The latest local news

Family says Delta employees tied woman with MS to wheelchair

WQAD News -

ATLANTA – The Family of a woman with multiple sclerosis are speaking out after they say Delta employees bound her to a wheelchair with a blanket hard enough that it left bruises.

Maria Saliagas needs special straps to help her sit up straight during flights, so her son, Nathan Saliagas, got in touch with the airline to make arrangements before Saliagas’ annual trip from Atlanta to Europe, according to WSB-TV.

When she got to the gate Apr. 1 before the flight to Amsterdam, however, Nathan said Delta employees didn’t have the special chair and instead chose to improvise, using a regular wheelchair.

“They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying,” Nathan said. “That’s when the picture was taken.”

Delta issued this statement to WSB:

“We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.”

The Saliagas, who are due to return to the United States April 30, were offered 20,000 SkyMiles, according to the television station.

Instead of SkyMiles, the family says, what they want to see is an improved policy when it comes to passengers with disabilities.

Ford dropping all but 2 car models from its U.S. and Canadian dealerships

WQAD News -

NEW YORK – Car buyers these days love SUVs. They don’t, however, love actual cars like hatchbacks and sedans –as Ford has learned.

Ford said on Wednesday the only passenger car models it plans to keep on the market in North America will be the Mustang and the upcoming Ford Focus Active, a crossover-like hatchback that’s slated to debut in 2019.

That means the Fiesta, Taurus, Fusion and the regular Focus will disappear in the United States and Canada.

Ford will, however, continue to offer its full gamut of trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

By 2020, “almost 90 percent of the Ford portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles,” the press release says. “The company is also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”

By “white space,” the company is referring to vehicles that don’t fall neatly into the typical categories.

Ford has hinted it might decide to retire much of its sedan portfolio. Earlier this year, James Farley, the company’s president of global markets, said Ford is “shifting from cars to utilities,” which have been a bigger profit driver. It also reallocated $7 billion of research funds from cars to SUVs and trucks.

And it’s not just Ford. Fiat Chrysler did away with the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 more than a year ago. And General Motors decided to scale back production of the Chevy Cruze, Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac ATS and CTS.

Garden experts say it’s still too early to start planting your garden

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF-- It's probably safe to say that we're in the warm temperatures for good now but that doesn't mean you should start planting.

Garden Experts over at Wallace's Garden Center say mother nature is tricky and can still dip those temps back down and harm your plants.

Horticulturist, Juli Hurley, says one of the common mistakes people do this time of year is planting too early, especially when it comes to vegetables. She says it's still too early for tomatoes, peppers, and other warm crops.

"The night time temperatures are still dropping down or we could have a cold snap out of nowhere so I don't recommend people plant their warm crops yet," said Hurley.

According Garden expert Craig Hignight said he doesn't recommend planting for another few weeks. But in the mean time start preparing the garden bed.

"I think it's time to get out there get that step one,  which is  get your crabgrass preventer on the lawn now," said Hignight.

He says the best time to start planting is after Mothers Day on May 15th.

"We can go out and work the soil that's the thing I always tell people this time of the year we're normally getting all kinds of rain you can't dig because you turn the soil into clods if you work it too wet the soil has dried out so we can at least get the beds ready."



Man reveals pay stubs from Sterling, IL employer, which Dept. of Labor says improperly paid workers

WQAD News -

ROCK FALLS, Illinois -- Nearly 250 workers at a Sterling, Illinois nonprofit company may have money coming back to them, after the Department of Labor said the company was not paying them properly.

Self Help Enterprises is a recycling, packing and pallet manufacturer that hires people with disabilities. A recent investigation by the Department of Labor, however, showed that the nonprofit was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Because of the violations, the nonprofit is losing its Section 14(c) certificate, which allowed them to pay workers less than minimum wage; paying them instead based on productivity.

One worker, Jacob Underwood, has been with Self Help for 14 years.

He said he typically works between 25 and 30 hours per week, but said the division he works in doesn't always have work for him to do.

"The area I’m in now, we can go two to three days without work and that makes my paycheck suffer," he said.

"Some of these paychecks I spend more money sending him to work than he makes from these," said his mom Linda Underwood, as she held the stack of pay stubs.

His pay stubs showed inconsistent payment amounts. Some showed he was making about $2 per hour: showing that he had worked about 34 hours and made $70.  But another showed he worked 26.35 hours and made $72.70 before taxes.

