Lisa Rinna‘s mom is lucky to be alive after being kidnapped and stabbed by the Trailside Killer.
“A few years before I was born my mom was attacked by a man that she worked with,” Lisa, 55, said of her mother Lois Rinna on Tuesday night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
“He picked her up at the bus stop and then all of sudden he started to drive her down this really deserted road. He tried to rape her. He tried to kill her. Luckily, a military policeman had seen them drive down this deserted road and he knew no one was supposed to be down there and he followed them down. My mom was saved that day by that military policeman.”
“That was a really bad thing,” Lois, 90, explained. “I knew him.”
“I thought that was it. He’s straddling me. He had a hammer in one hand and a knife in another,” Lois recounted. Lois was stabbed in the hand and hit in the head with the hammer a number of times.
The Trailside Killer, whose real name is David Carpenter, was known for stalking and murdering several people on hiking trails in state parks near San Francisco, California in the 1970s and early 1980s. At one point it was even believed he may have been the Zodiac Killer but that has since been disproved.
“I was the first one he went to jail for,” Lois explained to Lisa of Carpenter’s 1960 conviction. “They gave him seven and a half years.”
Lois is believed to be the first of Carpenter’s adult victims. He had been incarcerated as a teen for molesting two of his young relatives.
In 1970, Carpenter was imprisoned once again for kidnapping and rape.
After he was freed, Carpenter struck fear around the Bay Area when he shot and killed Richard Stowers, 19, and his fiancée Cynthia Moreland, 18, Anne Alderson, 26, Diane O’Connell and Shuana May 25 — all within a six-week period in 1980, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
The next year, Carpenter raped and shot 20-year-old Heather Scaggs — a coworker at a Hayward print shop, The SF Chronicle reported. Her naked body was found in Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County. He then killed UC Davis Student Ellen Marie Hansen, 20.
Carpenter’s eighth victim, Hansen’s boyfriend Steven Haertle, was shot in the neck, but survived the attack and was able to identify him, according to The Mercury News.
In 1984, Carpenter was convicted of two murders and received the death penalty, according to The Los Angeles Times. The following year he was convicted of five more murders. He is currently on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
“When you first hear about it you’re like that can’t be real — how [is] that real?” Lisa said on the show.
It wasn’t until Rinna was older that her mother told her what really happened, Lois explaining that the metal plates she had in her head and the fact that she couldn’t smell was “because some kid hit you in the head with a hammer.”
“When I finally learned the truth, I had such great sadness and empathy for my mom, knowing that not only did this happen to her but that she basically just stuffed those feelings for how many years,” Rinna said. “She never dealt with it, she never talked about it — she never even told her daughter about it.”
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“It takes so much courage to come forward. I think the least we can do is show these victims some compassion.”
Lois has since received an outpouring of love from viewers everywhere for her courage.