Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home in Sacramento on Tuesday night after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the Golden State Killer from the 1970s and 80s
One of the original investigators on the Golden State Killer case says she is ‘thrilled beyond measure’ that the suspect has finally been caught after 40 years.
Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home in Sacramento, California on Tuesday night after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the Golden State Killer from the 1970s and 80s.
The culprit, also known as the East Area Rapist, is suspected of at least 12 slayings and 50 rapes in 10 counties across Northern to Southern California.
Carol Daly, who retired as a Sacramento County Sheriff’s detective in 2001, was one of the main investigators on the case in the 70s.
She told The Sacramento Bee that she was shocked when current Sheriff Scott Jones called her on Tuesday to inform her of the arrest.
Daly, now a grandmother, interviewed the majority of the rape victims and remained in contact with them over the years despite all the leads on the attacker drying out.
‘I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that I had that just welled up. Forty years of living with this,’ she said of hearing the news.
A break in the case and DeAngelo’s arrest came together in ‘light speed’ during the past six days. After watching him for several days, deputies took him by surprise on Tuesday when he left his home (pictured above)
DNA testing linked Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, to some of the 12 murders carried out across California in the 1970s and 80s
‘It was very difficult knowing what all of the victims went through. I know that it has been a nightmare their whole lives. So to bring an end to all of that, I just don’t know if I can even put words to it. I am just overwhelmed with gratitude and with joy and with a peace I haven’t had for years.
‘There was not a night I went to bed before I closed my eyes that I didn’t think about what those victims went through when they opened their eyes and saw the rapist in their home.’
Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, DeAngelo’s name had not been on the radar of law enforcement before last week.
Looking back, Daly said she had no regrets about the way they carried out their investigation.
‘I have looked at the material that I have saved over the years. I have looked at it and looked at it, and I have talked with other investigators, and there isn’t anything we missed. We tried everything possible,’ she said.
Daly said investigators never stopped looking into the case.
A break in the case and DeAngelo’s arrest came together in ‘light speed’ during the past six days.
Authorities, however, refused to reveal what led to DeAngelo.
FBI Special Agent Marcus Knutson (left) and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Paige Kneeland (right) search for evidence in the case in this undated photo
The Golden State Killer is suspected of committing dozens and dozens of crimes in Sacramento County in the late 1970s. Pictured is crime scene evidence from one of the attacks
Police have linked more than 12 homicides to the Golden State Killer. Pictured are fingerprints police lifted from one of the crime scenes
The serial killer and rapist is also suspected of committing nearly 50 rapes in southern California over the span of a decade. The above photo shows a home that was ransacked by the Golden State Killer
Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said detectives with ‘dogged determination’ were able to get a sample of DNA from something DeAngelo discarded, though he wouldn’t say what the item was.
The genetic material was not a match, but there were enough similarities for investigators to return for more and they said they were able to get a conclusive match.
After watching DeAngelo for several days, deputies took him by surprise on Tuesday when he left his home.
DeAngelo was arrested on suspicion of committing double-killings in Sacramento and Ventura counties and later charged with four counts of murder.
He is suspect of killing eight other people whose murders were attributed to the Golden State Killer.
Married couple Brian and Katie Maggiore were shot dead while walking their dog in Rancho Cordova, California on February 2, 1978. Joseph James DeAngelo has been charged with their murders
DeAngelo is also charged with murdering Lyman and Charlene Smith at their Ventura County home on March 13, 1980
Armed with a gun, the masked attacker would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping.
He sometimes tied up the man and piled dishes on his back, then raped the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled.
He often took souvenirs from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.
DeAngelo was charged over the brutal murder of married couple Brian and Katie Maggiore on February 2, 1978. They are believed to have been his first victims.
The couple were walking their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood, just outside Sacramento, when they were chased down, shot and killed.
He is also charged with murdering Lyman and Charlene Smith at their Ventura County home on March 13, 1980.
They were bludgeoned to death with a fireplace log and were later found by their 12-year-old son. Smith was an attorney who was just days from being appointed a judge. His wife worked as a court clerk.