The Original Night Stalker & Catching Zodiac

I have mentioned in passing once or twice that before Richard Ramirez, there was a killer called the Original Nightstalker aka the East side Rapist.

And yesterday the news was buzzing with the announcement that 42 years after he committed his first rape, they had caught him.  He killed 12 and was responsible for 45 rapes.  That is no small feat.

By the mid-1980s he had taken a back seat to other serial killers and world events.  He never achieved the infamy of The Zodiac.  However, that didn’t mean he wasn’t still a wanted man.  But no new crimes meant no new evidence and no new leads and the case was well and truly cold by the 1990s, despite it’s place as an unsolved serial killer case.

This case, like The Zodiac, most people had written off.  Even with DNA it would never be solved and then low and behold it was.  The news announced he was a retired police officer.  I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not entirely sure I am.  As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t really surprise me to learn in five years or so that The Zodiac was also a police officer.  Or that Jack the Ripper was a constable.

As a matter of fact, police are in the best position to be serial killers.  Not that many are, but if you were going to get away with it for 42 years or longer, being a police officer certainly helps…. Because you know how the police collect and store evidence and what not to leave behind more than the average person does.

Plus, people just don’t suspect police officers of being serial killers.  They just aren’t the demographic we think of when looking for serial killer suspects.  Police academy wash outs are more likely to be serial killers than cops.  So while the news wasn’t surprising, in the “OMG he was a cop!” sort of way, it was surprising in the “of all the men in the world who could be serial killers…” kind of way.

This gives people like me a touch of hope that maybe in my lifetime, The Zodiac will be caught.  By now, he’s too old to be an active serial killer, but I would like to see him arrested and at least put on trial for his crimes if he is still alive and if he isn’t, then at least unmasking him will give everyone some closure.  However, the guy they caught was 72… Zodiac may have been killing in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, which means there is a chance he’s still alive.  He’d be 80+ years old, but alive is alive.

It’s taken us just 60 years to go from discovering DNA to being able to check for things like touch DNA evidence.  Fifty some years might sound like a long time, but it really isn’t.  My aunts and uncles are older than the discovery of DNA and DNA evidence.  So just imagine what we will be able to do with DNA in another 20 years.

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