This department memo was released Dec. 8. 1977
Long and laborious investigations of the activities of the offender known as the East Area Rapist have developed a great body of subject matter. However, because of the well-thought out modus operandi of the offender, which minimize the chance of accurate observations, very little significant material can be gleaned from the reports of wintesses. This is true not because of the paucity, but because of an over abundance of such reports.
Errors of observation arise from a vaiety of causes. One, for example, derives from the relativity of size - to a short person, another of medium height may appear tall, and vice versa. another is the limited vocabulary of a majority of the population. Thus, the term of "red" may mean scarlet, crimson, vermillion, etc. Odors, too, are particularly difficult to describe. Colors are subject to much variation in reporting because of differences in individual perception and because lighting can cause apparent shifts in color characteristics. And finally, there is an extreme range of individual ability to observe and remember accurately.
In this case, the subject has been said to between 5'6 and 6'0, with short blondish to dark long hair, driving many different makes and models of vehicles. The reported license numbers which have been checked out have invariably led up blind alleys.
The task of following up on each lead in this welter of dubious information is obviously time consuming and non-productive. An alternative methodology is proposed herein - one which starts with the end event, the attack on the victim and works backward. The key feature of this approach is the formulation of a hypothesis as to the EAR's mode of operation and the selection of data from the huge body of investigative material which will support elements of the hypothesis. If a coherent explanation can be arrived at, it can be tested experimentally and either confirmed or discredited.
In studying the temporal distribution o the EAR cases, the median rather than the arithmetic mean ("average") was used. A few extreme cases - one of car theft in the early evening hours and others in which the subeject deviated from his usual pattern to take advantage of special situations such as the absence of parents or husbands would have distorted the "average". The median gives a more typical value, in that it lies in the exact center of the distribution and ignores the cases at the ends. The average deviation was calculated to give the expected range around the median.
In this case the median time was found to be 0325 hours, the range from 0240 to 0430 hours. There are 1:1 odds that the EAR will strike in the one hour and fifty minute span included in the range.
The day of the week distribution indicates that 13 of the 27 attacks took place on Friday or Saturday. Since the ods are 50-50 for both events occurring separately, the chances of their occurring simultaneously are 1/2 x 1/2 or 1/4. Thus, the odds are 1:3 that an attack will take place on a Friday or Saturday between the hours of 0240 and 0430.
However, even these odds offer operational advantages since a concentrated surveillance effort can be mounted for three hours and forty minutes out of 168 hours for the full week. In terms of time and cost, this represents a reduction of 45 times.
The geographical distribution of EAR attacks shows some puzzling factors, but others which may be of tactical value. Cases 1, 3, 6, 7, 15 and 24 are in the Rancho Cordova Area. Except for #24, they are rather thgtly grouped. Since this is the scene of the first operations, it may serve as the prototype of his subsequent depredations. It shows a tendency to return at roughly regular intervals at the outset and then after longer periods. Counting 6 and 7 as one incident, the intervals are 2, 2, 5 and 6 1/2 months.
Numbers 2, 8 and 21 occurred between Fiar Oaks Boulevard and the American River South of Arden Way. The same tendency to a lengthening frequency is evident here, though on a smaller scale. Here the intervals are 3 1/2 and 7 months.
The same observations apply to the territory bounded by Manzanita Avenue, Auburn, and Surise Boulevards, Greenback Lane and Madison Avenue, the locus of #5, 9, 12 and 19. Intervals: 1, 1 1/2, 3 3/4.
A neighborhood near Folsom, between Main Avenue and the American River was the site of #16 and 20, which were 1 3/4 months apart.
The area enclosed by Fair Oaks Boulevard and Manzanita Avenue and Madison and San Juan Avenues, saw incidents 4, 10, 13 and 17, separated by 3 1/2, 1 2/3 and 2 1/4 months.
Between Watt and Howe Avenues, U.S. 50 and the American River attacks 11, 18 and 27 took place, 4 and 6 months apart.
Single incidents, #25 in Foothill Farms and #26 in Carmichael are removed from the main concentrations and may represent the nuclei of new cluster of assaults.
The average time span between attacks in these major groupings is about two months. However, there is little interval regularity within groups; about the best that can be said is that the first incident in a new area is generally followed by another in two months or less.
The monthly pattern is continuous from the middle of 1976 to May 17, 1977. Then on May 28, the incident in South Sacramento came to light, which up until then, had been completely outside the habitat of the EAR. The situation remained quiet for over three months when the subject resurfaced in Stockton.
The location of these two incidents suggest that the offender left his usual haunts for some reason, the exact nature of which cannot be determined at present. It seems that this excursion was a one-time event and probably will not be repeated. At any rate he returned and started functioning again on his old turf on October 1, 1977.
Case #28 occurred after the material for this study was gathered. It is therefore interesting to speculate on the degree it could have beed anticipated on the basis of the foregoing statistical analysis. The time - 11:30 pm - is outside the predicted probable range. However, the location is in an area suggested as one far likely exploitation by the subject (the neighborhood of #25) and the day of the week - Friday - is one favored in the past.
VEHICLES: As noted before, almost every vehicle in the Blue Book has been sighted near the scenes of the crimes. However, the only one that recurs with any degree of consistency is a Volkswagen. Two days before an attack, a neighbor observed an old VW, dark green with gray rear wide fenders and wide tires parked in the field behind the residence at about 6 pm. A neighborhood resident of the another victim saw what he described as a silver blue VW without lights sometime after 4 am leaving the area. An investigative officer measured the width of the tire tracks and found them to be 4'9". In another case, footprints led across two fences to a dirt area, where tire tracks were found. These tracks measured 4'3" center to center. According to the officer who made the measurements, VW wheels are 4'4 3/4" apart in the front and 4'3 3/4" in the rear. Assuming that the vehicle does have wide tires, and the measurements were from the edges of the tread instead of from the center, the two observations could be reconciled. In the Stockton incident, a witness heard what he identified as a VW engine start soon after the interloper left his house.
