When an LAPD officer entered the Salomons' Northridge, Calif., home on Oct. 13, 1982, the family wasn't there but all seemed normal, down to the fact that the master bedroom's bed was made. That detail freaked Dorene Laffer out. She was Elaine Salomon's cousin, and the two were incredibly close, so much so that she knew Elaine never made the bed. So police dug deeper and found a more disturbing truth: In 14-year-old Michelle Salomon's bedroom, the bed was broken, the bedding was missing, and there were small bloodstains present. Elaine, Michelle, Salomon's second husband Sol, and their 9-year-old son Mitchell were missing. That police were even at the house that night was thanks to neighbors Stacy Perman and her mother, who'd gone to check on the family after another neighbor mentioned the Salomons' pool was overflowing.
Perman and Michelle were friends—Perman was supposed to sleep over the previous night but had changed her mind—and she's also the author of an in-depth Los Angeles Magazine article delving into what happened to the Salomons, who to this day remain missing. After suffering nightmares for years, Perman writes that she came "to the realization that I needed to try looking into what happened myself. I didn't like what I found." She recounts what she learned about Elaine and Sol, an Israeli immigrant who was rumored to have participated in illegal guns sales and frequent prostitutes; Elaine herself was reportedly having an affair. But much of Perman's piece delves into Harvey Rader, an English-born associate of Sol's who attended a car auction with Sol on the night the family disappeared. Rader told a story riddled with inconsistencies and was tied to three other missing persons. Read Perman's full story for much more on Rader, who stood trial for the family's murders, here. (Read more Longform stories.)