Suspects

  • Brett Glasby was a local gangbanger in the Goleta, CA area. In spite of intense police surveillance on the young man, investigators were unable to find any evidence to link Glasby to the murders. In 1982, Glasby and his brother were shot to death on a fishing trip in Mexico, presumed to have been motivated by drugs. After Glasby’s death, investigators were allowed to search his family home, but there was no evidence tying Glasby to the crimes there either. Janelle Lisa Cruz’s murder in 1986 more or less ruled out Glasby as a suspect.

  • Joe Alsip, a close friend and business partner of Lyman Smith, was charged with the Smiths’ murder when a priest claimed that Alsip had confessed to the crime during a counseling session. The only evidence, aside from the priest’s testimony, was a fellow inmate’s testimony that Alsip had also confessed to the murders to him. The charges were dropped. Later DNA evidence also substantiated that Alsip was not the killer.

  • Paul “Cornfed” Schneider, a career criminal with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood was also implicated as a possible suspect. Most lead investigators within the case considered Schneider to be a long shot, since the Schneider would have only been 14-years-old at the time of the first East Area Rapist attacks. More than likely DNA would have positively ruled out Schneider, but he refused to allow prison officials to take samples.

Believing that the killer was possibly sentenced to death for another crime, one detective went to San Quentin and collected DNA samples from every inmate on death row. In spite of his exhaustive efforts, no matches were found to match the killer’s DNA.

The Visalia Ransacker

Police sketch of the Visalia Ransacker suspect, believed to have been the precursor to the East Area Rapist attacks.

Police sketch of the Visalia Ransacker suspect, believed to have been the precursor to the East Area Rapist attacks.

Some believe that the Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist was the same man responsible for a number of successive burglaries around the Visalia, CA area throughout 1974 and 1975. The burglar was known for breaking into homes, vandalizing the interior, then taking only small items before fleeing the scene.

Only two other crimes in the area were attributed to the Ransacker. The first involved the murder of Prof. Claude Snelling, who was shot and killed when he attempted to stop a masked man, believed to have been the Ransacker, from kidnapping his daughter from her bedroom.

After Snelling’s murder the police began to heavily patrol the area. One evening a man was seen walking through a Visalia neighborhood and Det. William McGowen attempted to stop the man for questioning. As McGowen approached the man he pulled out a gun and shot at him. Fortunately for Det. McGowen, the only fatality that evening was a flashlight.