The EAR also has an apparently extensive wardrobe of informal clothing, and a wide assortment of knives, handguns and flashlights.
HYPOTHESIS AS TO M.O.
A hypothesis is defined as an unproved theory tentatively accepted to provide a basis for further investigation. Modifications in the original thesis may be necessary as the investigation proceeds. However, effort within the framework of the hypothesis generally give superior results to activity on an undirected basis.
From a reading of the reports the following impressions were gained:
1. The first few cases of the EAR sem to have been conducted on an individual, somewhat opportunistic basis. His attacks were confined to cases of young girls he had apparently determined to be in defenseless situations. Later he refined his technique and began to attack married couples. The remarks below apply to his operations in this later phase of his development.
2. He seemingly finds a neighborhood to his liking in which there is a home for sale or under construction. These specimens may be studied for such features as floor plans, locations and types of window and door locks, etc.
3. Preferably there should be an open field, schoolground, levee, or concrete-lined ditch at rear of the development. His getaway through such areas is attended by only negligible chances of being spotted in the early hours of the morning.
4. He next spends sometime in prowling and/or burglarizing in the neighborhood, perhaps picking out a suitable victim, studying her and her familiy's habits, and further familiarizing himself with the interior of the house or houses he intends to break into.
5. In this intelligence gathering activity he studies several residences so that he may operate in the neighborhood at a later date with a minimum of reconnaisance.
Real Estate Operations - In one case there were two nearby homes for sale. This was also true in the Stockton incident. In another incident, a Century 21 was directly opposite the victim's house. A neighbor of another victim was showing his own home for sale. About two weeks prior to the attack, a prospective purchaser inspected the house. He purportredly was transferring from Las Vegas to McClellan AFB. He is described as being in his 20's, thin, blond, with "short" haircut and blue eyes. Two signs from Kastaros REalty were in the backyard of another victim. It appears the house had been shown earlier. The house of another victim had previously been owned by (redacted) who related that while the house was in process of being put on the market, a very unusual realtor called. According to Mrs. (redacted) he paid no attention to the interior of the house, but inspected the south and west exteriors. He asked her where her husband worked and why her daughter wasn't at home. He is described as extremely well-dressed, light brown hair, darker complexion and medium frame. In the vicinity of another victim, there were several newly constructed and unsold homes. There was a vacant residence (condominium) for lease near another victim's home. The garage window at this location was open. Yet another victim had recently moved into their house, which still bore a "SOLD, Aim Realty" sign at the time of the attack. A neighbor of another victim was was marketing her home through Jones, Brand & Hullin under a multiple listing plan. Another victim's home had just been sold and the victim was planning to join her husband in the Bay Area, where he had already moved. A new home was being constructed next to the home of yet another victim.
This listing is probably not exhaustive in that other instances of real estate or buidling activity may not have been reported.
Nearby Terrain - Unfortunately a compilation of locations abutting open areas was not made. From memory only, it seems that a preponderance of victim's homes offerned escape route through open fields, schoolgrounds, parking lots of apartment complexes, the levees of the American River, or concrete lined drainage ditches.
Prowling: There is scarcely a case in the file which does not contain mention of suspicious activities near the victims' homes. Prowlers were sighted through windows, footprints found, noises late at night near doors and windows were heard, dogs barked at unusual times, non-response phone calls were received, locked doors were found open, minor burglaries were suffered, etc.
As examples of the many cases of the EAR's preknowledge of the victims' situations, the following may be cited:
(redacted) - father out of town for weekend
(redacted) - father on vacation
(redacted) - sister at friends, parents at Christmas Part
(redacted) - parents out (redacted) - rapist knew family habits and work hours
(redacted) - Husband in Bay Area
(redacted) - husband on business trip
(redacted) - husband just left for work
(redacted) - separated, son visiting father
(redacted) - Parents away for weekend
(redacted) - knew her purse was in car
(redacted) - knew where garage door opener was located
(redacted) - this is the one case in which the offender's intelligence data became garbled. He was certain that the victim attended American River College, however, a neighbor girl, (redacted) who strongly resembles victim, had attended American River College. It is possible that the offender has been in the (redacted) home as well as the (redacted).
(redacted) - Old footprints from wishbone-pattern tennis shoes, which were repeatedly found in other cases, were discovered under bathroom window.
(redacted) - Outside lights on timer. Intruder knew how to turn them off.
(redacted) - Husband started night shift only two days previous to attack.
(redacted) - Suspect stated he'd seen her at Mather Officer's Club, knew her husband was a captain in the Air Force.
Multiple Intelligence Gathering - This characteristic is inferred from the suspect's habit of returning repeatedly to the same vicinity. It seems logical that he would gather the maximum amount of information at one time rather than by a series of individual operations.
The EAR is a WMA in his late teens or early twneties. He is about 5'8" in height with a pale skin, light colored eyes (blue or hazel) moderately long, dark blond or light brown hair and a slender build. He most probably drives an older VW of a nondescript color, slighted under varying lighting conditions and reported variously as dark green, gray or silver blue. It may have expanded rear fenders and wide whells. He has the tendency to return to areas he appears to have familiarized himself with. These areas seemingly can be distinguished by homes up for sale and escape routes where he can avoid detection during the early morning hours .