There really are living breathing monsters among us, it could be your neighbor, someone you see at the gym it could literally be anyone. A monster reared its ugly head on the residents of greater Los Angeles in June 1984 until August 1985 when a serial killer dubbed the Night Stalker was on a sweeping killing and raping spree. The citizens were on guard 24/7 and paralyzed with fear, the Night Stalkers reign of terror had everyone shaken to their core. Throughout the series you will hear Richard Ramirez talking with detectives after he is in custody, and just hearing his voice will make your blood run ice cold.
The Netflix Docuseries The Hunt for a Serial Killer/Rapist is about Richard Ramirez the Southern California Night Stalker. This series is so well done and addicting I watched it all in one sitting and I promise that it will scare the living daylights out of you. It is told by the two lead detectives on the case Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo. They take you on a day-by-day minute by minute hunt for the killer.
The bone-chilling and gory crime scene photos, interviews with the victims’ families will have you overcome with dread and fear, and even though this all happened 37 years ago it might as well have been last week. Watching this series gave me goosebumps the entire time, and I constantly kept thinking are my doors and windows locked, I was watched in the middle of the night which did make it even more hair-raising and scary. For the full affect you should consider watching in late at night. Plenty of eerie music, lots of great camera work and shot filters, it all sets the perfect tone for the story that is being told and you know something evil is lurking in the shadows.
The partnership between Detectives Salerno and Carrillo was a little unusual at first, Detective Salerno had solved the Hillside Strangler case, he figured out it was two killers not one that they were looking for, Detective Carrillo was not as seasoned and had only been on the force nine years at the time but was successful and always had spot on hunches. They learned to collaborate with each other and respect each other’s ideas and thought process and that is what brought this year long case to a close. As Salerno and Carrillo take you through each horrible murder or attack you feel as though you are right there with them examining the crime scene and looking for clues, you can feel same horror and frustration that they felt all those years ago. You can almost hear the blood-curdling screams coming from each victim.
There are many reasons why this serial killer was so hard to catch, the Night Stalker had no victim profile no pattern he followed, his victims were men, women, and children. Ramirez had no specific victim type in mind it was completely random that the police were just running from one crime scene to the next. One day it is a 60-year-old white woman who is murdered the next day it is a 20-year-old Asian woman and the day after an abduction of a 6-year-old girl. Like most serial killers Ramirez did not have a weapon of choice, he used guns, knives, electrical wire, or his bare hands to kill. Another anomaly was that the Night Stalker killed in numerous counties throughout LA. Often serial killers like to stick close to one location that they are familiar with.
Another fascinating perspective is given by 3 journalists who worked the case and up-and-down relationship they had with LAPD, the police did not want to give out information to the public that would alert their suspect that they were on to him, and the reporters were nipping at their ankles for something. It was a balancing act for Salerno and Carrillo to keep the media at bay and the public safe.
One of the killings was in San Francisco and a specific detail that I did not know was that Senator Diane Feinstein then Mayor Feinstein of San Francisco almost blew the case wide open as she held a press conference to make the citizens aware of the murder, she told the public about the one clue that LA Sheriff’s office had kept out of the media, the detectives were livid and had to work that much harder. As it was, they were working 16-hour days without any days off for almost a solid year.
In the end it was a 13-year-old boy who brought down the Night Stalker and this is where I leave you to see for yourself the rest of the story.