Two different continents shrouded in the same fear, only years apart.
There was the Golden State Killer in America’s California in the early 1980s. And, just years later, there was ‘Mr Cruel’ in Australia’s Victoria in the late 80’s and 90s.
Both states were terrorized by an evil, serial offender who liked to rape young women and girls before murdering them. And both offenders shared remarkable similarities in their style of attack, and their horrific penchant for violent, sexually-based crimes.
Neither man was ever caught and now people are wondering, could the cases be connected? According to an investigation by The Australian, the similarities between them are uncanny.
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On August 22, 1987, Mr Cruel – a name given to him by newspapers – removed a pane of glass from a lounge room window in a house in Melbourne’s Little Plenty around 4am.
Creeping into the master bedroom, he forced the parents of two children onto their stomachs and tied their hands and feet together, the ABC reports. He locked the adults into a wardrobe, tied their seven-year-old son to his bed, and raped their 11-year-old daughter. He left the house after chopping the phone lines.
His attacks escalated with each violation.
Just days after Christmas in 1988, the same offender broke into a Ringwood home, tied up the adults once more, and kidnapped 10-year-old Sharon Wills. He assaulted the girl and released her, dressed in rubbish bags, at a highschool 18 hours later.
He kept 13-year-old Nicola Lynas for 50 hours after abducting her from her home in Canterbury in July 1990. He was armed with a knife and gun. He taped over her eyes, and drove her to another home where he assaulted her.
Karmein Chan, 13, in Templestowe wasn’t released at all. Her body was found a year after she was abducted in 1991 – her younger sisters were tied up and shoved into a wardrobe during the kidnapping. She’d been shot three times in the head.
Mr Cruel, the ABC reports, is said to have raped up to 12 children in the decade between 1985 and 1985.
The Golden State Killer in California didn't only target young girls and his victims ranged in age from 13 to 41, The Australian reports.
First, he targeted young women and their children. Then, as he grew in confidence, he began targeting couples as they slept in their own homes. According to the FBI, the same man is thought to be responsible for 12 murders, 45 rapes, and 125 burglaries between 1976 and 1986 - when he mysteriously disappeared.
Both men reportedly took breaks during their assaults to eat meals.
Both used knives and guns as a means to subdue, and then kill, their victims.
Both engaged in pretend conversations with others during their crimes.
Both used expert knots to keep their victims tied up, and they told the women and girls they raped they were "only there to rob them".
Mr Cruel also forced his victims to wash and his DNA was never recovered.
According to The Australian, US authorities confirmed they looked at the possibility that the Golden State Killer might have fled to Australia after he stopped operating suddenly, without explanation, in 1986.
Australian police, however, said they investigated the potential link to Mr Cruel, whose first major attack was reported in 1987, but ruled out the possibility that the crimes were committed by the same man.
Both cases still remain unsolved.