In the aftermath of Joseph James DeAngelo’s April 24th arrest, more details about the suspected Golden State Killer are coming to light. In a recent feature by the LA Times, DeAngelo is painted as a typical next-door neighbor type — an older man who enjoys woodworking, cooking, and tinkering under the hood of his truck. DeAngelo, who is suspected of murdering 12 people, raping over 40 women, and robbing 120 homes in the San Francisco area during the late ’70s and early ’80s, also apparently started a family during his crime spree. In fact, the Golden State Killer had a wife and three daughters.
DeAngelo reportedly met his wife, Sharon M. Huddle, an attorney, while studying at Cal State Sacramento, where he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He and Sharon were married in 1973 — just three years before DeAngelo committed his first confirmed rape and robbery.
After DeAngelo’s first daughter Misha Louise DeAngelo was born in 1981, the killings, rapes, and robberies ceased for five years. His last known victim, 18-year-old Janelle Cruz, was raped and killed in 1986. NPR reports that DeAngelo and his wife eventually divorced, and that DeAngelo was living with Misha and his grandaughter Zasia when he was arrested on Tuesday, April 24th.
Although DeAngelo looked like an average elderly neighbor, those who lived in his Citrus Heights, CA neighborhood knew he had a temper. One neighbor told the LA Times that DeAngelo was “cantankerous,” and others called him a “freak.” He would reportedly shout expletives any time frustration arose.
A relative’s DNA sample from a genealogy website matched samples taken from the crime scenes. This link led authorities to DeAngelo.
DeAngelo’s sister, Becky Thompson, told the Times she’s in shock and hopes police arrested the wrong man. She stated that her brother was “the kindest, gentlest man with his children.”
More details are expected to be revealed in the days and weeks to come.