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Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker

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The Horror begins

Ramirez' first known murder took place on 28 June 1984; his victim was 79-year-old Jennie Vincow, who was viciously sexually assaulted, stabbed and murdered during a burglary in her own home.
His second known case occurred nearly 9 months later, on 17 March 1985, when he attacked Angela Barrios, who managed to escape him, and then killed her flatmate, Dayle Okazaki. Not satisfied with these assaults, he also shot and killed Tsai Lian Yu the same evening, which started a media frenzy that saw Ramirez dubbed the “Valley Intruder” by the press.
27 March saw the murder of 64-year-old Vincent Zazzara, and his 44-year-old wife, Maxine, in an attack pattern that was to be repeated later by Ramirez: the husband was shot first, then the wife was brutally assaulted and was stabbed to death. In this case, he also gouged out Maxine Zazzara’s eyes.

A full-scale police operation yielded no concrete results, and he repeated his attack pattern on pensioners William and Lillie Doi in April. Over the next two months Ramirez’ attack pattern escalated rapidly, to claim another dozen victims in a frenzy of burglary, assault and brutal violence, complete with Satanic rituals, that drove LA into a panic. A dedicated task force was established, comprising of hundreds of officers, and the FBI stepped in to assist, as the press demanded that the police do more to catch the killer.
This relentless media and police pressure, aided with photo-fit descriptions from his surviving victims, forced Ramirez to leave the Los Angeles area in August, and he moved to San Francisco, where he took his first victims, Peter and Barbara Pan, on 17 August. His unmistakeable MO, complete with Satanic symbolism, meant that his “Valley Intruder” moniker was no longer applicable, and the press quickly dubbed him “The Night Stalker”, and each new attack received exhaustive press coverage.
Ramirez’ next attack, on 24 August 1985, led to the identification of his stolen car by the victim four days later. After a televised appeal, the car was found, complete with his fingerprints inside, and his criminal record enabled the police to finally put a name to “The Night Stalker”.