Chilling audio released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering new details in the manhunt for the elusive “Golden State Killer” who police say committed at least 12 homicides and 45 rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s.
The FBI released the audio along with a $50,000 reward Wednesday in hopes of capturing the serial killer who was known by at least four nicknames; including the “East Area Rapist,” the “Original Night Stalker,” the “Diamond Knot Killer,” and finally “Golden State Killer.”
During the time he was known to be operating between 1976 and 1986, he struck fear and anxiety into communities across the state.
“Everyone was afraid,” said FBI Special Agent Marcus Knutson, in a statement. “We had people sleeping with shotguns, we had people purchasing dogs. People were concerned, and they had a right to be. This guy was terrorizing the community. He did horrible things.”
In addition to supplying the reward money, the FBI is assisting local investigators by following leads all over the country, Knutson said.
One of the victims recalled the terrifying moment she awoke in the middle of the night with a man’s hand over her mouth.
“I pretended to be knocked out so he would quit hitting. I got a sock stuffed in my mouth, blindfolded, gagged, hands tied, legs tied,” said the unidentified woman. “He put me back in bed and said, ‘If you move, I’m going to kill you.”
“You’re laying there thinking you’re going to die,” she said.
The victim recorded a haunting message from the attacker following the attack.
“I’m gonna kill you. Gonna kill you. Gonna kill you,” he breathes into the phone.
The masked rapist, armed with a gun, would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He often took souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry, from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.
Authorities said if he is still alive, the killer would be approximately 60 to 75 years old. He is described as a white male, close to six feet tall, with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build.
Investigators are urging the public to provide law enforcement with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Information may also be submitted online.