Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

How a Car Door Handle Helped Crack the Golden State Killer Case

How a Car Door Handle Helped Crack the Golden State Killer Case

Three days later, investigators collected trash from cans left outside DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights, California.

After investigating for more than 40 years, police zeroed in on DeAngelo by using genealogical websites to identify potential relatives of the killer based on DNA collected at a crime scene.

Joseph James DeAngelo, the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, was shopping at a Hobby Lobby near his California home when police swabbed his auto door handle for DNA that linked him to a decadelong crime spree in the 1970s and '80s. The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, is believed to be responsible for more than 50 rapes and a dozen murders all over California.

A judge ruled to unseal the search and arrest warrants of Joseph DeAngelo.

Sacramento Sheriff Detective Robert Peters, who authored the search warrant probable cause statement, did not indicate why he believes DeAngelo came to the Bay Area, but indicated all the Contra Costa rapes happened within a "few minutes driving distance of Interstate 680".

Santa Barbara County prosecutors have filed four counts of capital murder against DeAngelo in connection with four homicides committed in Goleta. He wrote that hundreds of suspects had been contacted over the years for those crimes, but all the men had been eliminated.

Authorities sent it for testing and matched it to semen recovered at some of the Golden State Killer's crime scenes, the arrest warrant said. Judge Michael Sweet spent this week going line by line through the records to determine what should be blacked out before releasing the documents.

The documents unsealed by a California judge after a motion from news outlets provide a glimpse into detectives' work in the days leading up to the suspect's arrest.

Court documents released Friday detail how investigators used genetic material to eventually arrest DeAngelo.

DeAngelo is also charged with killing Cheri Domingo while committing a rape and a burglary and killing Greg Sanchez while committing a burglary - both on July 27, 1981, a complaint says. He also took drivers' licenses, photographs and other identification from his victims, according to the documents.

On Dec. 10, 1975, the Visalia officer waited in a garage they suspected might be targeted and spotted a prowler peeping through a window. One of the weapons is described as "possibly a metal sprinkler head".

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