On June 18, 1976, the man who would later become known as The Golden State Killer, committed his first known rape. His reign of terror would span for ten years, and his official victim count would come in at well over 75 by the time he was done.
Originally known as the East Area Rapist, or the Original Night Stalker, he committed 50 rapes and killed 12 individuals. The problem with figuring out how many crimes the Golden State Killer truly committed is that no one is sure how many aliases he truly went by.
His crimes were spread out over different cities and counties in California, including Sacramento, Santa Clara, and Alameda. While a few identities were linked, such as the Visalia Ransacker, there is no knowing how many crimes he committed that were tied to different aliases.
In 2016, 40 years after his first known rape, the Federal Bureau of Investigation renewed their search to find this monster, offering a $50,000 reward for information.
For 42 years, he evaded arrest and no one was able to identify him. On April 25, 2018, police announced that they had arrested a former Auburn California Police Officer, Joseph James DeAngelo for murder, and they believe that he is the Golden State Killer.
DeAngelo is a Vietnam vet, who served in the United States Navy. He graduated from Sierra College in police science, before attending Sacramento State where he received a Bachelor’s in criminal justice.
DeAngelo, now 72 years old, was 30 years old when his crime spree began. He was employed with the Auburn Police Department from 1973 until he was fired in 1979 for shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer from a local store.
Although it wasn’t connected at the time, it is now believed that DeAngelo used the dog repellent during his crimes. His victims admitted that they couldn’t place his scent, and dogs had avoided him.
DeAngelo made a series of threatening calls to his victims after he assaulted them with the intent of scaring them. On January 2, 1978, he called his first known rape victim and threatened her, saying he was going to kill her. She had recorded the call, and when it was shared, some believed that they had heard a police radio in the background, and they believed he had stolen a radio. No one believed then that he was a police officer.
During another of his calls, in 1991, the victim stated she had heard a woman and children in the background, leaving her to wonder if her rapist had started a family. He had. DeAngelo was married and had three children. He has since become separated from his wife. We will not be naming them as one of his daughters has already been harassed and threatened by many, and we don’t want to continue that cycle.
Throughout the course of the investigation, police discovered DNA evidence. Throughout the years, they compared it to databases all around the world and were shocked when they found a hit in Australia. The hit led them to someone much too young to be the Golden State Killer, and police then realized that they were the child of this serial killer and rapist. When they asked the descendant, they stated that their father was in the US Navy and had been stationed in Australia but they weren’t sure of his name.
Police have not yet revealed all of the details behind their capture of DeAngelo, and will only state that he was captured due to the use of DNA evidence. According to some sources, DeAngelo has since confessed to being the Visalia Ransacker, who has been blamed for over 100 crimes.
DeAngelo’s capture has brought peace to the lives of those who suffered at his hands, and many of his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41 years old, can’t believe he was finally caught. DeAngelo will pay for his crimes, and the main thing left for the police to do, is to figure out just how many crimes he committed under how many names.
Please pray for DeAngelo’s victims as they are forced to come face to face with this monster and try to heal from what he did. Pray for his daughters and granddaughters who are being attacked for no reason other than being related to him. We hope that all of his victims and their families find peace as this horrific chain of events draws to a close.
This is a horrible story, and we know that sometimes we need a reminder of the good in the world at a time like this, so be sure to check out the video below!