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Police May Finally Have Caught The Golden State Killer (A.K.A. The East Area Rapist)

By Kristy Puchko | News | April 25, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | News | April 25, 2018 |


It’s been decades since the Golden State Killer stalked California, leaving a path of blood, trauma, and terror. But in the wake of the release of the late Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, some big news has hit all at once. Chiefly, after 27 years, 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and 120 home burglaries, the police have a suspect in custody.

Late last night, local news in Sacramento reported that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department had a possible break in the case of the Golden State Killer (A.K.A. the East Area Rapist). Then came reports that American law enforcement sought out a connection between these California crimes and Australia’s Mr. Cruel case. SF Gate wrote:

Mr. Cruel and the Golden State Killers shared similarities: They broke into homes wearing a mask and claimed they were there to rob the victims, they had long hair, and they’d sometimes pause during attacks to eat food they found in the victim’s kitchen. They were also pathologically meticulous, putting entire neighborhoods under surveillance for weeks while they planned their attacks.

Next, The Daily Beast reported that 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested last night by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department over two murder charges. And Billy Jensen, who collaborated on I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, suspects this could be linked to the Golden State Killer case.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is holding a press conference at noon PST. But ahead of it, McNamara’s widower Patton Oswalt has been jubilant on social media, posting this video:

And in response to Sacbee’s headline: “She wrote the book on the Golden State Killer before dying. Did she just help catch him?” Oswalt tweeted:

He’s not the only one celebrating. True crime enthusiasts across Twitter are cheering McNamara, and the hosts of the podcast My Favorite Murder considered making the 5-hour drive to see the press conference live.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has called the Golden State Killer case “the most prolific unsolved serial killing case probably in modern history.” And frankly, it’s also among the most harrowing. So it’s little wonder that in the boom of true-crime TV, HBO has announced they’ve optioned McNamara’s book for a documentary series. Deadline reports Oswalt will be an executive producer on the series. And if today’s news is as big as we’re all predicting, McNamara’s quest and the docu-series it inspired will finally have an ending.

UPDATE: They got him. Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo has been charged with capital murder and additional counts in connection with the 1980 killings of Lyman and Charlene Smith. DNA proved crucial in securing the arrest.

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.