The men and women who work in the field of forensic science are always discovering new ways to use available evidence and piece together clues that will bring criminals to justice. What we are able to learn using DNA samples was unheard of a generation ago, and is allowing us to revisit some cases that have gone unsolved for decades. This is certainly true with developments that were just revealed concerning a 1981 case out of Santa Barbara County, California.
Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez were killed in Goleta, California thirty years ago and their killer has never been found. However, a string of other crimes that fit the same pattern were assumed to be done by the same person, dubbed first the East Area Rapist and then the Original Night Stalker when he started killing his victims, over the course of several years. DNA samples recently taken from evidence collected from the Domingo and Sanchez crime scene, which could not have been tested during the 1980s because the technology was not available yet, have now been linked to four other cases. Members of law enforcement believe, though, that he may be linked to as many as fifty victims.
The last attack fitting the chosen method of the Original Night Stalker was done in 1986, so it is unclear whether or not this person is still alive. I do hope that if he is still walking this earth, that our wonderful new advancements in the pursuits of criminals will bring him to justice.
Even if he remains elusive, this guy has already helped solve many other cold cases as his crimes led to the California legislature passing a law that established the state’s DNA database, which is now considered to be one of the most extensive and valuable in the country.