santa barbara east beach

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America’s Top 10 Beaches of 2015

The annual top 10 list of the nation’s best beaches is here. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park in Oahu, Hawaii took the top spot this year, up from fourth place in the 2014 survey. This five-mile stretch is the longest beach on the island, and its location is about 15 miles east of the population and tourism center of Honolulu, meaning fewer tourists and more locals.

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On February 21, 1970, 20 year old Sandra Garcia and her fianceé John Franklin Hood packed food and a blanket and ventured to Cemetery Beach east of Santa Barbara. However, their day took a turn for the worst when an unknown assailant attacked the couple using a bone-handled fish knife. Hood was stabbed a total of eleven times in the face and back, while Garcia was disfigured to the point that she was almost unrecognizable. No items were stolen from the two, neither of them were sexually assaulted in any way, and they did not seem to have had any enemies which made the case extremely puzzling for police since there seemed to be no apparent motive for the killings. The case ultimately went cold. 

On July 5 the same year, 2 men were found stabbed to death on a beach a few miles north in their sleeping bags. A third man was also found nearby with critical head injuries, but ended up surviving. The group consisted of 17 year old Thomas Dolan, 19 year old Thomas Hayes (the sole survivor), and another one of their friends. The weapons used were a knife and a hatchet, and no items were missing from any of them. Both cases remain unsolved, but are thought to be connected. Several theories have emerged as to who the perpetrator was. Some believe it was the Zodiac Killer, while others believe it was Charles Manson due to the fact that he had lived in Santa Barbara at some point. Thomas Hayes reported that his friends’ assailants had been a group of Asian men in a van, but both cases ultimately remain unsolved.