A Serial Killer From The 70's Was Just Identified And Arrested Because Of A Book That Patton Oswalt's Wife Wrote Before She Died

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SACRAMENTO BEEAuthorities are expected to announce the arrest Wednesday of a suspect in the decades-old East Area Rapist case, The Bee has learned.

The suspect has been living in the Sacramento area and was identified after a renewed push of the investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a source said.

The East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer, is believed to have killed at least 12 people, raped at least 45 victims and burglarized hundreds of homes.

True crime writer Michelle McNamara’s book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” reached No. 1 on The New York Times’ bestseller list last month and drew renewed attention to the case. A documentary on the search for the killer aired at the Delta King Theatre in Old Sacramento earlier this month.

What an incredible story.  As you may know I am a huge scholar of serial killers.  I don’t know if that’s weird to admit, probably don’t want to put that in writing now that I think about it, but whatever.   Just fascinated by their Wikipedia pages, kind of like I’m scared of flying but obsessed with reading about plane crashes.  Anyway enough about me.  If you remember, Patton Oswalt’s wife recently passed away tragically in her sleep at the age of 46.

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But before she went, she wrote a true crime book called “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” that shot to the top of the NYT Bestseller list.  It was about her research and personal investigation into “The Golden State Killer,” who is believed to be responsible for 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and 120 home burglaries in California in the 1970s and ‘80s.

And as often happens in today’s day and age, once the story caught on and spread through social media, it spurred the police department to reopen the investigation and see if they could find anything.  Just like Making A Murderer and Serial.  If you get your story viral enough the cops have no choice but to re-look at an old case.  And in this case – it looks like it actually worked.  The Sacramento PD is convinced they caught the guy – Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72 year old who has been living in Sacramento.

The Bee reported that the suspect had been living in the Sacramento area and was identified after a “renewed push” of the investigation by the sheriff’s department and district attorney. The fifth victim of the East Area Rapist, Jane Carson-Sandler, said she learned about the arrest from two detectives in the case.

“I just found out this morning,” she told The Island Packet. “I’m overwhelmed with joy. I’ve been crying, sobbing.”  [The Daily Beast]

What an awesome accomplishment for Michelle McNamara and awesome moment for Patton Oswalt.

Also a great job by police for finally making this scumbag face justice.

DeAngelo was at one point a policeman in Auburn, outside of Sacramento, according to a news clipping Jensen sent to The Daily Beast…

Two months later, in September 1979, the East Area Rapist stabbed a dog while prowling along a neighborhood.

The Golden State Killer had a specific modus operandi that confounded investigators for decades, in which he “gained entry into the homes of his victims by prying open a window or door while they slept,” according to the FBI.

He would then shine a flashlight into the face of his victims, in order to blind them, before tying up couples and then raping the women. He took small, personal items from his victims’ homes, including mementos and wedding rings. He sometimes called to torment them afterward.  [DB]

Here’s the Wikipedia for The Golden State Killer if you want to read about just how evil this guy was/is.

[via The Sacramento Bee & The Daily Beast]