"I’m hurt because for one thing this is my son and I have fought for him all his life," said Linda, "and I think they’re doing him wrong... I want to see him get paid for what he's doing."

Jacob said he would like to get into another division of Self Help, where he would have more consistent work and make more money.

"I think it’d be pretty cool to come home and tell my family I made a $200 paycheck," he said.  But his long-term dream is to be a writer.  "I like to write scary stories so maybe someday I’ll be a published writer and I’ll say forget work."


In response, the Executive Director of Self Help Enterprises, Carla Haubrich, issued the following statement:

"Self Help has been a productive agency serving the developmentally disabled workforce for 54 years. We are proud of the services that we offer and the community, family, that we have created for our workforce. We are obviously disappointed in the decision made by the United States Department of Labor, disagreeing with this outcome, but will take all necessary steps to comply with the decision as we pursue our available options to have the matter duly reviewed. At this point, however, until we can meet with the full Board of Directors, with our attorneys and wage consultant, I will have no further comment." 

YOUR HEALTH: An alternative to pills and needles for diabetics

WQAD News -

CARY, North Carolina – Doctors say it's critical for patients to control blood sugar levels to avoid serious complications like kidney, heart or eye damage.

Easier said than done.

But now researchers have found a way to turn a patch into a daily caregiver for those controlling their insulin.

"The bad food is like a pizza," said diabetic Al Brown, a diabetic whose had troubles controlling his blood sugar levels.

"You eat one or two slices and zoom! Up it goes."

For the past 15 years, Al has struggled with Type-2 Diabetes.   He's been on insulin, starting with pills then moving to shots to control his blood sugar.

"You do different things during the day. Maybe you're a little forgetful. There are times when you do forget."

One in ten Americans has diabetes.  One and a half million people are diagnosed every year. 

"If they're on pills, compliance is easier, but if they're on shots before each meal it`s difficult to comply," says endoctrinologist Dr. Sun-Eun Yoo with the Cary Endocrine and Diabetes Center.

Dr. Yoo says an insulin treatment that is easier to administer has become a priority for some patients.   No need to carry a cooler with insulin or needles.

For the past year, Al Brown has been using the V-Go insulin patch.  The V-Go is a small waterproof patch placed on the body.  A patient clicks to deliver a unit of insulin into the skin.

Al Brown is a believer.

"You push it.  That's where the needle penetrates your stomach, if you will.  Pretty painless, really."

Al refills the insulin and changes the patch daily.   He says it's one way to assist him with insulin control and not gamble with his health.

V-GO PATCH:  Even though a patch for insulin was introduced ten years ago, it is not widely available and
doctors may not be prescribing it as often as they should be.   There's baser insulin and then there's meal insulin, and it just combines both functions.  It delivers small amounts throughout the day so it covers baser insulin need.   And then you click the button each time you eat, which covers meal insulin, so you don't have to carry your insulin cooler and needles.

The V-Go is covered by Medicare Part D and doctors say a growing number of insurance companies are now covering the insulin patch.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or  Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Davenport leaders consider new tactic to clean up vacant properties

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT-- PJ Slobojan will do just about anything to keep her pride and joy kept and vibrant. It's her home from the 1860s. On Wednesday she uses a ladder and a fresh coat of paint.

Her neighborhood just north of downtown Davenport used to be the place to be.

"This is the original movers and shakers of Davenport who bought their houses in this area," says Slobojan.

But things have changed. Homes just across the street have lost their color and sit vacant. Throughout the city, more than 800 properties sit vacant.

"Yes, it's really unfortunate, but nothing can be done until someone steps up," says Slobojan.

Third Ward Alderman Marion Meginnis says she's committed to turning these eyesores into homes again. And she has an idea how. It's a way for the city to use the law to take ownership of properties that are abandoned.

"The city goes to court and says to the judge, judge, we believe this property is abandoned, and we are asking you to give us this property," explains Meginnis.

If the court agrees, there's a hearing to decide if it should remain with the property owner or go to the city. If the city wins, they get the property with a clean title.

The law's not new, but it's never been used in Davenport.

Some raise the question of individual property rights being taken away, and some worry the city would get stuck with the vacant properties, creating even more work.

In the meantime, this painter is doing her part.

