Victims, Their Families and Investigators Relieved Suspected East Area Rapist Now in Jail

CITRUS HEIGHTS – Suspected East Area Rapist, Joseph DeAngelo, entered a courtroom full of his victims and their families handcuffed to a wheelchair to face a judge Friday.

Michele Cruz never gave up hope she would one day see justice for her sister, Janelle Cruz.

Janelle was the East Area Rapist’s last victim. He raped and murdered the 18-year-old in May of 1986 in Irvine, California.

Cruz waited 31 years to say, “wow he’s in jail. I can finally relax now.”

“I look at him and the first word that comes to mind is, ‘disgusting,’ expressed Cruz.

Cruz never gave up hope and nor did investigators.

“We went from cautiously optimistic to subdued celebration,” said sheriff Scott Jones in reference to catching DeAngelo.

While waves of relief overwhelm everyone involved, this is just the beginning of a lengthy legal process.

“We have a significant timeline to fill in as intricately as we can,” said Jones.

Clues to fill in that timeline could be found inside DeAngelo's Citrus Heights home that, for the first time in three days, is not surrounded by crime scene tape and investigators.

“He's got a lot of stuff in that house, a lot all of that stuff has to be gone through methodically, meticulously,” said Jones.

The calm that once was returns to Canyon Oak Drive. That same calm felt by Cruz for the first time since 1986.

“Nothing is going to bring our family members back but it's definitely satisfying knowing he will never walk free again,” said Cruz.