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The cats didn’t pay much attention to us being there and didn’t even seem to recognize or react to their owner. They just paced silently. I asked if they were kept locked up all the time. Wild said he took them for walks in the alley at night when they couldn’t be seen.
Then we went back upstairs and he offered me a glass of wine. I told him I was 16 and didn’t drink wine but I would take a glass of water. I never took a sip.
Subbiah’s technique for administering date-rape drugs was through alcohol, frequently a glass of wine, as victims later testified in court.
He asked me to sit down on the couch beside him. I chose a chair across from him. He turned on some music and the throbbing beats of “I’ve Got the Hots For You” by Lysa Lynn starting pulsing through his living room. He started moving his body to the music and smiling at me.
This was a strange situation and my Spidey-senses were telling me this was one very weird guy. Being crazy about animals myself, maybe I could understand wanting to have a panther for a pet, but the overly sexual music and vibe in the room was making me uncomfortable. I kept my dog close, patting her head, and when Richard tried yet again to convince me to have a glass of wine or at least juice, I said no thanks.
I asked him if he had sent the beautiful blonde woman out to ask me to do some acting work for him. He denied it, but I had seen the same lady entering this house with groceries a few days before, so I was sure he was lying. He had a very intense way about him, leaning forward and trying to peer deep into my eyes while moving his torso to the beats of the music.
He started telling me how beautiful I was and that he would very much like to date me. He also said he was a back-up dancer for Michael Jackson and pointed to some paystubs on his coffee table. I wasn’t a Michael Jackson fan, so I found him being his backup dancer pretty unimpressive. But who keeps paystubs on a coffee table just for random strangers to see? What was this? I was pretty sure those paystubs weren’t real.
This felt like a bizarre seduction set up. I told him he was too old for me, I wouldn’t date him and it was time for me to go, but thanks for showing me his cats. He tried to argue with me, saying that I should just try dating him, but I said I wasn’t into older guys. I got up with my dog, walked out of his house, and went back home to my brownstone on the same street.
I forgot all about Richard Wild.
Three years later, in 1990, when I came home from university for Thanksgiving, I received a phone call. It was a police officer asking me if I knew a “Richard Wild.” I said yes, I did know a Richard Wild and he lived just down the street. The officer asked me if I had been attacked by him. I told him no, and, in a bit of shock, why?
The officer explained that they had found a black book containing the names of almost 200 women and my name was in there. Many of the women in the book had been assaulted.
Cold panic and relief washed through me simultaneously. I thought the man was weird at the time, and I didn’t like him. But I was marked by a serial rapist? I was in some book of targeted victims? Unbelievably frightening and creepy. The officer asked me lots of questions, really probing to make sure I wasn’t attacked and didn’t know it. He explained how women were offered drinks laced with drugs, and when they passed out they were raped and photos were taken of them while they were unconscious.
I explained how I didn’t take a drink and kept my dog with me the entire time. I also told him I was sure there was a woman recruiting for him, but the officer didn’t seem interested in that. He did tell me that I was very lucky, and that I was smart not to take a drink from someone I didn’t know. He gave me his number and said get in touch if you remember anything else.
When I told my mother about the phone call, she went ballistic. She was absolutely furious that I went into a stranger’s house. Even to see wild cats. Even if Babe was with me. At the time I thought I was saved by my street smarts, but now I know I was just extremely lucky. My heart goes out to those hundreds of women who weren’t as fortunate. My life could have been changed dramatically by that brush with evil. And that’s what Subbiah, a.k.a. Richard Wild, is. Pure Evil. And he lived on my street.