"If you have a lot of houses that are started on, or you see people working, that gives more incentive to new people who want to buy because they can see progress being made," says Slobojan.

But she can't make the change alone.

Super Mom Sweepstakes

WQAD News -

Is your mom a “Super Mom”?

WQAD News 8, Corn Crib Nursery, Serenity Salon & Day Spa, and Drescher Custom Picture Framing want to surprise your mom with a prize package this Mother’s Day!

Just fill out the form below and tell us why your mom is a Super Mom.  One winner will be selected to win a prize package for their mom including

  • “Dreamer Package” at Serenity Salon & Spa including a 1 hour Massage, Manicure, Pedicure
  • $150 gift certificate for custom framing at Drescher Custom Picture Framing
  • a prize from Corn Crib Nursery TBA

Deadline for entry is Wednesday, May 9th.

For complete contest rules, click here.

Super Mom Sweepstakes 2018 – Official Rules

WQAD News -

Super Mom Sweepstakes 2018 – Official Rules



WQAD News 8 (“Sponsor”) will conduct the Super Mom Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”) in accordance with these Official Rules (“Rules”).  Participation in the Sweepstakes constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Rules.  The Sweepstakes is intended for participation in the United States only and is void where prohibited and outside the Sweepstakes Area set forth below.  Do not participate if you are not eligible and located in the United States at the time of entry.

  1.  Eligibility:  Entrants and their mother must be legal US residents, at least 18 years old or above, as determined by Sponsor and reside in the Davenport, IA – Moline, IL – Rock Island, IL Designated Market Area as defined by The Nielsen Company (the “Sweepstakes Area”). The Sweepstakes Area includes 17 counties in Iowa and Illinois.  In Illinois – Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Rock Island, Mercer, Knox, Henderson, Warren and Knox. In Iowa – Jackson, Clinton, Scott, Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines, and Henry. Employees of WQAD, Corn Crib Nursery, Serenity Salon and Day Spa and Drescher Custom Picture Framing (“Sponsor”), and Tribune Media Company, employees of other television or radio stations, and members of the immediate families of such persons are not eligible to participate and win.  The term “immediate family” includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren, and any other person residing at the same household whether or not related.  Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
  2. Sweepstakes Period: The Sweepstakes begins on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. CT and runs through Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CT (the “Sweepstakes Period”).
  3.  Sweepstakes Entry:  Viewers can fill out the entry form found in the contest section of WQAD.COM.

Limit one entry per person.  Received entries become the property of WQAD News 8 and will not be returned.  Entrants will also be given the option to opt in to receiving additional information from WQAD and from the Sweepstakes prize providers.  Incomplete entries will be disqualified. Multiple entries by means of software-generated or other automated processes will be disregarded.  Detection of said automated entry will lead to such entries being voided in Sponsor’s sole discretion.  Only one registered account per entry.  If multiple accounts are detected for a single entrant, the accounts will be voided and the entries will be disqualified in Sponsor’s sole discretion.  In the event of a dispute as to any registration, the authorized account holder of the email address or account used to register will be deemed to be the registrant.  The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.  Sponsor reserves the right to use any and all information related to the Sweepstakes, including information on entrants obtained through the Sweepstakes, for marketing purposes or any other purpose, unless prohibited by law.  Sponsor reserves the right to contact entrants and all other individuals whose email address is submitted as part of this promotion.

  1. Winner Selection and Notification:  On or about Thursday, May 10, 2018, Sponsor will select three winners by random drawing from among all eligible entries. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. Sponsor will attempt to notify the Sweepstakes winner via telephone or email on Monday, April 23, 2018. Winner must have a valid email address where he or she can be notified.  If the potential winner: (a) is unreachable after seven days, (b) is not in compliance with these Rules, (c) does not meet the eligibility requirements, (d) does not provide required documentation and sign any required documents by the deadline established by Sponsor, or (e) is unavailable for prize fulfillment, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to another winner selected by random drawing from among remaining eligible entries. Sponsor will conduct up to two alternate drawings. If Sponsor cannot find an eligible winner for the prize, the prize will not be awarded.  All results are unofficial until winners are verified.
  2.  Prize:

There is one prize and one winner.  The prize package includes

  • “Dreamer Package” at Serenity Salon & Spa including a 1 hour Massage, Manicure, Pedicure
  • $150 gift certificate for custom framing at Drescher Custom Picture Framing
  • A prize from Corn Crib Nursery TBD

The approximate retail value of the prize is $450.

