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Thursday, 26 April 2018 15:27

Local Law Enforcement Agencies Re-Open Cases Following Arrest of East Area Rapist

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Local Law Enforcement Agencies Re-Open Cases Following Arrest of East Area Rapist

SACRAMENTO - A 72 year old man and former police officer was arrested by authorities including the FBI who was said to be the suspect authorities have sought for so long dubbed “The East Area Rapist.”

The announcement of the arrest came following what authorities credit to be an advent in DNA technology. A discarded DNA sample belonging to 72 year old Joseph James DeAngelo was said to be the key to crack the case. During a press conference Wednesday afternoon at a Sacramento crime lab, Sheriff Scott Jones said that DeAngelo was surprised to be taken into custody by authorities who were conducting surveillance on him.

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Officials with the FBI were still at DeAngelo’s Citrus Heights home gathering evidence as of Thursday morning, two days after the arrest. The East Area Rapist is allegedly linked to at least 12 murders and dozens of rapes across the state.

Two cases in Modesto and two in Stockton have been reopened following the announcement of the arrest.

According to Heather Graves, spokeswoman for the Modesto Police Department, detectives were reassigned the cases Wednesday. Both incidents happened in June of 1978, and with the circumstances being similar, detectives are looking to see if there is a connection to DeAngelo.

On September 16th, 1977, the suspect hit Stockton, terrorizing a married couple on the 3700 block of Portage Circle North. The suspect entered the bedroom shining a flashlight and said “don’t move or I’ll kill you.” At one point, he held a knife to the male victim’s throat, then led the woman out of the room and sexually assaulted her.

The second Stockton incident happened on March 18, 1978. Around 1:00am a man and his wife were awakened by the suspect who was holding a flashlight and a gun. Both victims were threatened and tied up, then he took the woman to another room where he sexually assaulted her.

DeAngelo served in the Navy, then was a police officer in Exeter, California and Auburn, California. He was terminated after being convicted of shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent from a store. He went on to work at a Save Smart distribution center from which he retired. Sheriff Jones said investigators are working to determine wether any of the crimes committed occurred during his time as a police officer.

DeAngelo is in custody on suicide watch.

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