FBI Special Agent Marcus Knutson

Marcus Knutson, of the FBI's Sacramento Division, is the case agent on the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer investigation.

Video Transcript

If you lived in Sacramento during that time frame you have a story of what happened and where you were and what was going on. Everybody knows about East Terror Rapist/Golden State killer here in Sacramento. During that time frame everybody was in fear. We had people sleeping with shotguns.  We had people purchasing dogs. We had people, um, … I think locksmiths business went way out of control because everyone was changing locks on their doors. People were concerned and they had a right to be. This guy was terrorizing the community.

The case started in 1976. It started on June 18, 1976, with the rape of a female in the Rancho Cordova-Carmichael area of Sacramento. It extended beyond there with 24 different attacks here in Sacramento where rapes of single females and/or the individual would break into the house, attack a couple, and rape the female.

We know that he would pry open windows and doors at the rear of residences, would then enter the residence, would then proceed to the bedroom at the time where either the single female victim or a couple would be in their bedroom asleep, shine a flashlight in their eyes. They would see a dark figure with the ski mask on. He would then bind—have the female bind the male individual. He would then bind the female individual with shoestrings or whatever he could find. He would then proceed to retie the male victim.

At that point the house would be ransacked, small items, small rings, coins, other items would be taken, sometimes cash. Whatever he could find. This individual also had the audacity to go through people’s refrigerators and eat inside their residences while the victims were tied up. He would then go back, grab the female victim and bring her down the hallway, sometimes put plates or cups on the backs of the male victims saying if you move or if I hear these plates fall over, at that point I’m going to come down and kill you.

Obviously that person is concerned about his wife also. The female would be raped in a separate room and then brought back to her male companion or if no one’s there left alone. And then our guy would vanish in the middle of the night. He would just disappear.

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, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, and our southern partners with collection of DNA of possible suspects.

Once we identify an individual that’s potentially a person of interest, what we’re doing is then 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 then only compared against our East Area Rapist sample. We’re doing this all over the United States.

It’s personal for me being a Sacramento native. This is my home. This is where I’m from. And the fact that he did his crimes here and committed his crimes here, I kind of take it personally. And I’m proud of the fact that I’m able to work with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Offices, Contra Costa County, our other allied partners,  to investigate this crime and try to get this guy in custody.

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