Police: 'Golden State Killer' Suspect Is Also the 'Visalia Ransacker'
VISALIA, CA — At a press conference today, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, 72, an ex-cop from Sacramento who is suspected to be the serial rapist and murderer known as the “Golden State Killer” (GSK).
Joseph James DeAngelo Is Suspect in Golden State Killer Case was arrested last night. Press conference later today.
The announcement also identified DeAngelo as the prime suspect in high-profile cases connected to the “East Area Rapist” (EAR) and the “Original Night Stalker” (ONS) — as well as a lesser-known crime wave attributed to the “Visalia Ransacker.”
The Visalia Ransacker is said to have committed at least 85 burglaries in the vicinity of the Northern California city between 1973 and 1976. He allegedly stole a consistently odd array of items and excessively vandalized victims’ homes — doing things like pouring milk all over clothes in a closet.
In addition, gunshot ballistics tie the Ransacker to the September 11, 1975, murder of Claude Snelling, a professor at the College of the Sequoias. The Ransacker is also a person of interest in the 1976 stabbing death of 15-year-old Terri Lynn Ray.
At today’s press conference, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar linked DeAngelo to the Ransacker case, stating:
“There has long been a belief that the Golden State Killer and Visalia Ransacker are one and the same, and we are working with those investigators in hopes of bringing resolution to a case that has long been of interest here in Visalia.”
During the conference, Sheriff Scott Jones confirmed that DeAngelo was working as a police officer for the Exeter Police Department in the Visalia area from 1973 to 1976, while the crimes known as the Visalia Ransackings were going on.
Beyond Visalia, police estimate that the Ransacker broke into and trashed more than 100 homes all throughout Sacramento County. He occasionally struck multiple times in one day, once actually breaking into 12 separate residences between nightfall and daybreak.
Private investigator Russ Whitmeyer believes that GSK and the Ransacker are the same person, pointing out similarities in their approaches, including:
- Wearing a ski mask.Stealing a bicycle to get away.
- Placing “warning objects” such as plates or glasses against door handles to act as an alarm system.
- Pocketing high-value items such as jewelry and firearms, along with peculiar personal items on the order of piggy banks, coin jars, and Blue Chip stamp books.
- Tying victims with a difficult-to-master diamond knot, which may indicate military training.
On top of that, the Golden State Killer and the Visalia Ransacker were both described by witnesses as standing about five foot ten, weighing 180 pounds, and sporting a size 9 shoe.
At present, Joseph DeAngelo is being held on a Ventura County warrant for two counts of murder and he is ineligible for bail. An FBI team is also reported to be gathering potential evidence from DeAngelo’s home.
Visalia Police Department Detectives have established a public hotline and are asking anyone who knew or associated with Joseph James DeAngelo, while in Tulare County in the 1970s, to call (559) 713-4132.
CrimeFeed will continue to publish breaking news in the Golden State Killer suspect arrest as it develops.
Watch the full series of Investigation Discovery’s The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over on ID GO now!