Night Stalker Recalled; Attack That Didn't Happen

Then a boy in Mission Viejo, now 40-year-old James Romero III of San Clemente recounts the night that terror came to town.

The case of the Night Stalker terrified Southern California—and Orange County—in 1985. The evil deeds of Richard Ramirez have been galvanized in the annals of California crime history.

But there was one attack that Ramirez apparently planned that didn't pan out. It was the attack that never happened, and the boy—now a man—who was a central figure in it told his story to Keith Sharon of the Orange County Register.

James Romero III was 13, and he saw the Night Stalker, saw the car, saw part of the license plate that eventually led to Ramirez.

Romero now lives in San Clemente, and to read his recollection of a chilling night 27 years ago in Mission Viejo, click here. It's a story worth checking out.

Ken Lopez Maddox August 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
As a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, I spent some time with Ramirez while he was in custody before sentencing. He oozed evil. Keep in mind I spent every day surrounded by some of the worst of L.A. County. Many people don't know there were many other horrific crimes this person committed in addition to the multiple murders that weren't part of the trial.
Tennickly August 26, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Ken, even though I have a clean record and have had no run ins with the law on a criminal basis, I am not always the biggest fan of law enforcement. However, I realize you guys deal with the worst of the worst and, though I am critical at times, I appreciate that LEOs stop these maniacs and keep us safe. So, thank you for your service.
Susie Hutto August 26, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Lived where the stalker mostly hung out. His face was the last thing I thought about before going to sleep and the first thing that came to mind when I woke up. He was spotted on my parent's street. So very scary time.
Tennickly August 26, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Scary for sure. I am a year older than James and was a kid growing up in SoCal when this evil monster was making his rounds. He never made it to Upland, where I lived then.
Morpheus August 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I lived in East Los Angeles at that time at the age of 22 and recall, while living with my parents, the fear of leaving a window open at night, so we made sure to keep them closed and locked. Very frightening but were relieved when East LA citizens recognized him and pounced on him as he tried to steal a car.
Tennickly August 27, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Yeah, they falked him up pretty good as I recall. Street justice.
Paige Austin August 27, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I remember cancelling a backyard camp-out with my friend's because we were so terrified of the nightstalker. I covered courts and prisons as a newspaper reporter for a while, and I too spent a lot of time around killers, who often seemed just like anybody else, but every once in a while one makes your skin crawl. What was it about Ramirez that made him stand out among killers?
ms.sc. August 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Bill Carns now lives in North Dakota. I was a nanny for his sister and when I told them when and where I lived in California, their faces went "white"! "Billy" as his family calls him, was coming over for a visit and was in a wheelchair. They told me not to let Billy shake my hand as he does not know how hard he is squeezing your hand. Of course no one told Billy that I was living in Mission Viejo at the same time of his attack. It was heartbreaking to hear of Billy's once promising life. His fiance and he parted, I believe she still lives in Orange County. Billy lives in a group home today and speaks with slurred speach. :( James and his family are very blessed indeed!
Cindy Piel August 30, 2012 at 05:03 PM
One point in the story I have to disagree with is the comment that AFTER the attack in Mission Viejo "the police knew the Night Stalker had come to Orange County". The police already knew he was in the area, they just didn't know where. I was a 16 year old student at El Toro High School at the time, living with my mom & 7 year old brother. One night, around 10pm, 2 police officers knocked on our door. They were going door-to-door in our area to warn families to make sure their homes were locked up tight. The reason for this was that a man fitting the description of the "Night Stalker" was seen hopping off a train less than 2 miles from my neighborhood. It was a very scary time. My heart goes out to all those who lives were affected by this evil man.


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