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The FBI Revives Hunt For 'Original Night Stalker' Serial Killer

nightstalker.jpg
(Courtesy of the FBI)
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Four decades have passed since a prolific serial killer first terrorized California communities, but federal authorities revived the hunt for the "Original Night Stalker" at a press conference Wednesday, where a significant new reward and a national publicity campaign were announced.

The Original Night Stalker (also known as the "East Area Rapist" and the "Golden State Killer") was active between 1976 and 1986. He is unrelated to the other "Night Stalker," serial killer Richard Ramirez, who died in 2013.

Although authorities have DNA for the suspect, his name and face remain a mystery. He began his long crime spree in Northern California, where according to SF Gate, he "forged a trail of terror from Sacramento to San Ramon in the late 1970s, randomly breaking into women's homes and raping them while their husbands were kept silent," eventually coming to be known as the East Area Rapist. Later, he killed as many as ten people in Southern California, according to the L.A. Times. The two crime sprees were eventually linked through DNA evidence in 2001. The FBI reports that the elusive individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries throughout the state of California.

He usually pried his way into homes through back doors or windows, and was known for wearing a ski mask and often shining a bright flashlight in victims' eyes.

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“It was a time of innocence,” Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert told the L.A. Times, speaking of the time before the Original Night Stalker began to terrorize Sacramento. “We didn’t lock our doors at night. We rode our bikes around. In June 1976, all that changed for this community. Our community was taken hostage.”

"If he is still alive, the killer would now be approximately 60 to 75 years old," the FBI said in a press release. "He is described as a white male, close to six feet tall, with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build. He may have an interest or training in military or law enforcement techniques, and he was proficient with firearms."

The FBI and local law enforcement agencies are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest, capture, and conviction of the Original Night Stalker.

Related:
Michelle McNamara, Crime Writer And Wife Of Patton Oswalt, Dies At 46 (The late crime writer was working on a book about the Original Night Stalker)