Police have arrested a man suspected of being a serial killer responsible for dozens of deaths and rapes in California. The man evaded capture for decades after terrorizing parts of California in the 1970s and 1980s.
California authorities announced on Wednesday that they'd arrested a man suspected of being the so-called Golden State Killer, a serial criminal who committed a spate of killings and rapes in the US state.
Police identified the suspect as Joseph D., a 72-year-old former police officer. They charged him with eight murders that were attributed to the Golden State Killer and said he could face dozens of other charges.
"Finally, after all these years, the haunting question of who committed these terrible crimes has been put to rest," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told reporters on Wednesday.
The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, was suspected of being behind over 12 murders, 50 rapes and 120 burglaries in areas of northern and southern California.
The serial killer struck regularly from 1976 to 1986, before dropping off of the radar.
The masked perpetrator was known for entering his victims' homes at night, tying up the people he found there and raping the women before sometimes killing them. The victims of his crimes were aged between 13 and 41 years old.
Despite thousands of tips and clues, the suspected serial killer evaded capture for decades.
Joseph D.'s name only appeared during the investigations last week after detectives secured a DNA sample from him that linked the ex-officer to several of the murders.
He worked for two small town police agencies in the 1970s, but was eventually fired for shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer, police said. Authorities believed the killer likely had either military or law enforcement training due to his proficiency with firearms.
The serial killings and rapes gained renewed attention earlier this year in Michelle McNamara's bestselling book, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark." McNamara was a true crime author who extensively investigated the case for years.
She died suddenly in 2016, but her book was finished by her husband, comedian-actor Patton Oswalt.
rs/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor's note: DW follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.