SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — FOX40’s Bridgette Bjorlo spoke with one of the original investigators on the Golden State Killer case and one of the only female detectives in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office in the 70s and 80s when Joseph DeAngelo terrorized Northern California.
Although retired, Carol Daly has been in the courtroom every day this week during DeAngelo’s sentencing hearing, supporting the victims and even speaking on behalf of one of them.
“I never closed my eyes at night without thinking about the victims and what they went through and where this man was,” Daly said.
For Daly, those who survived the attacks of the notorious Golden State Killer are more than just victims. They’re daughters, sisters and friends. And though they don’t share the same bloodline, for the retired detective, they feel like family.
“My prayer always for these victims was that they find peace,” Daly told FOX40.
She spent her career chasing the clues that led to DeAngelo.
For decades, before DNA evidence finally unmasked him, the serial killer and rapist lived a life under police radar.
“There was so much terror in Sacramento County during the time he was operating,” Daly explained.
His victims had to live without answers, closure or justice. But they had Daly to lean on.
“Friday, after the hearing, we’re having pizza at 3 o’clock for everyone who wants to get together,” she said.
As one of the original investigators, it was Daly’s job to stay connected with those part of the case, but it quickly became a calling.
“I want to be there, I want to listen and, basically, that’s been my role. Just to be there and to listen and say, ‘It’s OK to feel the way that you’re feeling and we’re going to get past this,’” she said.
Now, four and a half decades after DeAngelo began his trail of terror, his survivors are looking evil in the eye at his sentencing hearing.
Right next to them is their constant, lending her support, even in retirement.
“It has just been different than any other case and I can’t just say, ‘OK, he’s been identified, you’re on your own,’” Daly said. “Now they need the support more than ever and knowing so many of them, I couldn’t think of being any other place.”
Daly, now 79, spent half of her life watching those women transform from traumatized to tough. She’s drawn inspiration from their strength and courage and said DeAngelo’s sentencing will bring an end to sleepless nights for all of them.
“He was a terrorist. He did everything he could to make these victims fear for the rest of their lives and they didn’t know who they were fearing,” Daly told FOX40. “So that question is put to rest. They know who he is and we all know where he’s going now.”
A Sacramento County judge is scheduled to deliver DeAngelo his sentence Friday. Per a plea deal, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.