NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Patton Oswalt, whose wife spent years researching the unsolved case of the Golden State Killer, has a lot to say now that a suspect has been caught.
Oswalt, who’s spent most of his professional life as a comedian, actor, writer and movie buff (an early promoter of “The Room,” for instance) was married to Michelle McNamara, who spent the last years of her life chasing the Golden State Killer, hoping to unveil his identity in the book “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark.” She died in her sleep, at 46, in 2016 after a toxic mix of prescription drugs that exacerbated an undiagnosed heart condition. Oswalt helped complete her half-finished book, which is now optioned for a documentary series on HBO.
However, on Tuesday, at an event in Chicago to promote the book, Oswalt told the crowd that he thought the killer would be caught soon.
And, allegedly, he was. Just hours before he said that, suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested in California on a warrant stemming from two of the murders. By the next day, authorities identified him as the Golden State Killer, citing DNA evidence, according to the New York Times.
The killer had committed a series of unsolved 50 rapes and 12 murders throughout California in the 1970s and ’80. DeAngelo was a police officer in Exeter, Calif., from 1973 to 1976, and in Auburn from 1976 to 1979. DeAngelo was fired after stealing a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drug store, according to the Auburn Journal. He allegedly gained access to his victims by prying open windows to their homes as they slept; police have not revealed the details of the DNA evidence, only saying it was sophisticated.
“There’s exhilaration, and I don’t feel it now, but I can sense that tomorrow or the next day there’s going to be a huge drop in serotonin and happiness when I realize she really isn’t here,” Oswalt said. “There were insights and angles that she could keep bringing to this case.”
Oswalt hired investigative journalist Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes, who worked with McNamara, as a researcher, the Times noted, to piece together her book using her handwritten notes and 3,500 files on her computer.
“The resulting book is a chilling and vivid narrative of a serial killer’s crimes, and a revealing account of Ms. McNamara’s obsession with the case and the psychological toll it took on her,” the Times said.
A law enforcement official said at a press conference that the book “kept interest and tips coming in.”
Haynes, Jensen and Oswalt were all at the event in Chicago and speculated how long it would be before the killer got caught; HBO’s cameras caught it all, to the paper.
Oswalt said he wanted to talk to DeAngelo, to bring up questions his wife never had a chance to ask.
“It feels like the last task for Michelle, to bring him her questions at the end of her book – just to go, ‘My wife had some questions for you,’” he said.