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Has The Golden State Killer Been Arrested? Joseph James DeAngelo Nabbed In Serial Killer Case

The killer is believed to be responsible for at least 12 homicides and close to 50 rapes.

By Gina Tron

One of the most elusive serial killers in modern history may have finally been caught.

Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a man suspected to be the Golden State Killer: Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer. He was charged in Sacramento with two murders. 

Police plan to announce more details about the bust Wednesday afternoon. 

The Golden State Killer, who has never previously been identified, is believed to be responsible for at least 12 homicides and close to 50 rapes between 1979 and 1986 across California, according to the FBI. The man is also known as the East Bay Rapist also allegedly committed dozens of burglaries in the area. 

Investigative journalist Billy Jensen tweeted a picture of an old article that reveals DeAngelo was once arrested for shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer in Sacramento. At the time, he served on the Auburn Police Department.

The FBI said he targeted women in their homes and also couples. He’d pry open a window or door while people slept and then shine a light into their eyes before tying them up. He’d rob them and rape the women. He’s also accused of shooting a couple to death while they were walking their dog. Some victims of sexual assault reported receiving telephone calls from the killer even after the attack.

Earlier this week, police announced that they reached out to Australian authorities to see if the Golden State Killer suspect moved to Australia after his attacks suddenly stopped in 1986. In Australia, there is another unsolved series of attacks by a suspect called "Mr. Cruel," according to SFGate.

A year after the Golden State Killer disappeared, similar crimes began happening down under.  The suspect broke into homes and attacked at least three women, one of which was murdered. Both “Mr. Cruel” and the Golden State Killer would be about 70 years old today, police theorize.

Listen to our Martinis & Murder episodes on the case:

[Photos: FBI sketches]