Night Stalker: How a six-year-old girl was key to hunting down the serial killer
She was kidnapped by him and to this day doesn’t know why he spared her life
Netflix has just released a four-part documentary about the crimes and manhunt of Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker. Interviewed as part of the series is Anastasia Hronas, a survivor of his attacks.
She talks openly about how as a six-year-old she was taken from her home and sexually assaulted by the Night Stalker killer. Here is all about her story, how she became vital in taking down the killer and where she is now.
*CW: Contains details of kidnap and sexual assault.*
Anastasia Hronas was six when she was abducted and attacked by Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker
Speaking in the Netflix documentary series, Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, Anastasia Hronas recalls her ordeal which happened in February 1985. She recalls a window opening in her home and being woken up before being ushered out the window and carried away. She says Richard Ramirez was “familiar” and reminded her of a family member, so in her half asleep state she went with him.
He took her in a car and at one point asked her to open up the glove compartment where there was a gun. He told her: “Just so you know, that’s there”. She said it was at this point he made her “look at him and touch him”.
She then remembers arriving somewhere and hearing dogs barking. Richard Ramirez then made her get into a duffle bag and be quiet. “We had to walk through a room with a couch, and everything was dark and kinda dingy, the windows were covered with drapes that made it dark and, I don’t know, slimy”, she said. She describes the place she was taken to as “very, not my house”.
Anastasia Hronas then recalls when the Night Stalker sexually assaulted her. She says she told him many times to stop, and that it hurt, and asked him why he was doing it to her. She requested multiple times to go to the bathroom just so he would stop, and he would place her over the sink and then bring her back and carry on.
Hronas says she felt the way Ramirez looked at her was almost as though he was sorry, but he wasn’t because he didn’t stop. She was put back in the duffle bag and they drove to a gas station. Ramirez told her to go inside and ask them to call police so her family could come and get her. To this day, she doesn’t know why he spared her life and let her go.
After the ordeal, Hronas helped identify Ramirez in a lineup when he was finally caught. Detective Frank Salerno described her saying “for six-years-old she was just unbelievable.” Hronas said that because she knew he couldn’t see her as a witness, she felt more confident.
Ramirez was second in the lineup, where they made the men repeat phrases such as “shut up b***h”, “where’s the money?” and “where’s the jewellery?”.
When the witnesses were asked if they had any questions, Gil Carrillo, the second detective on the case recalls: “Her little hand went up. I said ‘what is it sweetheart?’ And she said, ‘do I write the word two, or the number two?'”
It was her bravery that meant the police finally knew the Night Stalker had been caught. It was decided that because of how young she was, and the fact that Ramirez was facing the death penalty, Hronas was not asked to appear in court to face him again.
Carrillo says he started crying and made excuses to leave when he later visited Hronas at home and she said she would “testify in court if it means keeping him locked up so he can’t hurt any other little girls like he hurt me”.
Where is Anastasia Hronas now?
Anastasia is 41-years-old now, and determined to not let what happened to her define her. She is married with her own children. She adds: “I grew up, I went to school, I got married. I have a family, I’m not letting that [experience] turn me into what he was.”
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, quizzes, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.