A Tulare County case that’s been cold for more than 40 years may finally be solved, thanks to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspect believed to be the Golden State Killer.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrested the 72-year-old former police officer Wednesday. So far, he has been charged with four murders that had been linked to the Golden State Killer and is suspected in more than a dozen other crimes.
That includes the Visalia Ransacker crime spree, a rash of dozens of bizarre home burglaries that took place from 1974 to 1975.
The two cases have similarities and authorities have long thought them to be connected, though no official link had been made until Wednesday afternoon, when the Visalia Police Department released a statement saying it believes the cases are indeed related.
Detectives from the department’s violent crime unit are once again looking into the Visalia Ransacker cases and have established a public hotline, according to the release. Anyone who knew or associated with DeAngelo while he was in Tulare County in the 1970s is asked to call 559-713-4132.
While the Golden State Killer operated in and around Sacramento, the eastern Bay Area and in Southern California, DeAngelo also has ties to the central San Joaquin Valley.
DeAngelo was an officer in two different police departments during the 1970s — Exeter in Tulare County and Auburn near Sacramento.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar confirmed that DeAngelo worked with the Exeter police department from 1973-1976 before leaving for Auburn.
The chief said he was confident the department would be able to tie DeAngelo to the Visalia Ransacker cases, though he could not say when or if there was enough evidence to warrant formal charges.