A man accused of 12 killings and 45 rapes committed across California from 1976 to 1986 is thought to be under arrest, according to the FBI spokeswoman Angel Bell. On Wednesday, Ms. Bell made a statement claiming that the agency hopes to finally have, after 40 years, the commonly called Golden State Killer.  However, she did not identify the suspect at first.

The killer, also known as the “East Area Rapist” and “the Original Night Stalker,” has its first recorded rape dated on June 18, 1976. The victim, who was dozing in bed with her 3-year-old son after her husband left for work, was called Jane. She was abruptly awoken by a masked man standing in the bedroom doorway. He also was holding a large butcher knife and a bright flashlight against Jane’s face.

He tied Jane and her son up with shoelaces before he blindfolded and gagged them with torn sheets. Then, the masked man moved the boy off the bed and untied Jane’s ankles. It was the first time authorities sparked a hunt for the Golden State Killer.

Almost 40 years have passed

In a small suburb in Sacramento, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72 years old, was held in custody outside his house on Tuesday, then charged with six counts of murder. He had been undisturbedly living only an hour away from where the 12-year disturbance began. Apparently, Joseph, a former police officer, committed the crimes while still using his uniform.

A series of rapes in an old gold mining area, east of Sacramento, were first linked in 1976 for their geographic proximity. According to authorities, the description of the rapist was similar to the statements collected back then – just as the particular and sadistic rituals that he would inflict on women.

A white man with blond hair, under six feet tall, raped women when their husbands were present. He then murdered them all.

Golden State Killer, Patton Oswalt, Michelle Eileen McNamara, California
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72 years old, might be the killer. Image credit: The Washington Post

The planning of this man was very meticulous. He would even know the precise details of his victims’ schedules. He used a grave, angry whisper to torment them – and also wore gloves and a mask and had some very intriguing characteristics. He would pause for a snack of crackers as his victims lay, terrified, after being raped. He additionally, would place a teacup and saucer on top of their bodies and threatened to kill them if he heard the ceramic rattle.

Communities panicked while his assaults averaged two victims a month. Authorities hired a range of experts to help them solve the case, including a military special forces officer and a psychic. However, as the rapes and murder appeared to have seized in 1986, the case went cold.

Ongoing process

Last week, Sheriff Scott Jones of Sacramento County claimed that investigators had identified DeAngelo. The experts were able to match his DNA with the homicides of Lyman and Charlene Smith in Ventura County, in 1980. Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento district attorney, claimed they had found “the needle in the haystack” right in their county. She had also helped organize a task force back in 2016, which included investigators from across the state and the FBI as well.

Golden State Killer, Patton Oswalt, Michelle Eileen McNamara, California
Police are working to know the truth. Image credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Michelle McNamara, a crime writer, started to write a book called “I’ll be gone in the dark.” That was an exhaustive investigation into the serial killer’s identity. Unfortunately, she was not able to finish it as she passed away in April 2016. Still, the story was completed and published by a journalist and researcher recruited by McNamara’s husband. The book brought back the attention to the case, all around the country.

DeAngelo was arrested after the police officers surveilled his movements and studied his routines. They pounced when he left his home on a warrant stemming from the murder of a married couple from Ventura County in Southern California.

Justice always arrives

As Joseph was suspect of other 12 murders, the Orange County district attorney’s office announced additional charges on Wednesday. Residents of the suburb explained they had to change their lives as the killer was stalking them. Their Californian lives changed forever when they understood that a rapist was all around the neighborhood.

Tony Rackauckas, Orange County district attorney, accompanied a dozen of officials from Sacramento to announce the arrest.

Golden State Killer, Patton Oswalt, Michelle Eileen McNamara, California
Police stopped the investigations back in the 80s. Image credit: The Washington Post

“One person can create a lot of fear. It was like terrorism, not that it was done for the same reason, but it caused the same type of fear,” Tony Rackauckas said.

Still, some officers and agents remain disappointed and painful, as they understand the number of victims and the greatness of the damage. Sean Ragan, a special agent in charge of the Sacramento office for the FBI declared on Wednesday.

“We came together to bring solace to the victims. But we know the pain and anguish has never subsided,” said Sean Ragan.

DeAngelo now rests on a jail cell, and his sentence is still unknown.

Source: BBC News