  1.  Prize Acceptance/Restrictions:   Winner is subject to verification by WQAD of the winner’s name, age, address, phone number, and Social Security number (where the prize value is equal to or greater than $600.00). In order to claim his or her prize, winner must appear in person at the business offices of WQAD News 8, located at 3003 Park 16th Street, Moline, IL during regular business hours by no later than 5 p.m. on Monday , June 11, 2018. Prior to receipt of prize, winner will be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility/Release of Liability and Publicity, and may be required to provide a completed W-9, per Section 9 below.  Prize cannot be redeemed for cash or substituted for any other items by any winner.  Prize is non-assignable and non-transferrable.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a comparable prize of like or greater value, including cash, for prize, for any reason.  Costs of transportation and accommodations, where applicable, and any other cost not specifically included in the prize are the sole responsibility of the winners.  Properly claimed prize will be awarded, provided a sufficient number of eligible entries are received, but in no event will Sponsor award more prizes than are provided for in these Rules.
  2. Publicity Release: By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant acknowledges that his/her entry in the Sweepstakes constitutes that entrant’s consent to use, publish, reproduce and for all purposes, including publicity, promotion and advertising, in any media (including without limitation, the Internet, television or offline promotions), winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state, and any portion thereof, each extending throughout the universe and in perpetuity without further compensation, credit or right of review or approval, except where prohibited by law.
  3. Taxes: Any valuation of the prize stated above is based on available information provided to Sponsor, and the value of prize awarded to a winner may be reported for tax purposes as required by law.  All taxes, including federal, state, and local taxes, are the sole responsibility of the winner.  Any person winning over $600.00 in total prizes will receive a 1099 form from Sponsor at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form should be filed with the IRS.  Winner must provide Sponsor with valid identification, and a valid taxpayer identification number or Social Security number for total prizes valued at $600.00 or more, before prize will be awarded.  Sponsor will have the right, but not the obligation, to require winner to complete and submit an IRS form W-9.  Sponsor reserves the right to withhold prizes until the completed W‑9 form is received.
  4. Conditions: Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this Sweepstakes or any portion hereof, or to disqualify any individual implicated in any of the following actions, if for any reason:  (a) infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, actions by entrants, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which, in Sponsor’s sole opinion, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, (b) the Sweepstakes or any website associated therewith (or any portion thereof) becomes corrupted or does not allow the proper processing of entries per these Rules, (c) the Sweepstakes becomes corrupted due to interruption in wireless calling devices or wireless service for any reason, or (d) the Sweepstakes is otherwise not capable of running as planned.  By entering, entrants represent that they are eligible and agree to be bound by and comply with the Rules and the decisions of any judges, which are final on all matters pertaining to the Sweepstakes.  Any entrant who attempts to tamper with this Sweepstakes in any way or use fraudulent means to participate in and/or win the Sweepstakes will be disqualified.  Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant at any time, for any reason, including, without limitation, language, activities or behavior deemed inappropriate. Sponsor and its advertising and promotion agencies are not responsible for cancellations, postponements, or delays.  Other than the prize received by the winner, no entrant will be entitled to receive any wages, benefits, fees or other compensation whatsoever as a result of participating in the Sweepstakes.  Sponsor will have the sole discretion to administer the Sweepstakes and interpret and apply the Rules.  This Sweepstakes is not intended for gambling.  Neither the failure of Sponsor to insist upon or enforce strict performance of any provision of these Rules nor the failure, delay or omission by Sponsor in exercising any right with respect to any term of these Rules, will be construed as a waiver or relinquishment to any extent of Sponsor’s right to assert or rely upon any such provision or right in that or any other instance. If there is any conflict between any term of these Rules and any marketing or entry materials used in connection with the Sweepstakes, the terms of these Rules will govern.
  5. Indemnification/Hold Harmless: By participating, entrants agree: (a) to release, discharge, and hold harmless Sponsor, Tribune Media Company, prize providers, and their respective affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and all of their officers, directors, employees, representatives, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from all liability, injuries, losses or damages of any kind to persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy (under appropriation, intrusion, public disclosure of private facts, false light in the public eye or other legal theory), defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, death or property damage resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, delivery, possession, misuse or use of a prize (including any travel or activity related thereto), or from participation in and/or entry into or creation of an entry for the Sweepstakes and/or the broadcast or exploitation or use of entry or any other Sweepstakes-related activity; and (b) that the Released Parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation or guaranty, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relating to prize.
  6. Limitation of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible or liable for: (a) any incorrect or inaccurate entry information or other errors in the printing, offering or administration of the Sweepstakes or in the announcement of the prize(s), (b) any error, omission, interruption, defect or delay in operation or transmission at any website, or wireless calling service, interrupted or unavailable network, server or other conditions, (c) failure of any entry to be received by Sponsor due to technical problems, telephone service problems, human error, or wireless calling service, (d) mechanical, technical, computer, hardware or software errors, malfunctions, or failures of any kind, including but not limited to failed, incomplete, garbled, or delayed transmission of entries, traffic congestion, viruses, sabotage, satellite failures, electrical outages, on telephone lines, on the Internet, at any website, or application or lost or unavailable network connections or natural disasters or acts of God or man, which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in the Sweepstakes,  (e) communication line, hardware and/or software failures, malfunction of phones (including wireless phones/handsets), phone lines, other communications malfunctions, unavailable network connections, cellular equipment towers, telephone systems or wireless service, (f) damage to any computer (software or hardware) resulting from participation in the Sweepstakes, or damage to mobile phone or other PDA device, (g) theft or destruction of, tampering with, unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries and/or entry information, (h) entries that are late, lost, stolen, damaged, illegible, and/or unintelligible (or any combination thereof), or (i) any change of email address, mailing address, telephone number and/or any other contact information provided by entrant.  Any expenses incurred by the entrant during the entry process are the sole responsibility of each entrant and the Sponsor will not issue reimbursement for any expenses.
  7. Dispute Resolution: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree that: (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Sweepstakes, or any prizes awarded, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards will be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Sweepstakes but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All entrants agree, by participation in the Sweepstakes, to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts of Illinois.  Illinois law will govern this Sweepstakes, without regard Illinois’s choice of law rules.  The courts of Illinois will be the exclusive forum for any dispute regarding any Rule or activity associated with the Sweepstakes.
  8. Official Rules: To request a copy of the Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to WQAD News 8, located at 3003 Park 16th Street, Moline, IL by 6/11/18.  Written copies of these Rules are also available during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) at WQAD’s business offices or online at
  9. Name of Winner: For the name of the prize winner, send a separate, self-addressed, stamped envelope to WQAD News 8, located at 3003 Park 16th Street, Moline, IL, or appear in person at that location between normal business hours (Monday – Friday, between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) after 5/10/18. Requests for winner’s name must be received by July 1, 2018.
  10. Rights Reserved: The content, information, data, designs and code associated with the Sweepstakes and Sweepstakes website are protected by intellectual property and other laws. Any unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, trademarks, or any other intellectual property of Sponsor.


