Interview with intended victim of William Bonin
Examiner: Thank you for agreeing to chat with me. I promise to keep your identity secret. Do you recognize the picture of this man?
Intended Victim: Yes. He was younger, of course, but yeah. That’s him. I still get chills looking at that picture.
CE: How old were you when you first encountered Bonin?
IV: It was after he’d been in prison. Not sure of the age.
CE: According to Wikipedia and TruTV, he’d been arrested in 1969, then released in 1974 only to be arrested again 16 months later for the rape of a 14 year old hitchhiker named David McVicker. He was released again in 1978. The murders began in 1979. When were you born?
IV: November of 1964. I remember I was in middle school, so I would say I was about 11 at the time.
CE: Where did you see him?
IV: Avrill Park in San Pedro.
CE: Tell me about the encounter. Take as much time as you want and go into as much detail as you’re comfortable with and can remember.
IV: I was visiting the park with a friend of mine and his mom. We were playing by the water—all these used to have water in them—fishing for crawdads. This guy came up to me and said, “Hey, I lost my puppy. Would you help me look for him?” I said sure and went off with the guy to look for his puppy. We went up into the hedges, looking for the dog, and he “found” a stack of adult magazines. “Hey, look at this!” he said, then he sat down, cross-legged. “You ever look at these?” he asked me. I nodded and said “Yeah,” so he had me sit down. He was about two feet from the pile, and I was three feet on the other side of it. As we were looking through the magazines, he looked over to me and said, “Wanna make ten bucks?” I don’t know what it was about the way he said that or how he looked at me, I just knew it wasn’t right. I jumped to my feet and said, “Oh, sh***! That’s my mom!” He looked up at me, confused, and said, “What?” I said, “Didn’t you hear that voice?” He thought a moment and said, “I…I think I heard som—“ “That was my mom! I’m in trouble! I gotta go!” And I ran.
CE: Wow! Did you tell your mom what happened?
IV: No. I thought if I told her, she’d never let me go back to the park again. Ironically, I never did go back to that park until today.
CE: I appreciate you coming here with me. So, when you saw the man, you knew who he was?
IV: Oh, no. In fact, I didn’t know who he was for a long time. It wasn’t until after he was arrested for the kidnapping and rape of David McVicker [the 14 year old hitchhiker]. The news said about a sex offender being caught, locally, so I followed the case. It wasn’t until after he was convicted in January of 1982 that I saw his picture. I realized what I avoided and stopped following the case.
CE: So, you never told anyone?
IV: Not until I saw his picture on TV. That’s when I told my dad. He agreed it was best not to say anything to Mom.
CE: What made you decide to share with me and my readers?
IV: I have nothing to hide, really. I’m embarrassed, slightly, and feel guilty that I didn’t say anything. I will never forget what he said when they released him in 1978. When they asked him if he had it to do again, what he would do differently, he said, “I wouldn’t leave any witnesses.” And he never did.
CE: Why does that make you feel guilty?
IV: Because, I think, maybe if I had just said something, we could have stopped him. I think all I did was teach him not to keep such a distance between him and his victim. There was about 5 feet between us. He couldn’t grab me and I was a fast runner.
CE: I’m sorry you had to go through all that. Do you have any last things you’d like to say to parents or kids regarding situations like this?
IV: Having an adult close by isn’t good enough. You have to teach your children how to recognize and avoid situations on their own too. Either alone isn’t as effective as both.