More than 40 years after the so-called "Golden State Killer" began terrorizing California, rape dozens of women and kill at least 12, the authorities announced Wednesday that they had 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in the case had arrested.
DeAngelo's arrest resulted in a shocking, abrupt development of what had long been one of the most notorious crimes in US history. The cruel attacks unfolded throughout California for more than a decade, shocking families and communities, and then remained a mystery to a generation with little indication that the case would ever be resolved.
The trail eventually led to DeAngelo, a former police officer living in Citrus Heights, California, a city outside of Sacramento. The authorities said that De Angelo ̵
It is resolved, "Sacramento County prosecutor Anne Marie Schubert said at a news conference in the Californian capital." We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento. "
Joseph James DeAngelo. (Sacramento County Sheriff's Department)
The court records of the Sacramento District Court showed DeAngelo was jailed early Wednesday morning for double murder, no bail was set, and it was not known if he had a lawyer. 19659007] The series of attacks – alternately called Golden State Killer, Original Night Stalker and East Area Rapist – terrified the nature of the attacks and the sheer breadth of violence. "Between 1976 and 1986, the FBI said, the attacker killed a dozen people and raped 45. The victims were as young as 13 and as old as 41, they said, including both couples who were murdered and people who were murdered before theirs Brutalities brutally treated
Investigators had said they thought the Golden State killer had a law enforcement background, and DeAngelo took this bill. Between 1973 and 1979, DeAngelo served as a police officer in two different Californian police departments, said Sheriff Scott Jones of Sacramento County.
The timeline meant that DeAngelo was an official when the attacks started and he learned to become a police officer. At the same time, the authorities now believe that he started a reign of terror. It remains unclear whether this training and knowledge of law enforcement tactics played a role, as the case remained unsolved so long.
"Most likely, he committed the crimes during his time as a peace officer," Jones said Wednesday
The case remained an item of intense focus for many in law enforcement agencies and the public over the years. In 2016, the FBI made another appeal – and offered a $ 50,000 reward – for help in finding the so-called "violent and volatile individual."
The wanted poster for the man known as East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer. (FBI)
Since 1976, the Golden State killer has allegedly raped dozens of women in their homes – minutely planning intrusions, sometimes attacking whole families and killing several victims towards the end of the bloodshed before they disappeared in 1986. The attacker was also behind numerous Housing burglaries in the state, said the FBI.
For members of the victims, the shock of DeAngelo's capture left some feeling the unity. Others were overwhelmed by the sudden news. Jennifer Carole slept in her home in Santa Cruz when the text arrived at 7:11 am on Wednesday. When she woke up, she could hardly believe it.
"Could that really be him?" A friend had typed and sent a link to a news article.
It was. Nearly four decades after Carole's father Lyman Smith and stepmother Charlene Smith were found murdered in their home in Ventura, California, the police said they found a suspect behind the violence. She was torn by conflicting emotions.
"That's tough," Carole said, 56. "There are no right words for that, I have feelings everywhere … In my mind I had him dead to deal with, so his capture stimulates all sorts of emotions . "
Carole said it was a scary feeling to know the alleged murderer. I was in Sacramento all the time. Her mother and father had lived in the area for some time.
In March 1980, her brother had gone to her father's house to mow the lawn, but he became suspicious when the alarm of the house did not rise when he entered. He went upstairs to check on his father and stepmom, Carole said, calling the emergency call after finding found sheets over the bodies.
"I hope to God, he admits," said Carole, who at the time was 18, the man who is now in police custody.
In Citrus Heights, residents said they were surprised by news that the suspect had lived among them. Some also remembered strange encounters with DeAngelo that neighbors said lived in a home with his daughter and granddaughter.
Eddy Verdon remembered meeting him when he discovered DeAngelo three years ago. When he heard someone on the property and looked into the garage, he found DeAngelo ready to run away on his bike.
"I stared at him and he looked at me nervously," he said. "I never really interacted with him again, maybe it was not a bad idea."
With the attacker apparently gone, investigators and amateur detectives in the United States searched for him and inquired about Australia.
"He was young – from all ages 18 to 30 – Caucasian and athletic, able to evade capturing by jumping roofs and overhanging high fences," wrote crime mystery writer Michelle McNamara in a Los Angeles magazine the old cases.
McNamara, who wrote a best-selling book about the attack, said that the attacker had previously moved into the houses "to learn the layout, study family photos, and remember names." As a result, she wrote, "When someone awoke from a deep sleep to the dazzling flashlight and the skim-masked presence, he was always a stranger to you, but you were not with him."
When a Woman Escaped An attack in 1979, McNamara wrote that she had seen a man who had stepped away on a bicycle. The attacker was particularly cruel, wrote McNamara, placing plates on the male victims he had tied and telling him that if he heard the harness fall, he would kill the female and he would then go to another room for rape would lead.
The police first named the man the East Area Rapist, believing that he did not kill people until later. The first known attack took place in the middle of the night in the summer of 1976, when a man sneaked into a house in East Sacramento County, raping a young woman and leaving.
Authorities said the same man raped again a few weeks later, then again and again. After a year, two dozen women had been attacked in Sacramento. A victim is said to have been a 13-year-old girl whose family was at home at the time.
Two people were beaten to death with a log fire. Brian and Katie Maggiore were shot down while walking with their dog in Rancho Cordova. A man and his girlfriend were fatally shot in his apartment, with a cellophane-wrapped turkey carcass found on the terrace. The killer, McNamara later wrote, had eaten some of her leftover Christmas dinner before leaving.
The last known victim was 18-year-old Janelle Cruz, who was raped and killed in 1986 in Irvine. Decades passed before DNA testing combined all of these crimes, and investigators realized that the East Area Rapist of Sacramento was the same man named "Original Night Stalker" near LA. DNA evidence has proved crucial in other cases, such as the East Coast Rapist, arrested in 2011, when one of his discarded cigarettes adapted to the genetic material in this case.
Julie Tate and Matt Zapotosky in Washington and Sawsan Morrar of Citrus Heights, California contributed to this report, which has been updated.