After decades without justice, victims of the Golden State Killer and their families say that they can finally begin to heal following the suspect’s arrest.
Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, was arrested on Wednesday thanks to DNA evidence collected from his trash. DeAngelo is suspected of having committed at least 12 homicides and close to 50 rapes during a crime spree across California that lasted between 1979 and 1986. The Golden State Killer, who was also known during his reign of terror as the East Area Rapist, is now facing four murder charges and could be linked to more than 50 other crimes, authorities say.
Following news of DeAngelo’s arrest, his victims and their families are seeking closure and healing, NBC News reports.
Jane Carson-Sandler, 72, was a nursing student when the Golden State Killer attacked her in 1976. Carson-Sandler was lying in bed with her 3-year-old son when a man wearing a ski mask broke into her home and held a knife to her chest. After tying up both her and her child, he raped her. The man responsible for that traumatic night was never caught — until now.
“I feel like I’m in the middle of a dream and I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be true,” Carson-Sandler (pictured above), who wrote a book about her experience in 2014, told The Associated Press. “It’s just so nice to have closure and to know he’s in jail.”
Bruce Harrington, whose brother and sister-in-law were beaten to death in their home by the Golden State Killer in 1980, expressed a similar sentiment during a press conference, The Los Angeles Times reports.
“It is time for all victims to grieve and to take measure one last time. To bring closure to the anguish that we’ve all suffered for the last 40 some odd years,” Harrington said. “It’s time for the victims to begin to heal. So long overdue.”
DeAngelo has been charged for the 1978 murders of Brian and Katie Maggiore, as well as for the deaths of Keith and Patrice Harrington in 1980. Authorities suspect that DeAngelo may be responsible for dozens more unsolved rapes, murders, sexual assaults, and burglaries.
“We all knew as part of this team that we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also all knew that the needle was there,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said during a press conference on Wednesday. “We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento.”
[Photo: Getty Images]