Officials said they used DNA evidence to link DeAngelo to the crimes. Then the murders stopped in 1981 until five years later, when Janelle Cruz, 18, was found raped and beaten to death in her Irvine home.
McNamara no doubt would have been pleased and perhaps vindicated by the arrest of 72-year-old former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo on two counts of murder; Sacramento police, who made the arrest, said they are preparing more charges. Mr. DeAngelo's name never appears in the book, and he wasn't on their radar as a suspect, Mr. Haynes said. "I said, 'I don't care.' As soon as [I'd] start answering he'd say 'shut up, shut up, shut up'".
Starting in the summer of 1976, the authorities say the Golden State Killer was responsible for several rapes and burglaries in the Sacramento suburbs of Rancho Cordova and Carmichael. She died in her sleep in 2016 at age 46. He did and the book instantly became a New York Times bestseller. A DNA sample collected from the scene more than a decade later ultimately revealed it was the Golden State Killer.
"I had the creeps about this guy for a long time", added Eddie Verdon, another neighbor who allegedly caught DeAngelo snooping around his property.
Kevin Tapia said when he was a teenager, DeAngelo falsely accused him of throwing things over their shared fence, prompting a heated exchange between DeAngelo and his father.
"Not at anybody, just (expressing) his self-frustration", explained Natalia Bedes-Correnti, who lives just a few houses down from the alleged murderer and rapist. The so-called "Golden State Killer" is thought to have committed at least killed 12 homicides, 45 rapes and over 120 burglaries in the 1970s and '80s.
COPS imagine they've lastly snared one in all America's worst serial killers after a 30-year manhunt.
"It kept interest and tips coming in", Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. A home in that community belonging to a former police officer was being searched Wednesday by FBI investigators and police from several agencies.
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The crime spree spanned 10 California counties in all, said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who recalled she was 12 in 1976 when a wave of violent home invasions shattered a "time of innocence" in which area residents routinely left their doors unlocked. Davis said. "So many people were actually victims that were hurt, and my heart goes out to them and I was just incredibly lucky and I feel really bad for them, and I hope their families can somehow get some closure".
Officials would not confirm DeAngelo is the suspect Wednesday morning. He was also charged with the capital murders of a couple killed in March 1980 in Ventura County, California.
DeAngelo, who was also dubbed the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, was blamed for a raft of crimes up and down California starting in 1974 and ending - for reasons still unexplained - in 1986.
Totten says prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the former police officer.
"These cases are some of the most horrific I've had to investigate", said Erika Hutchcraft, an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
A 57-year-old woman says she came face to face with the East Area Rapist when she just 14-years-old and was able to escape by running into her neighbor's yard. Police said he terrorized the state of California for a decade, killing 12 people and sexually assaulting nearly 50 others from 1976 through 1986.
He and McNamara's fans were crediting the late sleuth's years of dogged work with helping solve the crime and were disappointed when police didn't give her credit at a news conference announcing the arrest.
Wardlow said she looks forward to going to Sacramento to watch the proceedings.