UPDATE: An arrest in the case of the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer

Over forty years after he first struck, the man known previously as the Original Night Stalker / Visalia Ransacker / East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer has been arrested. Joseph DeAngelo, a former police officer, was taken into custody in Sacramento County, California, in April of 2018.

The case is believe to have first began in June of 1976 when a woman was assaulted in her home in Rancho Cordova, a suburb of Sacramento. The rapist continued to terrorize the area for the remainder of the 70s, escalating from attacking homes with women and children present to homes with both men and women.

By the late 1970s, the man known as the East Area Rapist had moved 50 miles west to Contra Costa County. Five more assaults were reported there. Then, the attacks abruptly stopped.

The trail eventually grew cold. But over the years, criminalist Paul Holes of the Contra Costra Sheriff’s Department, continued to work the case. He ran DNA profiles on semen recovered from the five rapes in his county. He then attempted to track down the rapist. Holes began contacting agencies across the state. 400 miles south, in Orange County, forensic scientist Mary Hong had used DNA to link six rape-murders in her county to a single killer. The East Area Rapist had become a Southern California killer, leaving a trail of deaths in his wake. With the biological link to the Northern California rapes confirmed, investigators now had 50 additional cases to comb through in search of new clues to the serial killer’s identity. But even with the combined evidence and DNA samples, they still could not identify the suspect.

Then in 2018, investigator Paul Holes got the idea to use the killer’s DNA to create a profile on a genealogy site to try to find his identity. In order to find a DNA sample for the testing, Holes turned to Dr. Peter Speth, a forensic pathologist who made it habit to make duplicate rape tests. His diligence resulted in a pristine DNA sample that was able to be used to create the killer’s profile. Holes created an undercover account on the genealogy site GEDMatch, and received back a list of distant relatives. From there investigators combed through the family tree to find the most likely suspect.

The investigators zeroed in on DeAngelo, who fit what they knew about the killer from witness statements. Discarded DNA samples from DeAngelo were then tested against the DNA provided by Dr. Speth, and they were a match.

See the original Unsolved Mysteries segment on this case streaming in S12:E8 with Robert Stack and S7:E22 with Dennis Farina. Also on Lifetime and Escape in SP154.   https://unsolved.com/watch/

 

30 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Cynthia

    So glad they caught him!
    I wish someone would check out a genealogy DNA for Jon Bonet Ramsey! I watched a show recently about it and they mentioned they had a DNA sample.

    Reply

  2. Avatar

    lee hesbrook

    tracked to through afganistan – penisula and busted 2007

    Reply

  3. Avatar

    Elizabeth

    He was a police officer where I lived.

    Reply

  4. Avatar

    Misty Price

    It isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Remember how many rape victims thought he was young a teenager? The cop was already 24. And I don’t think some of the victims think that he was their attacker. If any of them even do. They are just going by the DNA evidence which could have been tampered with, after all this time. Duh! If that’s the case I’m sure it was a cop or FBI that did that! The reward money was tempting to many people in positions o power that abuse their authority all the time!

    Reply

  5. Avatar

    Kevin Palmer

    Michelle McNamara and Paul Holes… both heroes in this case!!!

    Reply

  6. Avatar

    Amy

    I’m not sure if anyone actually checks these, but I’m watching this episode right now and y’all got Larry Poole and Paul Holes lower thirds mixed up.

    Reply

  7. Avatar

    Funnygirl

    My brother had a DNA profile of bith sides of our family & it went back to Neanderthal period. He told me not to spread it around on Facebook because it could capture someone in our family who has committed a crime.

    Reply

  8. Avatar

    Mark MacPhail

    I always knew it was a cop!

    Reply

  9. Avatar

    joycelyn

    With most of these cases its the family members or a friend who knows they are the killer or rapest they have the evidence and or behaviors and they dont report –for this they are more guilty than the person doing the crime straight up this guy was fired from law enforcement —why he was weird and weirder as time went on —–irritated also that rapest and murderers get less time than drug people and women get more time than men but with that said get people help when they are bizzare as children –my son was different –socialy but super bright –i focused on his brain ballance and behaviors hit the reset button he is well ballanced adult to be proud of –his father turns out was not as lucky his biological grandpa was found to be equally bizzare proof biology does play a role upbringing bizzare actually sealed their fate

    Reply

  10. Avatar

    Eileen Mihalko

    If you are into true crimes feel free to join us on The Golden State killer and true crime sleuths https://www.facebook.com/groups/144422749339609/

    Reply

  11. Avatar

    Harley Michelle Morgan

    Well I think the man who kidnapped that girl should be arrested for what he done to her I should know I had to dill with the asak something that the girl went through the person who kidnapped her is a evil person he should pay for what he done to that girl.

    Reply

  12. Avatar

    Bullock

    I remember being young and afraid with this rapist running around. I lived close by. I jogged then, but got a running partner once I heard about this freak. Scared all of us girls. Our big brothers would never let us walk alone or drive alone.

    Reply

  13. Avatar

    Anonymous

    Im srry ur brother wnt mssing

    Reply

  14. Avatar

    Sherrie Epperly

    I love the show won’t to let you know I just started watching the show again after two years ago my brother went missing and I won’t to talk to you about him

    Reply

  15. Avatar

    Willow

    Paul Holes never gave up! What a wonderful person to persist and use new methods to track down this long time killer. I commend you sir and would certainly want you on my side on a case! You deserve a medal! Glad the POS was caught and punished finally.

    Reply

  16. Avatar

    mohammad reza

    i hoped this case won,t be like a jack the ripper,torso killer,abd zodic,and finally killer caught by DNA,i was very sad about ,last victim,so beautiful and innocent, jannelle cruze.,

    Reply

  17. Avatar

    Rina Tamada

    I’m glad that case of Golden state killer is over!

    Reply

  18. Avatar

    Theresa Kulenkamp

    Michelle McNamara had a hand in this, too. She died trying to find the killer.

    Reply

  19. Avatar

    India

    Thank God, he has been found and arrested. I pray the victims find justice and peace. I am a survivor myself of rape. It’s hard at first to live but every day. It gets a little easier. Day by day.

    Reply

  20. Avatar

    Margie james

    I am glad they caught him.

    Reply

  21. Avatar

    Shilo

    Thank you so much for the job you do!!! You are an amazing person!!!!!

    Reply

  22. Avatar

    Bill Blaski

    Hopefully this old man will rot in prison.

    Reply

  23. Avatar

    TIN

    I was on the case for a year tell the man who took him into custody thank You

    Reply

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