Needle in the haystack
WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO IDENTIFY SUCH A PROLIFIC SERIAL 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.