For decades, The Golden State Killer roamed and terrorized citizens of California, raping countless women and murdering 12 people during his reign. This nameless murderer and rapist haunted California’s police department for 40 Years. The Golden State Killer is one of California’s notorious cold cases, but through a series of fortunate events, police finally caught and identified the murderer.

Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested Wednesday by the Sacramento Police Department. DeAngelo, 72, is linked to the series of rapes and murders that haunted residents of California communities in the 1970s and 1980s.

DeAngelo is accused of committing 12 homicides, 50 rapes, and more than a dozen burglaries across California.

DeAngelo faces capital murder charges that connect him with the murders of Katie and Brian Maggiore in February 1978. Police have enough evidence to link him to other homicide victims during his reign of terror. DeAngelo was arrested Wednesday after police used “discarded DNA” to match him to the unsolved slayings of The Golden State Killer -- according to CNN.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones stated that the task force had been secretly conducting surveillance and retrieving DNA through discarded items. They would then match the DNA with the samples left behind by The Golden State Killer.

That is when Sheriff Scott Jones knew he identified the mysterious killer.

Who is Joseph James DeAngelo?

Joseph James DeAngelo worked for two California police departments in the 1970s, Exeter and Auburn. It was during this time working in the police force that he began his murdering spree. The first sexual assault/rape he is linked to is in June 1976, and his first attempt at murder was in February 1977.

DeAngelo was fired from Auburn Police Department in 1979 after being arrested for shoplifting a hammer and a can of dog repellant from a drug store.

Neighbors state that they thought DeAngelo was "a little odd." He would often yell at neighbors who got too close to his fence and often kept to himself. Neighbors claim that he was not "creepy," but he kept to himself in such an odd way.

They did not have any reason to believe that they were living next door to a serial murder.

DeAngelo is reported to have three daughters according to a neighbor. There have been no comments from any of his children.

The power of DNA

DNA has linked DeAngelo to five sexual assaults and murders. Police are now investigating the case with further depth to attach 12 murders total to DeAngelo. Police are certain that they have caught the killer.