This composite was released at the June 2016 press conference, offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of EAR. Its original context was unknown until the 2018 HLN documentary series Unmasking a Killer.
Context: In the second episode of Unmasking a Killer, the “Moonie Surfer” sketch (above) was revealed to come from another witness in the area of the Maggiore murders.
Validity: These composites represent the informed opinion of the multiple law enforcement agencies involved. Consequently, they gain some weight when it comes to validity.
However, it should be noted that investigators promoted three composites, not just one. This reflects the necessary uncertainty of the composites: although the Ripon Ct. and Maggiore incidents have evidence that point to EAR as the culprit, it is not certain that he was involved. Also, the composites share similarities and some differences: if all three were actual sightings of EAR, then, by putting forward all three, investigators seem to be taking into account the problematic nature of eyewitness testimony and composite accuracy.
Based on statements made by Paul Holes in the episode, it seems that people should still call in about a person of interest even if that person did not resemble the composites. In other words, people with a relevant tip should not let a composite mismatch stop them.