence the name East Area Rapist--in the summer of 1976. The cold case subject ransacked homes and took coins, jewelry, and identification. Neighborhood burglaries were often followed by a series of sexual assaults. Then, on February 2, 1978, Brian Maggiore and his wife, Katie, were on an evening walk with their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood when they were chased down and murdered.
If he is caught and convicted the first victim doesn't want the serial rapist to get the death penalty.
"I don't want him to be dead because I think that would be the easy way out for him," she said. "I'd rather him be tried and convicted and spend the rest of his life in prison."
Listen as she recalls her assault.
Richard Shelby, the original investigator of the crimes, wrote a book chronicling the hunt for the East Area Rapist called Hunting a Psychopath.