Fifty rapes. Twelve murders. Forty years later… One man finally caught.
Between 1976 and 1986, the Golden State Killer launched a reign of terror and committed at least 5 rapes, 12 murders, and 120 residential burglaries throughout California. Then he disappeared without a trace – until now.
On Tuesday, April 24th – authorities arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in a Sacramento suburb who’s DNA matched evidence from the investigation. In the 1970s, DeAngelo was a law enforcement officer for six years before he was fired for shoplifting.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said, “Very possibly he was committing these crimes during the time he was employed as a peace officer, and obviously we’ll be looking into whether it was actually on the job.” Adding, “That someone can commit such heinous crimes, and finding out someone in a position of trust could betray that is absolutely unbelievable.”
One of the victims, Jane Carson-Sadler, who was tied up by the masked madman in her home alongside her three-year-old son, told CNN News, “When I think back about all of the lives that he destroyed and all of the folks that he has affected over all of these years, I can’t help to get angry. I want to punch him.”
These are just some of those lives he destroyed and the most horrific facts about his crimes…
Victims Were Bound, Threatened and Raped
The Golden State Killer was wanted by the FBI for more than forty years.
They described on their website, “The (Golden State Killer) gained entry into the homes of his victims by prying open a window or door while they slept. He would then shine a flashlight into the face of his victims, tie up the female victim and, if a male victim was present, tied him up as well.”
“(The killer) then ransacked the residence and raped the female victim. He often took small items from the residences including coins, cash, identification, and jewelry. Some victims reported receiving telephone calls from the suspect after the crimes.”
He Stalked His Victims Beforehand And Tormented Them After
Following in the creepy footsteps of Dennis “BTK Killer” Rader who worked as a home security alarm installer, the Gold State Killer also stalked his victim and monitored their movements before he struck.
A forensic team determined that he would enter the home of a victim before the attack and learn the layout, as well as memorizing names and study family photos. He left shoelaces and ropes under cushions in preparation for his attack. He would then make disturbing phone calls to the home before his attacks, as well as disabling porch lights and unlocking windows.
When the victim woke to find a flashlight in their face – they were stunned and momentarily paralyzed. He then attacked – with the advantage of having his weapons ready and in place, and knowing his exact getaway route.
Even after his sinister crimes – the hell for his victims was not over yet. Detectives tapped the phone of one rape victim and they recorded his call, threatening, “Gonna kill you.”
He Had A Creepy Chant Before He Killed
On October 1st, 1979, one terrified victim who lived in a town near Santa Barbara, recalls being facedown in her living room with her feet bound and wrists tied behind her back. Her shorts were thrown over her head to blindfold her.
She heard the killer chant from another room, “I’ll kill ’em, I’ll kill ’em, I’ll kill ’em.” This was later described by an investigator as “a guy pumping himself up for an athletic endeavor.”
Luckily she managed to free herself from the ties and escaped out the door.
He Took Creepy “Trophies” To Remember His Crimes
Not just a cold-hearted killer, he also took many items from the homes of his victims. Cufflinks, wedding rings, driver’s licenses, souvenir coins, jewelry, and even 850 pennies, would all be kept as tokens of his crimes.
Former FBI agent John Douglas (a.k.a Mindhunter) explained, “Many of us get trophies for our accomplishments. For killers, taking souvenirs extends the fantasy into that realm. My accomplishment may be solving a case. I get a plaque or some kudos; their accomplishment is perpetrating a crime. I get to put the plaque up on the wall of my den. They get to take something from the victim to give to the girlfriend, or put up in the attic.”
Nobody Really Knew What He Looked Like – Till Now
The Golden State Killer was masked during his sinister crimes and along with blinding his victims using torchlight – he was unrecognizable. Police worked extensively with the victims to try and determine exactly who they were looking for but it was not an easy task.
He was described on the FBI website as “a White male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, and approximately 5’10” tall. He may have/had blond or light brown hair and an athletic build. He may have had an interest in the military, or had some military training, leaving him familiar and proficient with firearms.”
They offered $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction.
We are currently following this case and will update here with any new information