Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jul 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Voice for a Victim

ae2 graveLocal filmmaker looks to produce feature about final victim of prolific serial killer

Filmmaker Cameron Cloutier’s still-unfinished journey with his film, Bird with a Broken Wing, began four years ago when he heard a story that was stranger than fiction. While chatting with a couple of friends, one of them asked Cloutier if he had ever heard of the East Area Rapist. He hadn’t, so his friends started telling him the story, which they had both heard about in the news a few years prior. Cloutier couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “What are you talking about?” he remembers thinking. “Everything they said was out of control.”

As with Cloutier’s initial encounter with the story, a condensed history lesson is necessary here. From 1976 to 1979, a suspect known as the East Area Rapist committed a series of crimes in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and Walnut Creek. Then from 1979 to 1981, his crime spree migrated to the cities of Goleta, Ventura, Laguna Niguel and Irvine. (It wasn’t until the late 1990s—when he would be dubbed the Original Night Stalker—that his DNA connected him to this latter series of crimes.)

Then in 1986, after a five-year crime gap, an 18-year-old woman named Janelle Lisa Cruz was murdered in Irvine, a mile-and-a-half from the last murder. She remains the last known victim of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker. Responsible for more than 50 rapes and 10 murders, he is the most prolific serial killer and sex offender in California history, and still remains uncaught, despite the fact that law enforcement authorities have his DNA, fingerprints and blood type.

ae2 movieposterIt’s a story that Cloutier has been looking to turn into a film for four years, and now, having done extensive research and with script in hand, he is seeking a way to finance the production. “The film will use Janelle’s story as a basis,” Cloutier says. “Her life was so interesting, and it explains why he probably came out of hiding for her, and then while it tells her story, it also flashes back to several of the other crimes so that we can understand the methodology of his crimes.”

Having received the support of Cruz’s family, the police, and the FBI, the most significant remaining hurdle for Cloutier’s film is the arduous process of fundraising. With that in mind, Cloutier is holding a fundraiser for the film in Sacramento—with Mayor Kevin Johnson tentatively scheduled to attend—on May 4, which happens to be the date of Cruz’s death in 1986.

For those who are unable to attend the fundraiser, there is still time to contribute to the Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which ends May 11. In addition, Cloutier says that “like”-ing the film’s Facebook page will aid in raising awareness. He is also accepting private funding for the production via the Facebook page or through the email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

According to Cloutier, every cent matters. “I’ve been on this project now for four years, but when I first started, there was nothing about these crimes out there except for a little website and a Wikipedia page, and that was it,” he says. “Since I started working on this, it’s kind of gotten bigger, but it hasn’t crossed over into the mainstream yet, so my original intent—which still is my intent—was to bring awareness to the crimes.”

Though the film will discuss the crimes of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker, Cloutier plans for it to center around Janelle Lisa Cruz and her life, struggles, accomplishments, and finally about what happened the night the two met.

“If you know Janelle’s story, then you know that even though she died, her story is a positive one, and that’s what the film explores,” says Cloutier. “I did not know—until I started talking with her family—how complex her life was. She wasn’t just this girl who was killed; the things that happened in her life made it possible for this guy to come into it. It seemed less and less like she was just a random victim, and more like he had to silence her.” 

For more information about ‘Bird with a Broken Wing’ and how to help make it a reality, visit indiegogo.com/projects/bird-with-a-broken-wing-needs-you—8, the film’s Facebook page, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Designing Woman

Female gardener helps build Versailles in fun, if uneven, ‘A Little Chaos’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food