The Surprising Way Richard Chase Chose His Victims

For 29 days in late 1977 to early 1978, the people of Sacramento, California were living with unimaginable horror. The local news was flooded with reports of an unidentified maniac who was brutally murdering, raping, and cannibalizing victims. These horrific crimes were being committed without any obvious M.O., and detectives were baffled as to how to identify and capture a monster whose victims had no connections to each other.

When he was finally apprehended on January 29th, 1978, Richard Chase had a body count of six victims (via Crime Museum). While a much lower number than those of Ted Bundy or Richard Ramirez, the sheer brutality that accompanied each murder makes Chase just as terrifying of a figure (via Historic Mysteries). And when all of the details emerged during Chase's 1979 trial, the people of Sacramento came to the realization that the murderer in their midst was one who would have never stopped on his own. 

The Vampire of Sacramento

Dubbed the "Vampire of Sacramento" by the local media, Chase was reported to have drank the blood of most of his victims (via Historic Mysteries). His second victim, Theresa Wallin, was shot to death upon Chase entering her home. He then sexually assaulted and stabbed the victim's body post-mortem. Afterwards, he drank her blood and removed vital organs to eat. 

Four days later, he broke into the home of 38-year-old Evelyn Miroth. There, he shot and killed her friend Danny Meredith. Chase then set his sights on the two children in the home — Evelyn's 6-year-old son Jason and her 2-year-old nephew David Ferreira. He shot and killed them with a .22 pistol.

After raping Evelyn post-mortem, Chase began drinking her blood and cannibalizing her body. But in the middle of this heinous act, Chase was interrupted by a knock at the front door. A neighbor child had wandered over to the Miroth's for a playdate with the newly deceased Jason. Panicked by the intrusion, Chase grabbed Meredith's car keys and snatched Ferreira's body. He was reported placing his body into Meredith's car and then speeding away. Neighbors alerted the police, and the manhunt began. 

Chase was arrested after a struggle in his apartment. There, police noted that he had clothes soaked with blood. Officers also took note of the blood on his cooking utensils (via Crime Museum).

With a suspect now in custody, the question of how Chase chose his victims hung in the air.

He considered it an invitation inside

Chase selected neighborhoods at random. He would then try the doors of random houses, to see if they were unlocked. According to Crime Museum, during a police interview after his arrest, Chase stated that "if the door was locked that meant you weren't welcome." But those whose doors were left unlocked meant an open invitation for Chase to freely enter and brutally massacre those within the home.

Chase was convicted after his 1979 trial. The jury rejected the defense's insanity arguments, and found the defendant guilty on six charges of first-degree murder. Chase was then sentenced to death.

However, Chase never faced the gas chamber. His fellow inmates, who knew what Chase was capable of), spent months trying to convince him to commit suicide. After secretly stockpiling his medication for months, Chase was able to successfully overdose. His lifeless body was found in his cell in December of 1979 (via Historic Mysteries).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.