Police may have arrested the Golden State Killer

If you know who the Golden State Killer is, it’s probably because you also know that his crimes as a serial rapist and murderer were the subject of Michelle McNamara’s true crime book, “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark”, which she was working on completing at the time of her death in April of 2016. That’s Mrs. Patton Oswalt, and the comedian managed to pull her manuscript and notes together to get her book finished and published, where it immediately rocketed up the bestseller lists.

I haven’t read it yet (I own it, I just haven’t been able to get around to it.) People I trust who have read the book describe it as one of the darkest and most unsettling true crime books since Helter Skelter or Stranger Beside Me, a book that can sit next to In Cold Blood on a bookshelf and not be awkward.

And one of the chilling things about the book – and the obsession that led to McNamara all but working herself to death on it – was the belief that the information she was collecting and putting together was making it increasingly likely that these cold cases would be solved and the perpetrator identified.

And late last night, California police arrested someone they describe as a suspect in the case. And apparently, the evidence here is pretty strong --DNA, opportunity, location, etc.

News conference later this afternoon.

Daily Beast story.

Suspect is 72 now, but apparently used to be a cop in a town near Sacramento, Auburn California. He was a cop who was arrested at the time the GSK was active, caught trying to shoplift dog repellent and a hammer. Did not contest the accusations, so no investigation was performed, and took his summary dismissal without any sort of pushback.

This will be an amazing end to this saga. It must be crazy cathartic for Patton Oswalt.

Apparently yesterday they started filming the documentary on this that’s in the works for HBO. I saw Oswalt tweet that it was the first time all the folks involved with finishing the book had gotten together in one place.

Apparently – and take this with a big ol’ grain of salt, because reddit – the suspect is a 100% DNA match to DNA evidence they’ve held all these years. And also apparently – he is talking.

I was unfamiliar with the case but holy crap, good work by everyone involved if they’ve finally caught this guy. The long trail of murders and rapes is pretty horrifying.

Fuck this guy. Hope to hell it’s really him. My question to this piece of trash would be how the hell did you find time for all the prowling and raping (most of his break-ins were not short, frequently he’d be in the house 2+ hours), especially while holding down a real job?

Wow! This is all quite amazing. I’d love to read the book, but now I can wait for a second edition with a ‘You Got Him, Michelle’ epilogue.

Such a shame it’s taken so long because at 72 what does he care if spends the rest of life in prison.

More info. Press conference will be live on Facebook.

Still, his capture brings great joy and closure to a lot of his victims. And that’s something, at least.

I’m glad you started this thread, triggercut. I’d read all of those but THIS book, I’m a little bit of a true crime and forensic book junkie. I blame my mother, who was the same only even more so, who lent me The Stranger Beside Me many years ago when so many of these stories took off. This one just shot to, “MUST READ,” on my list.

I wonder how they got him?

I’m also a True Crime junkie, and I’ve had this loaded on both Kindle and Audible for a month now. Guess what I’m going to be starting today? :)

I don’t know what the break that led to his capture was, but we do know:

  1. Police have apparently just loads of DNA evidence that he left behind. McNamara actually speculated that one of the reasons he stopped was that the killer knew about DNA, and knew he’d left those clues behind.

  2. They’ve never gotten a DNA match in California for GSK, but there’s a law in CA that requires anyone either accused of convicted of a felony (not sure which, so I’m hedging) to have their DNA run through the database so it can be compared.

Something made them check out this guy’s specific DNA profile, and that same thing came back a 100% match. Given that I still think there’s a turnaround time for DNA matching, I’m assuming that this match was achieved prior to his arrest.

Wow, he was arrested in Citrus Heights which is like 5 miles away from me. SacBee has an article up from his neighbors. Quite the cantankerous old bastard.

If he’s 72, those possibilities for how they matched his DNA seem very small unless he committed another crime and was caught. My guess is something else led them to him, and they surreptitiously gathered DNA from him in some way.

This is going to make an excellent TV show/series.

My thought as well. That something may have tipped them to gather that DNA–or maybe someone in his family thought “Uncle Joe might be a serial killer.”

It could also be that someone in his family got caught up in a felony beef, and that person’s DNA returned a close match enough to make the sirens go off with the FBI.

Maaaan. SF libraries’ downloads are backed up for the next six months on this. Guess I’m paying full freight on this one.

I didn’t even think of that. A quick search tells me, law enforcement is indeed doing bulk searches using familial DNA matching, here’s one from Arizona:

Here’s the book btw, just so Qt3 can get the referral if people decide to get it because of this thread. (People like me).


And if you are a fan of True Crime, here’s an excerpt from the book, as published in New Yorker. No real spoilers. Just a kind of summation and angry challenge from McNamara.