The Golden State Killer Mystery


Brianna Noto, Staff Writer

Golden State Killer

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. is a husband, father, and grandfather living in the suburbs of North California. Until Tuesday, he was just a normal man, living quietly with his family, free of suspicion, then police and FBI agents broke into his home.  According to police, DNA testing proves that he’s the Golden State Killer. If this is true, DeAngelo has committed at least 45 rapes, over 100 burglaries, and 12 suspected murders.

Detectives had been searching for the Golden State Killer for 4 decades. Criminal DNA databases had no hits,  but investigator Paul Holes thought he could get to the killer through his genetics. Holes used the killer’s DNA from crime scenes and traced it back to his early ancestors. “DeAngelo kind of bubbled to the surface,” Holes said. “We’d been looking at him and others for six weeks, and when others dropped off, the circumstantial evidence started to build up [against DeAngelo] and we decided we needed to get his DNA.” Holes and his team created about 25 family trees until they were led to Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.. The DNA from crime scenes matched up with DeAngelo’s and he was arrested in Citrus Heights on April 24th.

DeAngelo was a Vietnam veteran in his 20s, and a police officer in the town of Exeter in his 30s, while he was committing crimes. He joined the police force in 1973, but the Exeter police department is unable to find any further employment records. In November of 1973 DeAngelo married Sharon Marie Huddle and the two started a family together soon after. He served in the Exeter Police Department until 1976 and after that he took another job at the Auburn Police Department, which is about 35 miles outside of Sacramento. It was during this year that the killings and rapes started.


He was called the “East Area Rapist” in the beginning of his violent spree. He has also been known as the Original Night Stalker. Women were assaulted while their husbands were tied up in the house and he terrorized entire neighborhoods. The first of his victims was a woman named Jane Carson-Sandler who was raped on June 18th, 1976. The killer broke into her home and raped her while she and her 3 year old son were tied up. “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,” Carson-Sandler said. “I want to punch him.”


For a little while, De  Angelo’s victims were mostly women who were alone or with their children but in 1977, a year after his first attack, victims expanded to couples in their homes. The killer staked out the targeted homes, and took items from his victims as souvenirs. He was also known to raid victims’ fridges if he was hungry.

The Golden State Killer Case is extremely complex and even more dangerous. This case was 44 years in the making and many lives were affected before he was caught. Now, the man who violated over 200 people has been identified, and will not terrorize anymore.