After more than two decades of hunting the East Area Rapist, Paul Holes was sure he had his husband a few weeks ago.
It was a white man with blond hair. He was born in 1958, which means he was in his late teens and 20s when the notorious Crime Strip took place. And he had an uncle who lived in Cordova Meadows in Rancho Cordova, giving him a possible geographical link.
Everything was right, Holes said. Apart from a key element.
"We just could not put this guy in California," Holes said, meaning they would never find out who was actually here.
But they could house Joseph James DeAngelo in California. Better yet, they knew DeAngelo lived in Sacramento in the 1
Both DeAngelo and the blond man born in 1958 belonged to the same family tree as someone who had uploaded a DNA profile to the open genealogy website GEDmatch. The police began investigating her and three other white men of a certain age, who were related to the GEDmatch user, who was, at best, a third cousin of the suspected East Area Rapist.
At first, Holes DeAngelo, now 72, thought too old to be her suspect. And while the investigators always believed that the East Area Rapist could have been a cop because he had evaded the authorities for so long, Holes found it very difficult for DeAngelo to target attacks in San Jose, Contra Costa County, and throughout the Sacramento area while serving full time as a police officer in Auburn.
"I thought that was a blow to DeAngelo," he said.
Plus, DeAngelo's name had never – not once – surfaced in the 15,000 pages of the files and the several thousand tips the police received over the years.
But nuggets of information from DeAngelo's past began to convince Holes and others that he could be their suspect.
During a rape in July 1978, a 33-year-old housewife in Davis, the East Area rapist, sobbed and said, "I hate you, Bonnie, I hate you, Bonnie," Holes said. "We thought that was important." After some research, investigators discovered that De Angelo was betrothed to a woman named Bonnie in 1970.
On the last active Tuesday of Holes at the end of March he parked opposite DeAngelo's house in Citrus Heights. He thought of doing what he had often done.
"I'm just considering knocking on the door of this guy," he said. "Just tell him," I look at old cases, your name has turned up, can we talk and can I have a sample of your DNA? "
Later, Holes said the police have discovered that DeAngelo "has registered numerous weapons to him." If he was their suspect, he would have shot at a police officer in 1975 during a chase in Visalia. And he killed twelve people.
"In retrospect, it was a good decision to drive away," Holes said. "This is a very dangerous man, my wife is extremely relieved by this decision."
Police kept track of DeAngelo for several days and increased their surveillance in mid-April. He is 72, "but he moves like a young 50-year-old man," Holes said.
"He rides his motorcycle and bombards the freeway at over 100 miles per hour," he said. "Stop signs are optional for this guy."
On April 20, detectives picked up an item that DeAngelo had discarded in public, and led the DNA through the Crime Lab. It had some similarities with the East Area Rapist, but not enough for an arrest. Detectives grabbed another sample of something DeAngelo had thrown on Tuesday morning. This one was a hit.
At 17 o'clock. DeAngelo was on remand this day. Despite Holes' fears about what DeAngelo might do when confronted by the police after all these years, the detectives of the Sacramento Sheriff arrested him without incident.
After DeAngelo spent several days in detention, investigators still do not seem to have a clear picture of who is he?
You know he was a police officer in the Tulare County community in Exeter from 1973 to 1976 and Heights drugstore in Auburn from 1976 to 1979 when he was released from a citrus for stealing a hammer and dog repellent, according to an article in the Auburn Journal. You know that he worked as a truck mechanic from 1989 to 2017 at a Save Mart distribution center in Roseville.
They also know that he is separated from his wife and three have adult daughters, one of whom lived with him in the home of Citrus Heights – along with DeAngelo's granddaughter. The other two daughters "are very bright, beautiful and successful," said Holes. One is a doctor and the other is a PhD student at the University of California campus. They had no idea of their father's supposed criminal past; In fact, Holes said they did not even know he was a cop.
"For all three children, another tragedy is to find out that their father is the worst serial killer, possibly in the country's history," Holes
Other relatives have told the Sacramento Bee that there is no reason to believe that DeAngelo was involved in this horrendous crime. His sister, Rebecca Thompson, said Thursday she "never saw anything that would allow me to think he could do something like that."
"As baffled as I am – because I've never shown him any madness" I just can not believe it, "said Thompson.
There is still a decade-long gap – from 1979 to 1989 – in which Police are not sure what DeAngelo did or where he lived, he was involved in 10 murders and four rapes in Southern California between 1979 and 1986. Public records connect him in the 1980s with addresses in Long Beach and the city of Whittier in Los Angeles.
"We do not know much about him," Holes said, "but all of this information is filled in between the investigative reporting and the online tracking dogs."
When DeAngelo was indicted on Friday in the Supreme Court of Sacramento, Holes ended a week like no other in his 27 years of criminal prosecution, he went days without sleep and had done several media interviews.
"I had one thing that happened to me wanted, "he said. "This case is solved, so talking to the victims, hearing their screams of joy, it's such a pleasure it's happening now."
"Now I'll turn off my phone and enjoy my weekend. "