Yolo County authorities announced Thursday they are investigating three rapes in Davis nearly 40 years ago they suspect were committed by Joseph DeAngelo, the man implicated this week as the notorious East Area Rapist.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig indicated in a written statement that he would seek to prosecute DeAngelo in connection with the Davis attacks. He said his office would work with Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, the FBI and Davis police “to solve the Davis rapes, vigorously prosecute the rapist, and achieve some sense of justice for the victims, family members and the Davis community.”
DeAngelo is suspected of committing rapes in nine counties across the state of California, including attacks in Sacramento, Yolo and San Joaquin. Reisig’s office is the first to publicly state it may seek to prosecute DeAngelo on a rape charge.
Contra Costa County's district attorney is working with police agencies there to investigate whether DeAngelo committed nine sexual assaults in that county between 1978 and 1979, DA spokesman Scott Alonso said.
Murder charges have been filed against DeAngelo in Sacramento, Orange and Ventura counties. He is also a suspect in four murders in Santa Barbara County, but the district attorney in that county has not yet filed charges against DeAngelo.
The East Area Rapist was connected to three rapes in Davis in 1978, authorities said.
The first attack took place on June 7 that year, when a 21-year-old college student was raped at 4:26 a.m. on Wake Forest Drive. On June 24, a 32-year-old woman was raped at 4:18 a.m. on Rivendell Lane, the district attorney said.
The East Area Rapist was linked to a third attack in Davis. A 33-year-old woman was raped July 6 at 4:30 a.m. on Amador Avenue.
Reisig’s office is exploring whether the statute of limitations would prevent it from prosecuting DeAngelo. Rape charges generally must be filed within 10 years of an attack.
Alonso said the statute of limitations may present a challenge against Contra Costa prosecutors from filing charges. He said the office is evaluating cases with the county sheriff and police in Concord, Danville and Walnut Creek, where attacks linked to the East Area Rapist occurred.
"I think we're very interested in pursuing justice for the victims in these cases and pursue what we can file under the statute of limitations," Alonso said. "We want to see justice for these terrible crimes."