2018-04-25 17:26:07 UTC
After a more than 40-year search, authorities think they have the Golden State Killer in custody
By Elizabeth Johnson and Alanne Orjoux, CNN
(CNN)A person believed to be the so-called Golden State Killer -- accused of 12 killings and 45 rapes across California from 1976 to 1986 -- is under arrest, FBI spokeswoman Angela Bell said Wednesday.
Bell would not identify the suspect but authorities in Sacramento are expected to release more information at a news conference scheduled for noon PT (3 p.m. ET). The suspect was also known as the "East Area Rapist" and "the Original Night Stalker."
The first recorded rape was on June 18, 1976. The victim, Jane, was dozing in bed with her 3-year-old son after her husband left for work. Then, she was abruptly awoken.
A masked man stood in the bedroom doorway, holding a large butcher knife and shining a flashlight at her face.
He bound Jane and her son with shoelaces and blindfolded and gagged them with torn sheets. After moving her son off the bed, he unbound Jane's ankles. "And then I knew what he was there for," said Jane, who didn't want to share her last name.
Jane's rape sparked the hunt for the man who authorities say went on to commit rapes and killings in California over the next decade.
It's been more than 40 years since his first recorded attacks, which began in and around Sacramento in Northern California. No one was ever caught or even identified in the case. Police only had minor details about his looks, along with a sketch from an almost-victim.
When the Sacramento-area rapes were first being reported, it was always by women who were alone or with their children. But by 1977, a year after Jane's attack, the list of victims had expanded to couples in their homes.
It's believed the attacker chased down and killed Katie and Brian Maggiore in February 1978.
Police believe the East Area Rapist killed Brian and Katie Maggiore after the couple -- who were walking their dog at the time -- spotted him before he broke into a home in Rancho Cordova, California, just outside Sacramento, in February 1978. Those were his first known homicides.
"We thought he would never stop, but then two months after the Maggiore homicides, the East Area Rapist left our jurisdiction. It was like he disappeared in thin air," said Carol Daly, a retired detective from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
That's when a serial attacker began terrorizing Santa Barbara County, California -- more than 300 miles south of Sacramento. Police didn't realize it at the time, but the attacker's crimes fit the same pattern as Sacramento's East Area Rapist. He attacked women and couples across Southern California from December 1979 to May 1986, and became known there as the Original Night Stalker.