  1. Sponsor: WQAD, 3003 Park 16th Street, Moline, IL 61265.

Corn Crib Nursery, 6924 US-150, Coal Valley, IL 61240

Serenity Salon and Day Spa, 3915 16th St, Moline, IL 61265

Drescher Custom Picture Framing, 2729 Sycamore Terrace, Bettendorf, IA  52722


Illinois senate votes to raise smoking age from 18 to 21

WQAD News -

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has voted to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

The Senate voted 35-20 Wednesday to ban under-21 sales of tobacco or tobacco related products. The ban includes any nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes or vaping materials.

Sen. Julie Morrison is the sponsor of the plan. The Deerfield Democrat says the risk of smoking addiction is more likely the younger a smoker is.

Sen. Kyle McCarter opposed the plan. The Republican from Lebanon in southern Illinois says that if 18-year-olds can join the military, they have the right to smoke a cigarette.

Five states and 14 Illinois cities and counties, including Chicago, have already adopted local ordinances setting the age at 21.

The bill goes to the House.

After searching for more than 40 years, authorizes say an ex-cop is the golden state killer

WQAD News -

(CNN) — A former California police officer has been identified as the so-called Golden State Killer believed to have committed 12 killings and at least 50 rapes across California from 1976 to 1986, authorities said Wednesday.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested after investigators matched discarded DNA from his home to evidence from some of the crimes, Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten told reporters.

The suspect seemed surprised when he was arrested without incident this week in connection with a crime spree that spanned 10 years and at least 10 counties throughout California, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said.

