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Suspected Golden State Killer Arrested After Four Decades of Mystery

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET: Authorities confirmed during Wednesday’s press conference that Joseph James DeAngelo is believed to be the Golden State Killer and has been arrested. He was charged with two counts of murder in connection to a 1978 slaying, and capital murder charges were filed against him in connection to a 1980 homicide as well. DNA evidence linked him to the crimes.

Joseph James DeAngelo
Joseph James DeAngelo Sacramento Police Department

Has justice prevailed? A suspect has been arrested in the Golden State Killer case after the release of Michelle McNamara’s book about the series of brutal crimes, The Daily Beast reports.

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Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested Wednesday, April 25, on two counts of murder, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and is suspected to be the Golden State Killer.

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara arrive at the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on January 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Lester Cohen/WireImage

The Golden State Killer has been tied to 12 murders, 45 rapes and 120 home invasions that occurred in parts of California in the ‘70s and ‘80s. McNamara, who was married to comedian Patton Oswalt until her death in April 2016, researched and wrote about the case in I’ll Be Gone in the Dark in an effort to identify the man responsible. The author passed away before she finished writing the book, but Oswalt, Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes carried on her work.

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“I think you got him, Michelle,” Oswalt said in an Instagram video on Wednesday, calling the arrest “surreal.”

The Ratatouille actor, 49, also tweeted about how he thought his late wife would react to the news. “She would be beyond excited about this,” he wrote. “I think this is the definition of ‘bittersweet.’”

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The Golden State Killer, first called the East Area Rapist before he moved on to terrorize other regions in California, was known for breaking into couples’ homes, tying them up and raping women.

Golden State Killer sketches FBI

According to The Daily Beast, DeAngelo fits an FBI description of the murderer. He is a former policeman who was fired after allegedly shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer in 1979. An East Area Rapist suspect stabbed a dog just two months later, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark alleges.

A press conference will reportedly be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET to provide more information about the suspected Golden State Killer’s arrest.

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