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A Serial Killer

A Short Story

Amelia Cooke

NOTE:   The following is a true story -- No names are mentioned to protect his family.


I recently finished reading Michael Connelly's book "Echo Park" about a serial killer ( A very good book, by the way) and it brought back memories from long ago when I knew a person who turned out to be a Serial Killer.  It was in the same area of Los Angeles as in Connelly's book.

I met this young man at the place my husband was employed.  He was a very nice, polite, quiet man, and usually listened rather than participate in conversations.   We met him  at parties or he would drop by the house to visit.

A few years later, my husband and I separated and I stayed with another girl that I worked with. Even then, he would stop by and visit (which always surprised me, as we never were really that closely acquainted ).   One day, he stopped by when I was really depressed and he suggested we go for a drive. I lived in the San Fernando Valley, and worked the evening shift.  So I decided to go as long as I was back in time for work.

He was a good listener, and stayed quiet as I unloaded my problems --- mostly to do with my husband.   Eventually, I became aware that we had driven over the Cahuenga Pass to Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and was heading west on Sunset. I said it must be getting late and we should start back. He said we'll just go a little further and return on Laurel Canyon Road --- a winding road through the mountains between Hollywood and the valley.

To me, the trip was turning out longer than I expected and began to think I wouldn't make it back in time, but he didn't seem to worry about it and assured me in his usual pleasant manner. I was relieved to get back and decided I didn't want to go for a ride with him again, as it made me uncomfortable. I thought he might have an interest in me and I definitely did not have one in him

After that, I didn't see him for several years, until he came by with his new wife, a divorcee, and her two little children. She seemed to be as quiet and shy as him. I congratulated them on their marriage and they visited for a short time. That was the last I saw of him as I had moved to Arcadia, east of Los Angeles.

Five years later, I read in the newspaper that he was arrested for murder.

Murder ??   I couldn't believe it !    He certainly did not seem the type to even hurt an animal let alone kill someone.

Reading further, it turned out he had taken two girls, in his camper, up in the hills   ( The same area where we had driven ) and one of the girls had escaped.  When she identified him and he was arrested, he confessed to killing other women over the years  and he lead the police to where they were buried.

The paper reported that his neighbors were stunned and couldn't believe such a nice guy could commit one murder let alone that many.

When I think back at the time we went for the drive --- I felt lucky at being able to have arrived safely back home. I suppose it was because he was acquainted with me, my husband, and a lot of our friends.

I guess you really never know a person --- even when you think you do.


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