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Just how heinous was he? Here's how the East Area Rapist tortured and terrorized victims

'He truly is a monster': 4 voices sum up the East Area Rapist, his horrific crimes and the suspect

Following the arrest of a suspect in the East Area Rapist case, here are four people talking about the crime and the man authorities believe is behind the rape and murders.
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Following the arrest of a suspect in the East Area Rapist case, here are four people talking about the crime and the man authorities believe is behind the rape and murders.

A deep panic had settled over the Sacramento region in the late 1970s as the East Area Rapist, again and again, stalked neighborhoods, broke into homes and raped women.

But one man said he wasn't worried. At a town-hall meeting hosted by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, he stood up and declared husbands could keep their wives safe.

Not long after, the East Area Rapist broke into the man's home and assaulted his wife.

The rapist, detectives say, almost certainly was at the meeting and had followed the couple home.

East Area Rapist suspect.jpg
Joseph James DeAngelo Sacramento County Sheriff's Office

The shudder-inducing story, told Wednesday by Carol Daly, one of the original investigators on the case, is just one of several horrifying details that have resurfaced following Tuesday's arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo. Detectives say DeAngelo's DNA linked him to 45 rapes and 12 murders credited to the East Area Rapist in the 1970s and 1980s.

Here are some of the other chilling details about the crimes that have made the East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer, one of the most notorious serial rapists and murderers in American history.

He would pause during attacks to eat his victims' food.

The East Area Rapist helped himself to food in his victims' refrigerators. During one assault, he paused, went to the kitchen and ate a slice of apple pie, according to , the author of a groundbreaking book on the case "I'll Be Gone in the Dark."

He seemed to have mommy issues.

In a piece in Los Angeles Magazine, McNamara described how the rapist seemed obsessed with his mother. The scenario described by victims she interviewed: After tying them up and assaulting them, he would go into another room and sob loudly. One victim remembered hearing him cry out: "Mummy. Mummy. Mummy." He told another that reading about his crimes in the press “scares my mommy.”

He toyed with his victims.

After staking out homes, the East Area Rapist would break in and unlock screens and windows to allow him easy access later. Upon his return, he would wake his victims by shining a flashlight on them. He would wear a ski mask to conceal his identity.

When he targeted couples, he would separate the woman from the man before tying the man up with an intricate knot. He would place bottles of perfume or plates on the man's back, so he could hear if there were any movement.

Whispering through clenched teeth in a high-pitched falsetto voice, he would tell the bound man he was going to kill him and the woman if he heard a sound.

In one case, reported in the Sacramento Bee in the 1970s, he raped a 13-year-old girl while her mother was in the other room. He told the mother he would cut off her daughter's fingers if he heard the china he had placed on her back fall.

In one of his later attacks, the East Area Rapist broke into a house and hid in a closet waiting for the couple to fall asleep. He was smug when he woke them up.

"The husband reached over for a firearm, a revolver he had in the night stand, next to the bed," Wendell Phillips, a former Sacramento County sheriff's deputy told The Bee on Wednesday. "The East Area Rapist was standing there, shining the light on his own hand, showing the guy the bullets he had taken out of it."

He took souvenirs and lingered in homes.

Crime-scene mementos were part of his modus operandi. A Modesto couple said he removed and pocketed their wedding bands and also helped himself to a revolver he found in their home. Others reported that he pilfered photographs. Sometimes he would rummage through houses for hours, and just when his bound victims thought he had left, he suddenly would reappear and start his torments all over again.

He kept in touch with some victims.

The rapist would sometimes telephone victims after the attacks, threatening women with explicit talk about future sexual violence. Police tried to use these calls to catch him, but detectives said he seemed to know which lines they had tapped.

One of his victims later got a call at the restaurant where she worked, leading detectives to believe the East Area Rapist had been in the eatery watching her, Paul Holes, then an investigator with the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, told Crime Watch Daily.

In the early 1990s, one of the victims told detectives she got a call from him and "could hear kids in the background and a woman," retired Sacramento County sheriff's detective Richard Shelby told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.

The last known call to a victim came in 2001 after The Bee published an article about the case, Holes told Crime Watch Daily.

"I believe he saw that article," Holes said. "And he knew ahead of time that victim's phone number and called her."

Ryan Sabalow: 916-321-1264, @ryansabalow
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