Joseph James DeAngelo
Joseph James DeAngelo

California authorities announced an arrest Wednesday in the decades-old East Area Rapist/Original Nightstalker/Golden State Killer case.

According to Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Sheriff Scott Jones, DNA in two 1978 killings in Sacramento led to the arrest of a man suspected of being a serial killer tied to dozens of slayings and sexual assaults in the 1970s and '80s.

The suspected California serial killer was identified as 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer during a press conference Wednesday.

Golden State Killer arrest announced by Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Sheriff Scott Jones:

Law enforcement leaders, the FBI and elected District Attorneys from several other California counties were also present for the announcement and took turns speaking about their agencies' roles in the investigation.

The East Area Rapist is suspected of raping 45 women, killing at least 12, and burglarizing 120 homes in California during the 1970s and '80s. At the time, the FBI described the suspect as a white male standing 5'8 to 6 feet tall with and average to thin build.

Armed with a gun, the masked rapist would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He would tie up the man and pile dishes on his back, then rape the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled.


He often took souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry, from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.

The suspect was profiled in the New York Times Best Selling book "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," which was written by the late Michelle McNamara, the wife of comedian Patton Oswalt. McNamara died before she could finish the book, through Billy Jensen finished it.

The comedian tweeted early Wednesday morning, that if the suspect was arrested, he hopes to one day visit to ask questions.

Authorities decided to again publicize the case in 2016 in advance of the 40th anniversary of his first known assault in Sacramento County. FBI and California officials last year renewed their search for the suspect dubbed the East Area Rapist and announced a $50,000 reward for his arrest and conviction. He's linked to more than 175 crimes in all between 1976 and 1986.

Jane Carson-Sandler, who was sexually assaulted in California in 1976 by a man believed to be the so-called "East Area Rapist," said she received an email Wednesday from a retired detective who worked on the case telling her they have identified the rapist and he's in custody.

"I have just been overjoyed, ecstatic. It's an emotional roller-coaster right now," Carson-Sandler, who now lives near Hilton Head, South Carolina, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I feel like I'm in the middle of a dream and I'm going to wake up and it's not going to be true. It's just so nice to have closure and to know he's in jail."

Bruce Harrington, whose brother and sister-in-law were killed in 1980 in Orange County, speaks about the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo:

CA serial killer
CA serial killer

In this June 15, 2016, file photo, law enforcement drawings of a suspected serial killer believed to have committed at least 12 murders across California in the 1970's and 1980's. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

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