A police sketch of the Golden State killer. Picture: Reuters
A police sketch of the Golden State killer. Picture: Reuters

'Golden State killer' arrested after 40 year hunt

US police believe they may have caught the suspected "Golden State killer" after four decades of looking for him.

On Tuesday, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department arrested Joseph James DeAngelo Jr on two murder charges, Fox 40 reported.

The 72-year-old man, who is reported as being a fired former policeman, is said to be linked to a dozen unsolved murders, 50 rapes and 120 home burglaries that spanned a decade starting in the late 1970s.

A composite sketch of the suspected Golden State killer. Picture: Reuters
A composite sketch of the suspected Golden State killer. Picture: Reuters

The arrest comes months after the publication of a true crime book on the case, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by the late journalist and writer Michelle McNamara, who died in April 2016.

McNamara spent much of her career researching and writing about the California rapist and killer, but died before the book was published.

(McNamara was married to comedian Patton Oswalt who worked to finish the book after her death.)

Oswalt was among the first people tweeting about the possible arrest.

"If they've really caught the #GoldenStateKiller I hope I get to visit him," Oswalt tweeted. "Not to gloat or gawk - to ask him the questions that (McNamara) wanted answered in her 'Letter To An Old Man' at the end of #IllBeGoneInTheDark."

The book's co-author Billy Jensen has also posted numerous tweets about the possible arrest of the serial killer.

"If you've been following the Golden State Killer case, stay tuned. We will be having a rather large announcement," he wrote, adding: "Two hours of sleep but an airport chocolate banana smoothie is going to get me through what I hope will be an amazing day. #IllBeGoneInTheDark #GoldenStateKiller #intothelight."

Michelle McNamara, with husband Patton Oswalt, wrote a book on the killer, which has been credited with the renewed interest in the case. Picture: Splash News
Michelle McNamara, with husband Patton Oswalt, wrote a book on the killer, which has been credited with the renewed interest in the case. Picture: Splash News

According to the Sacremento Bee, the man has been living in Sacramento, California, and was identified after the renewed interest in the case by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

Suspected Golden State killer Joseph James DeAngelo, Jnr. Picture: FBI
Suspected Golden State killer Joseph James DeAngelo, Jnr. Picture: FBI

The man, who was known as the Golden State Killer, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer, is believed to have killed at least 12 people, raped at least 50 victims and burglarised hundreds of homes.

"It is the most prolific unsolved serial killing case probably in modern history," District Attorney Schubert told Fox 40.

Ski masks believed to have been worn by the killer. Picture: FBI
Ski masks believed to have been worn by the killer. Picture: FBI

DeAngelo is reportedly being held at the Sacramento County Main jail and is not ineligible for bail, the Sacremento Bee reports.

Californian Jane Carson-Sandler was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by a man believed to be the Golden State killer. Carson-Sandler, who now lives in South Carolina, told The Island Packet newspaper overnight that she had been contacted by two detectives about the rapist's arrest.

Fingerprints lifted from one of the crime scenes. Picture: FBI
Fingerprints lifted from one of the crime scenes. Picture: FBI

"I just found out this morning," she said. "I'm overwhelmed with joy. I've been crying, sobbing."

Evidence from one of the killer’s crimes. Picture: FBI
Evidence from one of the killer’s crimes. Picture: FBI

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