It has been an emotional week since the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker … wait, Joseph James DeAngelo was identified and caught. I’m still trying to process the fact that there are a name and a face to the moniker that has plagued California for over four decades. I can’t even begin to comprehend how survivors and family members are feeling right now, knowing the monster in the dark has been brought to light and there is no escape for him. There are no open windows; there are no glass sliding doors; there are no bicycles; there are only bars. With all of this happening, I want to share an honest message and confession of my own.
For the better part of two years, I became obsessed with this case. The story of it all enthralled me to the point where I absorbed every piece of information I could. When I discovered the EAR/ONS and Unresolved Mysteries subreddit, I knew it was a place where there was an active community that was equally consumed as I was.
To be honest, I was intimidated at first. There were so many knowledgeable people who knew the case backward and forward and I thought there was nothing I could do to contribute in a way that would be beneficial. Nonetheless, I proceeded to learn more and eventually expanded into sharing my thoughts, theories, opinions and creating a 12-part series on the case.
Within that timeframe, I met amazing people here and have developed friendships. I may not know your real names, but the fact that we speak regularly is a beautiful thing to me. Some of you have motivated me; gave me inspiration; pushed me to be better; made me want to be more credible and reliable; irritated me; tested my patience; and it was all for the best, because those traits I acquired seeped into my personal life and it helped me become a better person.
Over time, people considered me well-informed on the case and sought answers from me, even when I didn’t deserve that type of acknowledgment. When I was presented with that responsibility, I wanted to ignore it because I personally felt inadequate, but I finally accepted that role and strove to live up to those expectations.
Due to that level of accountability, I discovered my passion — writing (blogging) about true crime. That’s when I really started to have the genuine desire to not only discuss this case but to also bring more light to it. There were no ulterior motives; I simply wanted to spread awareness (I’m aware of how cliche that is). At one point I considered writing a book about the case, but I felt guilty for doing so. In fact, I felt rather ashamed that I made a “name for my self” here, because none of those things was my intention.
Nevertheless, some of these things were completely out of my control. I simply took things one day at a time and let life unfold as it may. Two years later, I am unbelievably thankful for each and every one of you. That’s not hyperbole. You all have changed my life in ways I never thought was possible, especially in terms of being an adult. To put it plainly, I grew up. In reality — away from the computer — those positive changes has flowed wonderfully and I became a better person; an individual that I thought was impossible to achieve. Thank you, for everything.
I now want to give an honest message about Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. himself. With him now under constraints, I can’t help but harken back to two statements he once made. First was a phone call to the police when he professed, “You’re never going to catch me you dumb fuckers.” The second is to a victim he harassed and told her, “You think you’re smart, but I’m smarter than you.”
What a glorious day it is knowing that this heinous monster is officially apprehended and by some of the original police task force. He may have eluded capture for longer than we all hoped or even anticipated, but he eventually got caught, and his mugshot is spread across the nation. His face is revealed and he looks old; tired; and miserable. Science reigns supreme and the justice will be beautiful.
As I alluded to earlier in my post, I was plagued by this case for two years. I couldn’t look at a glass sliding door or walk by a fence without thinking of him. Every time I read about a burglary in the local newspaper, he came to mind. When I went to sleep at night, I often wondered if he was alive, dead, in prison, or in another country. I scoured over details of each crime scene trying to find a connection that would lead to his identification. A part of me almost came to admire his ability to turn into a ghost and disappear from the responsibilities of life, because so many people knew a lot about him yet also knew nothing at all.
However, answers are revealing, and one thing is made abundantly evident — he’s not unique or special. Some of the theories on him were right; some were wrong. Those that were accurate represent the fact that he is a real human being because over 40 years he almost turned into a myth — an urban legend. He wasn’t a ghost. He had a career; family and children; a means of travel; a place he called “home.” Right now, he’s only a bitter old man whose dark past is now exposed. As a result, it’s becoming clear that many things he left behind in his attacks weren’t all red herrings. Rather, they were insecurities being presented in the crimes because of his own self-hatred and brokenness as an individual.
Ultimately, he is a victim of poetic justice because he was caught at his own game — by people smarter than him. Just as he has done to countless of innocent people, he was surveilled for days. His routines and habits were learned. Then one day unbeknownst to him, he was blitzed — caught off guard and left speechless. His hands were bound behind his back and had absolutely zero control.
Now, he’s going to have to endure the same treatment he instilled in his victims. All of those lives that were dismantled because of him will get their time to speak in court without being interrupted. If he dares to speak, they get to intervene and say, “Shut up!” They get to seize control and walk around the courtroom while he sits helplessly in handcuffs. When it’s all said and done, they get to walk to freedom — opening the courtroom doors and be gone in the night, while he rots in jail for the rest of his life.
Today, life is beautiful.