By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER– Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, a.k.a the Visalia Ransacker, a.k.a. the East Area Rapist, a.k.a. the Diamond Knot Killer, a.k.a Original Night Stalker and now known as the Golden State Killer has been arrested in Sacramento County today. The man attributed with at least 84 break-ins, 45 rapes and 12 murders up and down the state was once an Exeter, Calif. Police officer.
According to an Aug. 22, 1973 issue of The Exeter Sun, DeAngelo began with the department on May 18, 1973. The article goes on to state DeAngelo is a native of Bath, N.Y. and graduated from Folsom Senior High School in June of 1964 and joined the Navy that September. He served 22 months in combat in Vietnam at the 17-18 parallels.
He was an honors graduate at Sierra College receiving his associate of arts degree in police science. In 1970 he attended the California State University at Sacramento. DeAngelo received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, specializing in criminal law. He did his post graduate work and completed an internship in Roseville Patrol Identification and Investigation Divisions under then Chief of Police Hall.
It is still unclear when DeAngelo left the Exeter Police Department. Current Exeter Police Chief John Hall says the Department has been unable to locate any city employee files from the 1970s.
Since his arrest this morning, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has declared him as the Visalia Ransacker. Meanwhile, Sacramento County Sheriff Todd Jones says it is, “Very possible he was committing the crimes while he was a police officer.”
The Visalia Police Department issued a statement saying they believe the Visalia Ransacker’s crime spree from 1974 to 1975 is linked to DeAngelo. They noted the Department’s Violence Crimes Unit will continue to investigate the Visalia Ransacker cases, but ask the public to call their hotline, 559-713-4132 if anyone was associated with DeAngelo while in Tulare County in the 1970s.
Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar will be available to comment on this case at 3:30 p.m. today at the Visalia Emergency Communications Center, 420 N. Burke Street.