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Santa Barbara County cold case detectives assist in Golden State Killer investigation

Credit SB CO Sheriff's Office
SB CO Sheriff's Office
Joseph DeAngelo is accused of being the Golden State Killer. This is a picture of him in the 1970s.

UPDATE 4/30/18: The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for more help with the Golden State Killer case. Since a suspect was arrested last week, local investigators are reexamining evidence, leads and tips from when the killer was thought to be operating in Santa Barbara County. Suspect Joseph James DeAngelo is accused of committing crimes from Santa Maria and Carpinteria between 1978 and 1986. Now the Sheriff’s Office has released new sketches and photos of DeAngelo from the 1970s. They are asking anyone who remembers seeing him or knowing him to call the sheriff’s criminal investigations bureau at (805) 681-4150 or leave an anonymous tip at (805) 681-4171 on the sheriff’s website.  

40 years after the so-called “Golden State Killer” began terrorizing California, authorities announced this week they had arrested a suspect, a 72-year-old former police officer named Joseph James DeAngelo. A handful of his alleged crimes took place in Goleta - just north of Santa Barbara - in the late 1970s.

It’s a sudden development in one of the most notorious strings of unsolved crimes in U.S. history. The serial killer raped dozens of women and killed at least 12 people.

It's been more than 30 years since the last crime was attributed to the man also known as the East Area rapist and the Original Night Stalker.

On Tuesday, Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies arrested DeAngelo at his home in Citrus Heights after investigators “matched discarded DNA evidence with genetic evidence from the crimes,” according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

The Cold Case Unit of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office was immediately notified of DeAngelo’s arrest and sheriff’s detectives, including longtime Golden State Killer investigator Gary Kitzmann, immediately traveled to Sacramento to further the investigation of the Santa Barbara County cases, Sheriff Bill Brown said in a statement Wednesday.

Brown provided more information on the Central Coast connection to the serial killer:

The Original Night Stalker’s Crime spree in Santa Barbara County is believed to have started in October of 1979. A couple was attacked while they slept in their home near Goleta. Fortunately, in this case, both of the victims managed to escape, but the suspect fled the scene on a stolen bicycle and evaded capture. Two months later, on December 30, 1979, 44-year-old Dr. Robert Offerman, an orthopedic surgeon and 35-year-old Dr. Alexandria Manning, a psychologist, were both brutally murdered in their condo near Goleta. Two years later, on July 27, 1981, 27-year-old Greg Sanchez and 35-year-old Cheri Domingo were also found brutally murdered in a home near Goleta that Cheri was house-sitting. In 2011, thanks to the tenacious detective work by Gary Kitzmann and Jeff Klapakis, DNA evidence linked this double homicide to other crimes committed by the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker.

Fans of true crime have been quick to link DeAngelo’s arrest with renewed interest in the case thanks to the work of Michelle McNamara. Her Book I’ll Be in Gone in the Dark deeply investigated the serial killer’s ten-year crime spree. Her husband, actor Patton Oswalt, helped finish her work after her unexpected death two years ago.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Wednesday the arrest may bring family members of the Central Coast victims some sense of justice.