Authorities in California plan to make a “major announcement” in the case of an elusive serial killer they say committed at least 12 homicides, 45 rapes and dozens of burglaries across the state in the 1970s and ’80s.
A news conference will be held Wednesday afternoon in Sacramento, said Shelly Osorio of the district attorney’s office. She offered no other information.
A woman who was sexually assaulted in California in 1976 by a man believed to be the East Area Rapist and who now lives in South Carolina told The Island Packet newspaper Wednesday that she has been contacted by detectives about an arrest.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy. I’ve been crying, sobbing,” the woman said.
The Associated Press typically doesn’t name victims of sexual abuse.
Linked to hundreds of crimes
FBI and California officials in 2016 renewed their search for the suspect dubbed the East Area Rapist, and announced a $ 50,000 US reward for his arrest and conviction. He’s linked to more than 175 crimes in all between 1976 and 1986.
As crimes were committed across the state, authorities called him by different names. He was dubbed the East Area Rapist after his start in Northern California, the Original Night Stalker after a series of Southern California slayings, and the Diamond Knot Killer for using the elaborate tie used to bind two of his victims.
In a wanted poster, the FBI described the man known as the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer as a ‘white male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, and approximately 5’10” tall.’(FBI/Department of Justice)
Most recently called the Golden State Killer, the suspect has been linked through DNA and other evidence to scores of crimes.
Authorities decided to again publicize the case in 2016 in advance of the 40th anniversary of his first known assault in Sacramento County.
Armed with a gun, the masked rapist would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He would tie up the man and pile dishes on his back, then rape the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled.
He often took souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry, from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.