‘We Got Him:’ A Woman’s Hunt for Her Mother’s Killer, the East Area Rapist

SACRAMENTO -- The East Area Rapist has devastated families throughout the state and in 1981 he claimed the lives of a Santa Barbara woman and her boyfriend.

Cheri Domingo had always been a nurturing loving mother to Debbi. But Debbi Domingo admits, as a teenager in 1981, their relationship hit a rough patch. FOX40 spoke to her from her Texas home through Facebook.

"I just yelled at her, 'Why don’t you just stay out of my life?' And I hung up the phone and I peddled off on my bicycle and I thought I had the last word," Debbi Domingo said.

That last word would be the last conversation Debbi Domingo would have with her mother.

Twenty-four hours later, Cheri Domingo and her boyfriend, Greg Sanchez, would be found brutally beaten to death in a Goleta home in Santa Barbara County.

Debbi Domingo was devastated.

But that fiery nature she had as a teen turned into a lifelong passion to find justice for her mother. She has been sharing her journey on Youtube.

"For years I have been talking to her spirit and just saying, 'We’re gonna get him, mom. We’re gonna get him,'" Domingo told FOX40.

Seven years ago, DNA testing linked the East Area Rapist to Cheri Domingo's and Sanchez's murders. It was the same technology that would lead investigators to former Auburn Police Officer Joseph DeAngelo.

"For him to be alive and in custody and we know it’s a lock," Domingo said. "You can’t hide from DNA. We know it’s him."

Domingo said a trusted source told her on Tuesday they had made an arrest.

Now Domingo says this to her mother, "So today, of course, that message has changed, that message is, 'You know, we got him.'"

Domingo said now she can stop the hunt. She said there’s a sense of freedom and a big sigh of relief knowing the man suspected of killing her mom is now behind bars. For that once rebellious teen turned fiery advocate Domingo now plans to tell DeAngelo, "You weren’t as smart as you thought you were."

Domingo plans to come to the court hearings. She says she empathizes with DeAngelo’s loved ones because as the victims are getting some answers, his family’s lives are about to get rockier.