By Maureen Lee Lenker
April 25, 2018 at 03:46 PM EDT
Golden State Killersplit
Credit: FBI; Harper

The case of the Golden State Killer, the serial killer and rapist at the heart of Michelle McNamara’s posthumous true-crime book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, may finally have been solved.

In a press conference in Sacramento, California, on Wednesday, authorities announced that a suspect has been arrested in the decades-old case, which McNamara painstakingly detailed in a book EW named one of the best early reads of 2018.

Authorities said they relied on DNA evidence to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo, 72. “We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

Also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, the Golden State Killer terrorized California communities in the 1970s and ’80s. He is believed to have killed at least 12 people and raped at least 45 victims.

Credit: FBI

McNamara’s book, published in February, became a best-seller and brought renewed attention to the case. Her widower, comedian Patton Oswalt, shepherded the book to completion after McNamara died unexpectedly in her sleep in April 2016. In response to the news of the arrest, Oswalt tweeted out a link to a New York Times article and wrote, “I think you got him Michelle.”

“She was a very logical person with a lot of compassion,” Oswalt previously told EW of McNamara. “When she saw someone act with such cruelty, the logic part of her brain would kick in and go, ‘Well, that kind of cruelty should be met with justice, and there should be someone to answer for the victims.’ To have all of those threads and have it be open and unresolved for so long really ate away at her sense of order. She took on the pain of the survivors and of [those] that lost family members because of this guy. That’s what drove her.”

Oswalt also tweeted Wednesday, “If they’ve really caught the #GoldenStateKiller I hope I get to visit him. Not to gloat or gawk — to ask him the questions that @TrueCrimeDiary wanted answered in her ‘Letter To An Old Man’ at the end of #IllBeGoneInTheDark.”

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

  • Book
  • Michelle McNamara
  • Harper