Nee­dle in the haystack

WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO IDEN­TIFY SUCH A PRO­LIFIC SE­RIAL KILLER?

Real Crime - - How They Caught The Golden State Killer -

The GSK committed a se­ries of crimes over a span of over a decade, and al­though he evaded jus­tice, this was not be­cause of a lack of ac­tion by in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Part of the prob­lem was that he didn’t com­mit all of his crimes within the ju­ris­dic­tion. In ad­di­tion, his crimes did dif­fer – some were rapes, whereas oth­ers were mur­ders, some were committed on women, oth­ers on cou­ples. There­fore, not all the crimes were linked as be­ing the work of one in­di­vid­ual at the time.

DeAn­gelo’s ar­rest came, ap­pro­pri­ately, on Na­tional

DNA Day in the US. In an­nounc­ing it, the Sacra­mento Dis­trict At­tor­ney Anne Marie Schu­bert made clear that of­fi­cials had been look­ing “for a nee­dle in a haystack”. At the time of his at­tacks there was lit­tle in­for­ma­tion to go on: a few de­tails about his looks, but he of­ten wore a ski mask, hid­ing his fea­tures.

It was only when DNA tests be­came avail­able that in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned that the East Area Rapist and the Golden State Killer were in fact the same per­son. In 2001, DNA showed that this in­di­vid­ual was also the ‘ Orig­i­nal Night Stalker’. It took over an­other decade of de­vel­op­ments to fi­nally iden­tify Joseph DeAn­gelo.

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