Chapter OneJune, 1976 Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County
In May of 1975, twenty-three year old Carey Frank moved to Rancho Cordova to join her father who had retired from the Air Force while stationed at Mather Air Force Base. Her life had been uneventful since moving and except for her job as an insurance rater, her contact with the outside world was minimal.
Like most of the young women living in the twenty-year-old tract, she looked forward to the warm summer nights and blazing hot summer days familiar to the Sacramento area. She was looking forward to trips to South Lake Tahoe and the gambling casinos of Nevada. She loved the pine-tree-studded mountains and the cool waters of the lake. She also planned on several trips to San Francisco where she loved to walk along Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. San Francisco's restaurants, shopping, colorful Chinatown, the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the foggy mornings would be a welcome relief from the sweltering heat.
Carey's thoughts weren't much different from the other young women she had seen in the neighborhood. Soon her thoughts would be exactly the same as theirs. When fear grips a community, all else is forgotten. Soon that fear would be experienced for hundreds of miles and would last for years.
Back in May, Carey thought she was being watched. On several occasions an older, dark, medium-sized American car drove through the neighborhood. Every time the car passed her the driver turned his face away. She told herself that it was just her imagination. Two weeks passed without her spotting the car and she began to relax as her suspicions disappeared. Then she received the hang-up phone calls.
The first one was nothing. Walking past the phone when it rang she casually picked it up. "Hello? Hello?" Only silence. The phone went dead as the caller hung up. Carey looked at the phone, shrugged, and placed the phone back on its cradle, a nothing event that has become increasingly common in our society.
Three days later, Carey was watching television when the phone rang. She picked up the phone expecting to hear her father's voice. He was in Boston on business and wouldn't be home until July.
"Hello? Hello?" Nothing. Just the sound of emptiness and again she heard the caller hang up. Rubbing a sudden chill from her arms, she quickly checked the doors; all locked.
* * *
A shadow emerged from the darkness and moved closer and closer. The moon bathed the figure in its subdued light. It took form, the form of a young man. As he moved closer the face remained featureless. Tennis shoes muffled the sound of his movements as he crept silently into the sleeping neighborhood.
The man disappeared over a backyard fence, a dog barked in the quiet neighborhood, and calmness returned.
Hours later the shadowy form returned and then disappeared back into the darkness.
June 17, 1976
June 17 was the same as any other workday for Carey Frank, except that when she got home, the house would be lonely without her father. She hated it when he was gone for so long: a month so far with two weeks to go. Even though it was nice to be alone, she missed his company in the evenings.
At five o'clock, Carey left her office and drove home anticipating a light dinner, a shower, and going to bed early. No other thoughts entered her mind until she pulled into the driveway of the comfortable, twenty-year-old ranch style home.
Later, she turned on the shower, allowing the water to run as she slipped out of her clothes. She was having menstrual cramps so when she slipped into her bed it felt good. She told herself that if she could get her mind off her stomach, she could sleep, so she tried to lose herself in a romance novel. After reading the same paragraph three times, she gave up.
Soon she fell asleep and the room darkened as the world outside slowly slipped under a dome of twinkling stars.
The moon watching over the quiet neighborhood slowly illuminated the railroad tracks, only two blocks away. The tracks were two ribbons of lights that eventually disappeared into a cave of darkness.
Out of that darkness and into the moon's glow emerged a solitary shadow, which slowly took the shape of a young man. No sound disturbed the stillness as he stepped from one railroad tie to the next, moving closer and closer to the quiet neighborhood and the sleeping woman.
He left the railroad tracks and weaved through the backyards of the neighborhood. Not pausing, he seemed to know the area, drawing closer and closer to Carey, pausing once, briefly, at the backyard fence. Quickly and quietly he entered the yard.
He unzipped the bag he carried with him, removed a cloth mask, and slipped it over his head. A knife, a pair of gloves, and two pieces of short rope were placed on the ground near the bag.
The masked man stood in the shadow of the fence and moved a plastic birdbath under the telephone line and climbed onto the bowl. The blade of his knife flashed in the moonlight as he tried to cut through the line. Unsuccessful, he jumped to the ground and moved toward the back door. Again, the knife flashed as he chipped away the wood from the door lock, then silently slipped into the house. He paused at the doorway, then crept toward the sleeping woman's room.
The hang-up phone calls over the past two weeks were not on Carey's mind. After tonight they would summon a fear that would remain with her the rest of her life, causing her flesh to crawl at the sound of a ringing phone.
