The FBI announced today a reward of up to $50,000 for the identity, arrest and conviction of a person suspected in 12 killings and 45 rapes in California, 12 of which occurred in the Bay Area.
Saturday is the 40th anniversary of the first offense of a man the FBI is calling the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer. The FBI named him the East Area Rapist because the attacks began in the eastern part of Sacramento County.
He is described as white and probably 60 to 75 years old now. He is alleged to have killed and raped people between 1976 and 1986, according to the FBI.
The attacks occurred from Sacramento to Orange County and east to Modesto and Stockton. His victims were 13 to 41 years old. The victims included women who were home alone, women at home with their children and couples.
He’s also suspected in more than 120 home burglaries, FBI officials said.
The 12 rapes in the Bay Area occurred in 1979 in Concord, Walnut Creek, unincorporated Contra Costa County, Fremont and San Jose. Between 1976 and 1978, he is alleged to have killed two people and sexually assaulted 24 in Sacramento County.
The attacks stopped temporarily for five years in 1981. Then in 1986, the suspect allegedly raped and killed an 18-year-old woman in Irvine.
All of the offenses are linked by details at the scene or DNA evidence. The FBI is asking the public to come forward with any suspects.
Innocent people will be quickly identified because their DNA can be tested through a non-invasive process, according to the FBI.
Law enforcement is aiming to saturate the nation with information about the suspect because people who knew him may have moved, Sacramento-area FBI spokeswoman Gina Swankie said.
Authorities have continued to work on the case and the 40th anniversary is another opportunity to bring it to the attention of the public, Swankie said.
The burglaries and rapes began in the summer of 1976 and ended in February 1978 in the Sacramento area. The suspect would ransack his victim’s homes and steal small items such as jewelry, coins and identification. The burglaries in a neighborhood usually preceded clusters of sexual assaults, according to the FBI.
The suspect shot and killed Air Force Sgt. Brian Maggiore and his wife Katie on Feb. 2, 1978, as they were taking a walk with their dog in Rancho Cordova. The suspect chased them and overcame them and then shot them at close range, FBI officials said.
In the killing of couples, the suspect would tie them up, rape the woman and then kill both.
The suspect is described as roughly 5 feet 10 inches tall with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build. He may have had military or police training or an interest in that type of training because he was proficient with guns, according to the FBI.
Anyone who may have information about the case should ask himself or herself whether they lived in an area where one of the attacks occurred and whether they remember a person who matches the physical description of the suspect, according to the FBI.
FBI officials said people who knew the suspect may not think he was capable of the attacks and the suspect may not have been outwardly violent or had a criminal history. Anyone who discovers a friend or family member with a hidden collection of jewelry or coins may want to report the person to the FBI.
Members of the public can find more information about the case on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and www.fbi.gov/eastarearapist. Podcasts will be available and radio public service announcements are being made.
The suspect has also been called the Original Night Stalker and Diamond Knot Killer.
Anyone with information about the suspect is being asked to call (800) CALL-FBI (225-5324) or submit the tip to tips.fbi.gov.