“We all knew that we were looking for a needle in a haystack but we all knew that the needle was there,” Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a news conference outside the crime lab where the big break in the case came.

“It is fitting that today is National DNA Day. We found the needle in the haystack and it was right here in Sacramento.”‘

Investigators have matched the East Area Rapist’s DNA, which they believe will help them link or eliminate suspects.

The suspect, who faces capital murder charges, is being held without bail in Sacramento.

“All too often we forget to talk about the victims and today we at least brought the first step towards closure for those victims of these horrendous crimes,” Jones said.

DeAngelo is a former Auburn, California, police officer who was fired in 1979 for shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drugstore, according to Jones. He worked as a police officer in Exeter and Auburn between 1973 and 1979.

“Very possibly he was committing these crimes while he was employed as a peace officer,” Jones said.

The suspect was also known as the “East Area Rapist” and “the Original Night Stalker.”

The first recorded rape was on June 18, 1976. The victim, Jane, was dozing in bed with her 3-year-old son after her husband left for work. Then, she was abruptly awoken.

A masked man stood in the bedroom doorway, holding a large butcher knife and shining a flashlight at her face.

He bound Jane and her son with shoelaces and blindfolded and gagged them with torn sheets. After moving her son off the bed, he unbound Jane’s ankles.

“And then I knew what he was there for,” said Jane, who didn’t want to share her last name.

Jane’s rape sparked the hunt for the man who authorities say went on to commit rapes and killings in California over the next decade.

It’s been more than 40 years since his first recorded attacks, which began in and around Sacramento in Northern California. No suspects were caught or even identified in the case. Police only had minor details about his looks, along with a sketch from an almost-victim.

In recent years, there was renewed interest in the case. This year, a book and a series from HLN were released, hoping to shed more light on the case.

When the Sacramento-area rapes were first being reported, it was always by women who were alone or with their children. But by 1977, a year after Jane’s attack, the list of victims had expanded to couples in their homes.

Police believe the East Area Rapist killed Brian and Katie Maggiore after the couple — who were walking their dog at the time — spotted him before he broke into a home in Rancho Cordova, California, just outside Sacramento, in February 1978. Those were his first known homicides.

“We thought he would never stop, but then two months after the Maggiore homicides, the East Area Rapist left our jurisdiction. It was like he disappeared in thin air,” said Carol Daly, a retired detective from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

That’s when a serial attacker began terrorizing Santa Barbara County, California — more than 300 miles south of Sacramento. Police didn’t realize it at the time, but the attacker’s crimes fit the same pattern as Sacramento’s East Area Rapist. He attacked women and couples across Southern California from December 1979 to May 1986, and became known there as the Original Night Stalker.

“These cases are some of the most horrific I’ve had to investigate,” said Erika Hutchcraft, an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. “They’re not a one-time, you know, crime of passion, but these are almost passionless crimes. Very cold, very violent.”

Even with such distance between Sacramento and Southern California, detectives in the north who heard about the Original Night Stalker believed he was the same perpetrator as the East Area Rapist.

“Over the years, we heard of homicides down in Southern California, and we thought it was the East Area Rapist,” said Larry Crompton, retired detective for Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department. “But he would not leave fingerprints, so we could not prove, other than his M.O., that he was the same person. We did not know anything about DNA.”

Once DNA tests were available to investigators, they were able to confirm the same man committed three of the attacks that had previously been blamed on the so-called East Area Rapist, according to Paul Holes, who investigated the case for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

“That’s when I reached out to Orange County” in Southern California, he says, “just to see, you know, if the East Area Rapist DNA was a match with the Original Night Stalker.”

In 2001, DNA evidence determined the East Area Rapist was the same offender as the Original Night Stalker.

In 2016 — 40 years after his first attack — the FBI offered a $50,000 reward for any information that could lead to his arrest and conviction.

“The sheriff’s department never gave up on this investigation,” Detective Paul Belli of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said at the time. “This person ruined a great number of lives, and he should be held accountable.”

The FBI describes him as a white male, close to 6 feet tall, with blond or light brown hair.

“We have his DNA,” said Holes. “If we find the right guy, we will know we got the Golden State Killer. This is a solvable case.”

Note: Unless stated otherwise, the interviews from this story came from the HLN series “Unmasking A Killer.”


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