Authorities in California believe they have arrested the Golden State Killer, a serial killer who committed at least dozen murders and 45 rapes between 1976 and 1986. He is a former officer in two California police departments.
72-year old Joseph James DeAngelo was charged with two counts of murder on Wednesday after an arrest on Tuesday on a warrant from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento Bee reported. He’s held on suspicion of at least four murders.
Sacramento district attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference that DeAngelo became a suspect six days ago, after a “discarded DNA sample” was recovered. “We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento,” Schubert said .
CBS News reports that DeAngelo was a police officer in Exeter, CA between 1973 and 1976, and in Auburn, CA between 1976 and 1979. He was fired from the latter after he was arrested for stealing a can of dog repellent and a hammer. The Bee reports that DeAngelo had been living “for more than three decades on a quiet street” in Citrus Heights, suburb about 25 minutes northeast of Sacramento.
Jane Carson-Sandler, a woman who was raped in 1976 by the man suspected to be the Golden State Killer, told the New York Times that she prayed that she would never dream about the rape and that her attacker would one day be identified. “I just feel so blessed that God has finally answered all of our prayers, that this monster would eventually be put behind bars,” she told the Times.
There has been a recent surge of interest in the case; this year saw I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a book about the Golden State Killer written by the late journalist Michelle McNamara, and a five-part special on HLN called Unmasking a Killer. After the news of DeAngelo’s arrest broke, McNamara’s widower Patton Oswalt tweeted: “I think you got him Michelle.”