The half-naked man silently moved through the house then stood in the doorway of Carey's room, staring at her sleeping figure through the eye holes of his mask.
A tapping sound from the doorway penetrated Carey's dreams and brought her out of a sound sleep. Her bedroom light flashed on, bringing her closer to reality.
She stirred, opened her eyes and looked toward the sound ... tap, tap, tap.
Fear entered her dulled senses as she looked into the eyes of the masked intruder. She could see the knife in his gloved hand as he continued the rhythmic tapping against the doorjamb. His black T-shirt and erect penis drew her attention. She watched in horror as her eyes focused on his penis; she was unable to form thoughts as he leaped at her bed.
Instinctively she pulled the covers over her head to protect herself from an awful nightmare. But the nightmare didn't leave and she felt the weight of his body straddling her legs. The blankets were torn from her face and she stared into the eyes peering at her through the mask and realized this was not a child's dream; it was a living nightmare. The point of the knife pressed against her left temple and blood flowed from the wound and soaked her pillow.
Her ears were ringing as fear pulsated through her body.
"If you make one move or sound, I'll stick this knife in you," she heard him whisper through clenched teeth, "I want to fuck you."
He moved to the side of her bed and pointed his knife at her nightgown.
"Take it off."
His cold eyes were on her as she slid the nightgown over her head and automatically slipped her panties down and off. He paced the room, and then returned to the side of the bed. He pointed to the Tampax between her legs.
"Take it out," he whispered through his mask.
His eyes chilled her as he watched her remove the Tampax and drop it to the floor.
"Roll over!" She turned away from him and rolled onto her stomach. She felt his gloved hands grab her arms and pull them behind her. The rope bit into her wrists, hurting more as he pulled the rope tighter. She heard him move around and then her wrists were tied with something softer than the rope he had brought with him. Carey would learn later that it was a cloth belt from her closet.
"Roll over," he again whispered through clenched teeth.
Her eyes were closed tight to shut out the nightmare, but it remained. Years later the terror would still remain and she would never understand why it wouldn't go away. It wasn't the rape she would remember most vividly, it wasn't the rape that would make her want to scream and leave her trembling, drenched from perspiration, in the middle of the night. It was the terror he left her with. It was the fear that this night she was going to die. And tonight she knew she was going to die.
He touched her breasts with his gloved hands, only briefly, as he continued to push into her. She tried to shut out all thoughts. She just wanted it over. She felt him pull out, and wondered if he had climaxed, although she could not tell.
She fearfully opened her eyes. It was like watching a horrible movie. She wanted to close her eyes again, but still she watched him as he used the sheet to wipe off his penis and then let it slide to the floor.
"Do you have money?" he asked. When she tried to answer, he hissed, "Shut up!" His jaw didn't seem to move inside the tight fitting mask when he talked. His voice was a hoarse whisper, as though he had laryngitis.
He rummaged through the bedroom. She watched as he picked up her hair dryer and approached the bed. His eyes, outlined by the mask, watched, stared, until fear gripped her like a vice. She struggled to catch her breath as he grabbed her feet and tied her ankles together with the cord on her dryer. He tied her bra around her ankles, then left her bed and wandered around her bedroom. He picked up her slip from the floor and again approached the bed. He was still naked; the light colored cloth mask with the two eye holes, however, brought more terror than his naked body. Her eyes focused on the white slip as he twisted it in his hands. She could hear his heavy breathing as he wound the twisted slip around her head to cover her mouth and felt the pressure as he tied it in a knot.
Again he rummaged through the bedroom, and again he returned to the bed and placed the point of the knife near her right eye.
"Don't make a move while I'm here or I will kill you."
She waited, helpless, as he left the bedroom. She heard him rummaging through the drawers in the kitchen.
She heard voices, low whispered voices, believing it was two people talking.
Then, "I told you to shut up!" in a louder whisper. The whispering continued as she heard drawers being opened and closed.
Then she heard nothing. She waited, expecting the masked figure to return. And she waited. She began to struggle, but the bindings on her wrist only dug deeper. The feeling in her hands had left long ago. The slip fell down around her neck and she began to move her feet. The electrical cord and bra fell from her ankles and she swung her feet to the floor. Slowly she inched toward the kitchen, waiting for him to jump at her, expecting him to emerge at any moment. The door to the backyard stood open. She kicked it closed with her foot, only to have it bounce back as the dead bolt prevented it from closing.
She knocked the phone receiver from the wall and frantically tried to reach the dial. The panic grew as she realized she could not reach it. She ran back down the hall to her father's bedroom and knocked his phone off the bed stand. She managed to dial the operator.
