A popular and pretty cheerleader, Kirsten Costas, was dead, and sheriff’s deputies were searching for the girl who stabbed her.
The day after the murder in June 1984, rumors had already spread at the tennis courts, down oak-shaded lanes and at poolside. Some claimed it was an act of Satanism or a PCP-induced killing. No one wanted to believe that the killer came from Orinda, the lush Northern California suburb where Kirsten lived.
The affluent residents of Orinda cite good schools and a crime-free environment as the main reasons they moved to the town. Orinda, with a population of about 17,500, lies just thirty-three minutes from downtown San Francisco by Bay Area Rapid Transit.
Commuting time shrinks to twenty-five minutes in a BMW, the most popular car at Miramonte High School, where students’ scores are consistently among the highest on California’s state achievement tests. With a median household income of $60,000, the area’s families are not upwardly mobile — living in Orinda certifies that they have already arrived.