A major breakthrough in California was declared this week. According to Cold Case investigators, the infamous Golden State Killer has been apprehended. Shockingly, the suspect, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, is a former police officer. The Wednesday arrest occurred overnight when law enforcement officers charged DeAngelo with two murders.

Currently, DeAngelo is being held in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail. NBC affiliate KCRA claims that FBI agents made the arrest at DeAngelo's home in Sacramento County. Reports indicate that DeAngelo has lived at the home for at least two decades.

This would indicate that, if he is indeed the mysterious Golden State Killer, then DeAngelo lived somewhere else during his crime spree.

During the original search for the Northern California serial killer and serial rapist, the suspect was described as being a white male and approximately five-feet-ten-inches tall. No word has been released yet indicating that DeAngelo matches that description, but DeAngelo does meet the age criteria (currently between 60 and 75) that California police and FBI agents established a few years ago.

In 2016, a reward of $50,000 was established by the FBI in order to help authorities identify the elusive killer.

Reign of terror

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Bay Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, began his shocking string of crimes on June 18, 1976.

This first crime included the rape of a woman living in the California city of Rancho Cordova-Carmichael. This victim, known simply as Jane, was brutally awoken by her attacker while she slept next to her three-year-old son.

Many of the assailant's subsequent attacks fit the same profile: he would invade homes wearing a mask and holding a knife.

Once inside the bedroom, the Golden State Killer used shoelaces and torn bedsheets to bind and gag his victims. All told, the Golden State Killer is believed to be responsible for 45 rapes in California between 1976 and 1986.

The more terrifying side of this serial rapist first appeared in February 1978. On that date, the killer attacked Katie and Brian Maggiore as they walked their dog along the streets of Rancho Cordova.

It is believed that this murder was done after the couple saw the killer entering another home.

Since conclusive DNA proved that the East Bay Rapist and the Golden State Killer are the same person back in 2001, besides 45 rapes, the individual is also responsible for twelve murders. The last known murder occurred in 1986.

A horrible decade

The Golden State Killer's MO included home invasions, rapes, and murders. To the south, in the area around Los Angeles, another serial killer plagued California. This monster also broke into homes, sexually assaulted sleeping women, and murdered couples. At the time, some suspected that the Night Stalker of 1984-1985 was the same criminal who had terrorized the Sacramento area in the late 1970s.

As it turned out, the 1980s serial killer was a Texas-born drifter named Richard Ramirez. Ramirez, a noted Satanist, died of B-cell lymphoma in 2013 while serving his sentence in a California prison.

The story of the Golden State Killer inspired one writer, Michelle McNamara, the wife of famous comedian Patton Oswalt. McNamara's book on the killer, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," is currently a best-seller on Amazon. Tragically, McNamara died in 2016 after a combined drug overdose and untreated medical condition.