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By Rylie Friesen-–
A newly released 226-page e-book compiled by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office includes numerous of stories Citrus Heights residents and others who share their memories of living through the years when the East Area Rapist was on the loose.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said she wanted to give a voice to all those affected by the East Area Rapist, following the conviction of Joseph DeAngelo. In a forward to the book, Schubert recalls her personal experience growing up in Sacramento at the age of 12, when DeAngelo began his crimes in 1976.
She asked fellow residents of the Sacramento region in the 1970s to share their personal experiences and memories of the killer, all of which were compiled into the book.
“This book is dedicated to all of the direct survivors and victims of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer, along with the hundreds of individuals who shared their stories and the entire community that endured the horror of these crimes decades ago,” said spokeswoman Shelly Orio, in a media release announcing the book last week.
Stories were included word-for-word, except for some redactions. Initials rather than names were also used to protect personal identification.
One resident of Citrus Heights recalled being around 14 years old when they had an encounter with the East Area Rapist. While home alone after school one day, the resident remembered hearing a knock on the door. Checking through the peephole, a man could be seen standing outside the door.
“I thought it was the son of a friend of my parents so I opened the door,” said the resident. “He turned right around and I saw it wasn’t whom I thought it was. He immediately put his right foot up by the door hinge side and he had a knife in his left hand down by his side (it was in a sheath/case type thing). I knew right away I was in trouble.”
The man asked if the resident was home alone. Lying, the resident said their father was in the shower. The man said to get him, at which point the writer walked to their parent’s room, locked the door, and ran out a sliding door to the neighbors house, and called a friend for help. The same man was also found lurking near their home on other locations. They later found out the man was the East Area Rapist.
Another resident living around the Auburn Boulevard area recalled living cautiously because of the East Area Rapist. There were break-ins and rapes in the area, and there were common stories of the man terrorizing residents. Family members began locking doors and windows at night, even “in the summer without air conditioning.” The resident also remembered getting a phone call from someone asking if they owned dogs — later discovering that is something the killer frequently did.
“He was a true boogie man,” the writer said. “I was 14 when I started putting a knife in my mattress. It was hard to go to sleep because he could be in the house.”
A third resident described living in the same neighborhood where DeAngelo later moved. In the late 1970’s, the writer’s uncle lived across the street, and the resident recalled walking home in the evening with an older sibling.
“We entered the kitchen which faces east to the then empty cattle field when something out the window grabbed our attention. There was a man standing at the fence line, dressed in white with a white face mask staring at us. (My mom remembers it like an old school hockey mask, I believe. I just remember the head to toe white.) He didn’t move and held his stare. Scared, we ran upstairs and locked ourselves in the master bedroom and called my uncle for help. He came over, the man in white was gone and the moment became a story of our past.”
In the early 80’s, DeAngelo moved into the neighborhood. The resident nicknamed him “the angry man”, saying he was often heard yelling at his children, and even got angry at the resident’s mother for getting dust on his daughter’s car. The writer remembered being scared of him and keeping distance from him.
DeAngelo was arrested at his Citrus Heights home in 2018, after DNA evidence connected him to formerly unsolved crimes. He was convicted in 2020 and sentenced to 11 consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Those interested in reading the e-book online can find it at sacda.org/sacramento-a-community-forever-changed.
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