Media from throughout the state and country were in Sacramento for the court appearance of Joseph James DeAngelo, who police say is the notorious Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist.
Officers began to watch DeAngelo's movements, and they picked up a discarded item that had his DNA on it. The Golden State Killer is infamous for his masked attacks on women and couples in their homes while the occupants were sleeping.
There aren't strong privacy laws to keep police from trolling ancestry site databases, said Steve Mercer, the chief attorney for the forensic division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Two of the largest, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, said Thursday that they weren't involved in the case. She says she empathizes with DeAngelo's loved ones because as the victims are getting some answers, his family's lives are about to get rockier.
Cindy Fernandez, Renee Voelker and Judy Gelein, who call themselves the "Rancho Girls" for growing up in Rancho Cordova, were first in line to see the arraignment Friday of Joe DeAngelo, 72, who is accused of terrorizing their neighborhood and much of California in the 1970s and '80s and has been called the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist.
"I'm just tickled that they've caught him", said Margaret.
The Ransacker's crimes have not yet been added to the tally announced Tuesday in Sacramento because there is no DNA evidence connecting DeAngelo to the Visalia crimes, Salazar said.
Detectives built a family tree and narrowed it down until they zeroed in on the 72-year-old former police officer.
Ironically, DeAngelo continued to live in and around the areas where he allegedly conducted a reign of terror that had residents in the affected counties buying handguns for self-defense, acquiring dogs as early warning systems and putting multiple locks on their houses.
The Visalia suspect was seen wearing a ski mask and eluded capture because of an apparent deep-knowledge of police work.
"It seems insane to say a police officer investigating a very serious crime can't do something your cousin can do", Murphy said.
Visalia police also have fingerprints and shoe tracks that will be investigated for matches to DeAngelo.
"An vast investigation is ongoing as we speak", Totten said.
Investigators took two vehicles, motorcycle and fishing boat out of his three-car garage and put up tarps to block news cameras. Today it was revealed that DeAngelo was a police officer in the towns of Exeter (just southeast of Visalia) and Auburn (northeast of Sacramento) between 1973 and 1979, but was sacked by Auburn's department after shoplifting a hammer and dog repellant from a drugstore.
"There may have been a revenge aspect to it", Van Zandt said.
"I've been so obsessed with nothing but this case for so long and we've got children, we've got grandchildren, we have lives, we have jobs - things we've got to do". At the latter end of the 12-year span, similar crimes were committed further south which were linked to the Golden State Killer through DNA in 2000, though investigators were unable to produce a suspect.
Reacting to the news of DeAngelo's arrest, Haynes said he is "exhilarated", even though the name was not on any of the lists of suspects he drew up.