Suspect, 72, arrested in decades-old ‘Golden State Killer’ case: District attorney

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A 72-year-old man has been arrested in the decades-old "Golden State Killer" case in California, according to officials in Sacramento.

The "Golden State Killer" is believed to have killed at least 12 people, raped at least 45 people and committed multiple home burglaries in the 1970s and 1980s in crime sprees throughout California.

Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Citrus Heights in Sacramento County, said Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

"We found the needle in the haystack," Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a news conference Wednesday.

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday and a complaint was filed charging him with two counts of murder with special circumstances for the murder of a Sacramento couple in 1978, said Schubert.

It was discarded DNA that confirmed, "We had our man," Jones said.

"For over 40 years, countless victims have waited for justice," Schubert said. "Over these years, hundreds of individuals have sought justice for these victims and their families."

The terror started with burglaries and rapes in the Sacramento suburbs in summer 1976.

He would break into his victims' homes by prying open a window or door while they slept, the FBI said.

He would then shine a flashlight into their faces, tie them up, ransack the house, and rape female victims, the FBI said.

Sometimes he would take jewelry, identification, cash, and coins from the victims' homes.

Some victims said the suspect called them after the crimes, the FBI said.

In 1978, the Golden State Killer was believed to have shot and killed a couple walking their dog in the Sacramento area.

That crime was followed by rapes in the Northern California area, including Stockton, Modesto, Davis, and the East Bay.

Between 1979 and 1981, the Golden State Killer was suspected of rapes and murders in Southern California. The FBI said the victims were tied up in the same way and had their homes ransacked in the same way as the Sacramento area victims.

The final crime tied to the Golden State Killer was the May 1986 rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in the Southern California city of Irvine, the FBI said.

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.

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