Cracking Open A Cold Case: The Golden State Killer and The Legacy of Michelle McNamara
Joseph DeAngelo. If you don’t know that name, you will soon enough. Yesterday, April 25th, 72 year old Joseph DeAngelo was arrested in connection with a cold case that rocked the Bay area for a decade from 1976 to 1986. For a decade, the man known as The Original Night Stalker raped over 50 women and killed at least 12 people. The arrest of DeAngelo is the first move of any significance in years. The case of The Diamond Knot Killer has been covered extensively over the years and lived on in the Tumblr pages and Reddit threads of true crime buffs all over the world but the most significant recent coverage came from the amazing book “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” by the late true crime author, Michelle McNamara.
McNamara coined the name “The Golden State Killer” although, he was also known as The East Bay Rapist and The East Area Rapist. He’s been one of the most elusive serial rapists and/or murderers in modern US history. McNameras book is one that I implore any true crime buff to read because she was simply masterful at what she did. But more importantly, her research may have actually led to the capture of this killer if DeAngelo is, in fact, The Golden State Killer. Over the years, the case has seen developments all over the map. People have been questioned & suspected only to be exonerated by DNA evidence or alibi. Up until yesterday, no significant leads had surfaced. DeAngelo would make sense if he does end up being the killer. He’s a former cop and he’s old enough to have been active during the time the crimes occurred. McNamara, however, never let the case go and researched it for years. It was one of the most involved cases she had investigated prior to her death.
Usually, I’m one of the funny ones here on this site. This isn’t one of those things I’m going to be throwing a lot of dick jokes at, though. I’m a fan of true crime and serial killers, as much as one can be a fan of those things. The cases intrigue me. The psychology behind the monster gets my intellectual juices flowing. The mystery behind the cases always keeps my interest. This is one of those cases that happens to be a true crime nerds wet dream. We have someone that was active for a full decade, evaded arrest, graduated from rape to murder and then vanished off everyone’s radar. That’s not to say that the police in California stopped looking, because they never stopped…the trail just ran cold. There was a significant chance that the killer was going to take his crimes to his grave. And now, it looks like that may not be the case. Between DNA and extensive research & investigation from McNamara, it looks like we may see justice served on a case over 3 decades old.
The last significant movement in this case was in 2001, when law enforcement concluded that the rapes from The East Area Rapist case and The Original Night Stalker murders were committed by the same person. This was linked by DNA and, after the announcement; the killer actually called one of his original rape victims and mocked her by asking if she “remembered how they used to play”. One thing about serial killers is that they’re real fucking proud of their work most of the time and will always take an opportunity to rub it in the face of a victim. Real assholes, these guys. It’s one of the real dickhead traits of serial killers, aside from the raping and killing of course.
As of April 25th, 2018, it looks like the case of The Golden State Killer may be coming to a close. And it looks like the legacy of Michelle McNamara will be cemented in the capturing of Joseph DeAngelo. McNamara’s work on this case as a researcher and investigator coupled with DNA evidence may be bringing justice to over 50 rape victims and the families of over 12 murder victims. We may be looking at the end, finally, to one of California’s most notorious unsolved cases. And a fitting tribute to the legacy of Michelle McNamara.