Clues Sought in Unsolved East Area Rapist Case

Although four decades have passed since a prolific serial rapist and murderer terrorized California communities from Sacramento to Orange County, the FBI and local law enforcement announced a national publicity campaign today—and a significant reward—in the hopes of locating the suspect and finally bringing him to justice.

Video Transcript

Between 1976 and 1986, a prolific serial rapist and murderer terrorized California communities from Sacramento to Orange County.

Ray Biondi: Retired Detective, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department: He’s got to be one of the most prolific criminals when you think of the other murder cases that are connected and all of the rape cases and God know what else we don’t know about.

Dubbed the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer, the elusive man committed 12 murders, 45 rapes and more than 125 residential burglaries.

Sgt. Paul Belli, Homicode Bureau, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department: He’s not concerned about human life. He enjoys the terror. He enjoys inflicting that type of an emotional type pain on people.

Marcus Knutson, Special Agent, FBI Sacramento Division: During that time frame everyone was in fear. 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.

Forty years after the first attack on June 18, 1976, investigators are still seeking clues in the case.

Knutson: The case started in 1976 with the rape of a female in the Rancho Cordova- Carmichael area of Sacramento. His primary entrance into residences was through prying open doors or windows at the rear of the residence. He would then get in, have a ski mask on, and often shine a flashlight in the eyes of the victims.

At that point the victims would be tied up and he would sexually assault the female and ransack the residence, taking small items, small rings coins and other items would be taken, sometimes cash. Whatever he could find.

We know that after he committed his crime, he would jump over the rear fences of residences, running through other people’s backyards, obviously avoiding streets where people would see him. We have multiple reports of people seeing an individual running through their back yard. He would then run toward the levee, run through the fence, get off on the levee, and get onto the parkway where he could easily hide in the bushes or trees and escape capture

We have identified the DNA for East Area Rapist. We just don’t have a face or name for that DNA. So at this point the FBI is assisting our local counterparts—the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and allied partners—with collection of DNA of possible suspects.

So when we go out we identify someone that potentially might be a suspect on this case or a person of interest, what we’re doing is looking the case, looking at who they were, were they in custody at the time of the crimes? What’s their blood type? Any other ways to eliminate them at that point?

If we can’t eliminate them through various other means, we’re then going out and interviewing these people and contacting them and asking for a consensual sample of DNA. That DNA is only compared against our East Area Rapist sample. So we’re doing this all over the United States.

We obtained a $50,000 reward for the arrest, capture, and conviction of the individual responsible for the East Area Rapist series.

Sgt. Belli: It may push somebody over the edge who knows something and kind of provide us that one tip we need. Just like any homicide investigation, our lifelines are people that give us information. It all boils down to people.

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