Former police officer is suspected Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist


After more than three decades, authorities have made an arrest in the notorious Golden State Killer case, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Authorities are expected to announce the arrest Wednesday of a man suspected of terrorizing California residents beginning in the mid-1970s, according to the Bee. The suspect has been living in the Sacramento area and was identified after a renewed push of the investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department and District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, a source told the Bee.

Although no suspect has been publicly identified, jail records indicate Joseph James Deangelo was booked into county jail Tuesday night on two counts of murder, based on an arrest warrant from the Ventura County Sheriffs Department.

The Sacramento County Sheriffs Department could not immediately be reached for comment. Authorities did not confirm with the Bee that DeAngelo is the suspect in the “East Bay Rapist” case.

FBI agents and law enforcement officials from Sacramento County and Southern California were outside a home Wednesday morning in Citrus Heights, according to the Bee. The Bee is reporting that Joseph James DeAngelo has lived at that home for at least two decades, according to public records.

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, 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 in the Sacramento area, Central Valley, Bay Area and Southern California.

Investigators believe the suspect known as the East Area Rapist was active in Sacramento between 1976 and 1978, culminating in a the murder of a husband and wife on Feb. 2, 1978 in Rancho Cordova, according to the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department. Following the murders of Katie and Brian Maggiore, the East Area Rapist didnt strike within the jurisdiction of the Sacramento Sheriffs Department again.

But authorities believe the same man continued terrorizing residents in the Bay Area before committing several murders in Southern California. The DNA from evidence located during both series was linked in 2001, according to authorities.

Authorities believe the suspect raped 37 people in the Sacramento area and Central Valley and killed two between 1976 and 1978, according to the Bee. Authorities believe the suspect attacked people in San Jose, Concord, San Ramon, Walnut Creek and Danville, among many other cities.

On the Sacramento County Sheriffs Office website, there is a section dedicated to the cold case, including a video interview with homicide Sgt. Paul Belli published in June, 2016.

In the video, Belli describes the terror that was unleashed in the late 1970s during a string of rapes in the Sacramento area.

“It was so impactful on so many people,” Belli said. “Even now, all this time later, as we talk to other people, we always get the stories about what was going on in peoples lives. Ive heard stories of fathers sleeping with guns by their bedsides, shotguns very close, things of that nature.”

In the video, Belli describes the suspect as “an extremely prolific offender.”

“When you look at a number of the sexual assaults that occurred in Sacramento County, that takes a great toll on the families,” Belli said. “A number of them were couples.

“Here you have somebodys wife being rape in their home while the husband is home and unable to do anything about it. Thats very terrorizing. That can only be described to me as somebody whos wanting to develop that terror and create that type of fear.”

The sheriffs office also included a video interview with FBI Special Agent Marcus Knutson, who described how the “East Area Rapist” operated in the Sacramento area during the late 70s. The first rape occurred on June 18, 1976 with a female victim in the Rancho Cordova area of Sacramento.

The crimes escalated, with the rapist breaking into homes occupied by single women and couples, Knutson said.

When the suspect found a couple in bed, he would have the woman bind the man, Knutson said. Then the rapist would bind the woman and re-bind the man.

Then he would take the woman to another part of the house and rape her. In some instances, the rapist would put plates or cups on the backs of the male victims, threatening to come back and kill them if the plates fall over.

“Our guy would vanish in the middle of the night,” Knutson said. “He would just disappear.”

Authorities believe the reign of terror included phone calls with threats of murder.

The FBIs website includes an audio recording of a 1977 phone call believed to be from the East Area Rapist in which a woman answers “Hello?” and the caller breathes heavily into the receiver and whispers “Im going to kill you” three times.

The rapist would also ransack the homes and take small items, such as jewelry or cash.

A five-part documentary about the case, “Unmasking a Killer,” recently aired on HLN.

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