Sobbing uncontrollably, she collapsed to the floor and begged for help.
* * *
As the sky lightened, a lone man jogged along the railroad tracks. The sound his tennis shoes made in the loose gravel fell silent as he lost shape and disappeared as though he had never been.
* * *
Deputies arrived at the front door of the Frank home to find it locked so they went to the backyard and entered the house through the open back door.
They found Carey lying on her father's bed, partially covered with the bedclothes. Her hands trembled as they cut the cords binding her wrists. Her hands were cold to the touch from her circulation being cut off and her wrists were raw and red from the bindings.
A quick search of the house and the backyard satisfied the deputies that the rapist had left. Carey was upset and frightened but there were questions the deputies had to ask, and she tried to answer. Remembering the night brought back the fear, stronger now than then. She trembled when she talked, her teeth chattered, as if she couldn't convince her body that she was now safe.
How long had he been in the house? They needed to know. Slowly regaining her strength, she was able to stammer, "Twenty minutes, I guess."
They asked her to describe her attacker.
She explained that when she first saw him she thought it was her dad returning home early, but he wore a mask and had no pants on. She had pulled the covers over her head to try to make him go away, but he didn't. She described him as about five-nine, and explained his mask fit tightly. She described the mask as dirty white or gray with two eye holes and a seam down the front. It didn't have nose or mouth holes, just eye holes and he wore a dark T-shirt. The rapist wasn't a large man; perhaps weighing a hundred and sixty pounds with possibly dark hair as the hair on his legs was dark. She was embarrassed when she told the deputies that the rapist had a very small penis. As the memories of the rape came back to her she started to sob, and trembled uncontrollably. "I thought he was going to kill me."
She was told that a deputy would take her to the hospital and that the nightclothes she had been wearing would need to be kept as evidence.
The deputies explained that investigators would be at the house for awhile, taking pictures and looking for evidence that would help catch the rapist. An investigator would meet her at the hospital to ask more questions.
They tried to show her the compassion she needed. They hated rapists, as most cops do, and tried to keep their personal feelings to themselves although they were sure it was a neighborhood kid.
"I don't know what to do. I'm sorry, I just can't think. He was going to kill me, that's all I could think of. I didn't want to die. I just wish my father were here. I'll have to call him," Carey sobbed.
They watched as she was led to the patrol car and then started taking notes, as Investigators would soon arrive.
Papers were strewn throughout and drawers were ransacked. Carey's purse was lying on the cement in the backyard and the contents were spilled on the lawn. A large block of wood and a plastic birdbath were under where the telephone wire entered the house. Cut marks on the wire indicated an unsuccessful attempt to disconnect the phone and a fresh crack on the base of the birdbath had probably stopped his efforts. Wood shavings on the ground from the doorjamb had been chipped away with a knife.
A Johnson's Baby Oil bottle and two towels balled up in the bathroom would lead investigators to believe the rapist had lubricated his penis prior to awakening Carey Frank. Two pieces of rope brought by the rapist would be an M.O. used to link the rapist to several more rapes over the next four years.
The bed sheets and towels were taken as evidence; however, it wasn't until March 26, 1977 that a request was made to examine the blood and semen stains to determine blood type. As the investigators knew no suspect, this was not an oversight that would have any great bearing on the cases to follow. On May 2, 1977 it would be learned that the rapist was a non-secretor.
In approximately 80 percent of the human population, antigens of the ABO blood typing system are found in other cells of the body, including semen, saliva, perspiration, vaginal secretions, gastric juices, hair, and bones. People in whom this phenomenon occurs are known as secretors and their blood type within the ABO system can be reliably determined from those body substances by means of absorption-elution techniques similar to those used in typing dried blood. All secretors display the presence of H antigens in their body fluids. In addition, people who have Type A blood secrete A antigens; people who have Type B blood secrete B antigens; and those who have Type AB blood secrete both. People with Type O blood secrete only the H antigen. If there is not positive reaction to anti-A, anti-B, and anti-H sera, the individual is not a secretor. People are secretors or non-secretors from birth and never change from one status to the other.
A year after the rapes began it was learned that the rapist was somewhere within twenty percent of the population. Not enough to give the investigators goose bumps, but it did narrow the field down to somewhere around two million potential suspects. This known fact about the rapist was used to eliminate hundreds of possible suspects. The lack of fingerprints left at the rape scenes would, however, baffle investigators for years.