Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested early Wednesday, accused of being the so-called Golden State Killer, connected with 12 murders and more than 50 sexual assaults in California from 1974 through 1986, according to the Sacramento Bee.
DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer and retiree, was arrested after authorities secretly obtained DNA samples after conducting surveillance on him, the newspaper reported. Authorities said efforts to solve the cases were renewed in 2016 and that persistent detective work and criminal science led to the arrest.
Here are five things to know about the Golden State Killer suspect and the investigation:
1. Known by many names: As the case evolved over four decades, the suspect, who has also been connected to home burglaries, had been dubbed by authorities as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, the Visalia Ransacker, and the Diamond Knot Killer, the Sacramento Bee noted.
2. Suspect move along California south: Authorities believe the Golden State Killer started committing crimes in the Sacramento area before moving south through Oakland, and Santa Barbara and Orange counties, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2011, DNA tests tied the same suspect to the crimes in Southern California and Northern California, the newspaper said. The Bee reported that DeAngelo will likely face 12 murder charges in Sacramento, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
3. Methods gave clues: Authorities told the Los Angeles Times that it appeared the suspect had some military and law enforcement training. They told the newspaper that the alleged criminal would sometimes place cups or plates on the backs of victims he tied up so he would have an audible clue if they broke free when he was in another room.
4. Lived unassuming life: Authorities believe that DeAngelo lived quietly for three decades in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights, where he raised a family, the Bee wrote. He worked as a police officer in Exeter and Auburn, California, from 1976 until he was fired in 1979, per the newspaper.
5. Australian connection ruled out: There was some speculation that the Golden State Killer case was connected to cases in Australia to a suspect called “Mr. Cruel,” according to SFGate.com. Even though there were similarities in the Australian cases that started by the time the Golden State Killer’s spree allegedly ended, authorities there believe there is no longer a connection, the website noted.
“Victoria Police is aware of the matter regarding the Golden State Killer in the U.S.,” police wrote in a statement to the Australian, per SFGate.com. “This was reviewed in relation to the outstanding Mr. Cruel investigations in Victoria and any connection has been ruled out.”
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