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Golden State Killer: Police arrest ex-cop in connection to serial murders and rapes

The case included 12 murders, 45 sexual assaults and over 120 burglaries.

After decades of searching, police in California have made an arrest in the Golden State Killer case. The killer was linked to 12 murders, 45 sexual assaults and over 120 burglaries in the Sacramento area in the 1970s and '80s.

At a press conference, police identified the man as Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, and a police source had previously told People that DeAngelo was former law enforcement. He was living in a suburb of Sacramento at the time of his arrest.

As of right now, DeAngelo is being charged with four murders: Brian and Katie Maggiore, who were killed on Feb. 2, 1978 and Lyman and Charlene Smith, who were killed in March of 1980. They found DeAngelo through sophisticated DNA matching, and they've linked him to four murders so far, but police originally thought the Golden State Killer was responsible for 12, and victims ranged in age from 13 to 41.

DeAngelo was employed by two separate police departments in California in the '70s, and investigators are trying to determine whether he committed these crimes while he was on duty.

The attacks began in 1978, and the killer would break into homes and enter the victim's bedroom, shining a flashlight in their eyes. Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schuber described the killer's methods in 2016.

In 2016, when police expanded the investigation to a national search, Shuber called it a must-solve. "The answer is out there somewhere," Schubert said at the time. "It is a case that needs to be solved because these women and these families deserve the answers and the person if alive needs to be brought to justice. It has been 40 years of this."

She likened it to searching for a "need in a haystack," but was shocked that they found the needle right in Sacramento. Jane Carson Sandler, who survived a sexual assault by the Golden State Killer, told People she was relieved he'd been found. "I am speechless. Almost sick to my stomach because I am so excited. It is a dream come true."

SOURCE: Cosmopolitan US