Part 1: Who Are You?

Date Published 04.11.11
I'm obsessed.  It's not healthy.  I look at his face, or should I say someone's recollection of his face, frequently.  I study his jaw; it's pronounced.  His nose is unique.  Big.  Not bulbous, but aquiline.  Maybe it's what I know of the time and place, but his hair, hanging over his ears to his collar, seems so '70s that I can almost hear Lynyrd Skynyrd's "What's Your Name" playing in the background.

I know the strangest details about him.  I know that when he used his real voice, which was rarely, it struck listeners as high-pitched.  I know his blood type (A, non-secretor).  I know his penis size (conspicuously small).  I know that he was lean, built like a runner or swimmer, but that he had big, muscular calves.  He wore a size 9 tennis shoe.

He vaulted fences.  He escaped foot chases.  He often first appeared to people hazily, as they were feeling their way out of a sound sleep, a silent hooded figure at the end of their bed.

His success at escaping detection for the last 35 years seems almost supernatural.

But I believe it's the rare moments when he was human that will be his downfall in the end.

For example:  sometimes, after he violated someone, the bound, blindfolded victim would hear him in another room of the house, sobbing.

Once while he was sobbing he cried out a woman's name over and over again.  Bonnie.

He killed more people than the Zodiac, but he has only a fraction of the Zodiac's notoriety.  His under-the-radar quality --- he moved through a series of mid-sized California towns over the span of ten years --- makes him more terrifying to me.  He didn't need you to publish his letters.  He was too busy jiggling locks and pressing against window screens, testing for vulnerability.

One of his most frightening qualities was his pre-planning.  He would break into homes and unlock windows, hide pre-cut ligatures, take out the bullets in victims' guns.  Then he would leave.  Hours, days or weeks later, during middle-of-the-night attacks, his victims would realize the masked stranger pressing a cold knife to their neck had already been in their house secretly to set up.

EAR-ONS composite 1977

EAR-ONS: The East Side Rapist-Original Night Stalker.  It's an awkward name, befitting a man who crossed jurisdictions, mixed up weapons, and flummoxed law enforcement for decades.

Was EAR-ONS really that good?  Or was he extraordinarily lucky?  I lean toward the latter.  He left behind a collection of odd, but specific, clues.  It's true that his ability to instill terror renders some of those clues unreliable (was it "Bonnie" or "Mommy?").  But I believe there are enough details.  And I'm hopeful.

EAR-ONS's last known murder was in 1986.  Back then he had no idea there would one day come a time when someone could type into a search engine "Bonnie Rancho Cordova 1977" and scroll through the results, each click holding the possibility of unmasking him.

Part 2: The Clues coming soon

The Feed

RT @emilynussbaum: The artful @hodgman's straightforward case for Hillary:
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Know what he does believe in? PAC $. Took 10K from HRC pac 2006. That means he's in her pocket.#BSLogic
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Good one. Unfortunately Bernie on record as not believing in charity.
@johnlevenstein Thanks for asking, btw. That's the kind of elevated discourse missing lately. A lot of mud slinging. #I'mNotAboveItEither
@johnlevenstein Can't convey it all thru Twitter but yes, she has flaws. Too poll-driven, burned needed bridges, trouble owning mistakes.