It was around 6:30 a.m., on October 5, 1976, when Jane Sandler heard footsteps running toward her bedroom in her ranch style house in Citrus Heights, California, a middle class suburb of Sacramento.
Thinking it was her husband, who had just left for work for the day, Sandler, a 30-year-old Air Force reserve captain, said, “What did you forget?”
That’s when she looked up and saw an intruder wearing a black ski mask shining a flashlight in her face. As she clutched her three-year-old son next to her, he put a large knife to her chest and muttered, “Shut up, I will kill you.”
The intruder quickly tied their hands, blindfolded them, and tied her feet using sheets from her bed.
“He had this ritual of ripping and tearing these sheets,” Sandler, now 71 and the author of Frozen in Fear: A True Story