Since finishing Michelle’s McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been dwelling on the fact that the subject of her book—the Golden State Killer— was in the very towns I drove through and lived in around the time of his killing and raping spree.
The Golden State Killer aka the East Area Rapist aka The Original Night Stalker left mounds of DNA evidence in his wake from 1974 to 1986 yet he was never caught. Hundreds of police detectives have been studying the case for decades. Michelle McNamara obsessed over this case for years writing about it her blog and visiting the places where the crimes had taken place. After reading her book I was captivated.
For the past two weeks I had formulated a short list of would-be perpetrators. A list I thought was pretty spot on for a girl who had only been on the case for two weeks. My short list of suspects was thus:
1. My brother Bob
2. The Candy Man
1. OK. Bob was never really a suspect but he’s the assumed age of the suspect and he is the assumed height as the suspect and he’s lived in the area where the crimes were committed his whole life. I didn’t want to be that person who says, “I can’t believe it was him!” and then everyone else says, “Duh. He’s around the same age and height as the suspect and he lived in the area…”
2. Around 1972, my family lived in Citrus Heights, California. I was walking home from the 3rd grade when a guy pulled up next to me in a van and offered me candy if I would ride with him. I immediately moved to get in the van. My older sister Joan (who I now know did not just want my candy) yanked me back.
3. Doyle was a friend of one of my older siblings and when he would come to our house in Rio Linda, California he would offer the Three Little Kids candy or coin if we would sit on his lap or perform acrobatics. My mom sternly warned us NOT to do these things for Doyle but, damn. Juicy Fruit.
Anyway, they caught him! The Golden State Killer (the name coined by Michelle McNamara) is Joseph James DeAngelo of CITRUS HEIGHTS, CALIFORNIA. DeAngelo might be my Candy Man and who knows he might even share a cell one day with a man named Doyle but he is not, I repeat, not my brother Bob.
McNamara’s book was released posthumously in February this year. She died in 2016. READ THE BOOK! Then watch with me over the coming weeks and months as Joseph James DeAngelo’s life story is unveiled before us and we can all say, “Well done, Michelle”
(While I mumble something akin to, “I’m so sorry Bob but you were the same age…”)