For Survivors and Family Members, Arrest in East Area Rapist Case Brings Flood of Emotion

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SACRAMENTO — After more than 30 years of horror, dozens of victims who suffered at the hands of the criminal known as the East Area Rapist, the Golden State Killer, or the Original Night Stalker now know the man investigators say encompassed all of those nightmares — Joseph James DeAngelo.

“You get an alarm in your house. You do whatever you think you need to do and the years go on,” said Bruce Harrington. “And nothing happens and there’s no resolution. And it just sits there on the back of your mind.”

The “it” Harrington’s talking about is his sickening, lingering worry over the whereabouts of the man who beat his brother Keith to death along with his sister-in-law in their Orange County home.

“It’s a bellweather day. It is a day where they can… and especially the women who were raped and survived, you have to believe that they can sleep tonight. ‘Cause I gotta believe they haven’t been able to sleep much at all,” Harrington said.

“I’m going to kill you.”

The FBI says the voice of a much younger DeAngelo was recorded calling and terrorizing one of his past victims a year into what became four decades of eluding police.

Many hurt by him and those they loved have longed to see his face and stare into the eyes of the person responsible for their pain, but not Harrington.

“I haven’t seen [the mugshot] yet and I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to know his name,” Harrington told FOX40. “He’s a jerk. I wouldn’t give him the notoriety.”

The same kind of feeling was held by one of the original investigators searching for the East Area Rapist, who didn’t know at the time she was hunting a fellow police officer.

“I’m just happy that he’s arrested. I don’t care what he looks like as long as they have the right person, I’m satisfied,” said former Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Carol Daly.

The Youngest East Area Rapist Victim Speaks Out

Margaret Wardlow said she’s thrilled to hear about the arrest. She was only 13-years-old when she was raped in her Sacramento neighborhood.

Wardlow says she was the East Area Rapist’s 27th victim.

It was 1977 and she was only 13 when an intruder tied her up at her Sacramento home on La Riviera Drive. To date, she is known as the youngest East Area Rapist victim.

“When he instructed me to put my hands behind my back and wanted to tie me up I refused because I thought it was a joke,” Wardlow told FOX40 sister station KSWB.

It wasn’t a joke and she became just one of many terrorized by the crime spree.

“He asked me, ‘Do you want me to kill your mother? Do you want me to kill you?'” Wardlow said. “I said in defiance, ‘I don’t care.'”

Wardlow said a detective called her on Tuesday with the news that former the Auburn Police officer is now behind bars, suspected of killing at least 12 people and raping dozens more.

FOX40 asked Wardlow over the phone how she coped with such a devastating attack, especially because she was so young.

“I knew enough to preserve myself, even after he left, because of the fact that I knew what he got off on and I just wouldn’t play into that scenario,” Wardlow said.

Wardlow also hopes this arrest will help bring the answers so many families have longed for, like her friend Debbi Domingo, whose mother and mother’s boyfriend were killed in their Santa Barbara home in 1981.

She posted the following message on Facebook:

“I wish I could answer all of the calls, texts, voicemails, messages, emails, etc… This is really unbelievable. I can’t keep up! Thank you all so much for your kind words and prayers.”

Domingo has posted several videos on her Youtube page dedicated to getting answers for her late mother, Cheri Domingo, and Cheri’s boyfriend, Greg Sanchez.

Leading up to this week’s arrest, victims and victims’ families say they were frustrated, angry and, at times, hopeless as they wondered who could kill 12 people and rape at least 50.

Last year, Domingo posted a video, during which she says, “You guys don’t understand how hard this road is… And without you I really don’t know if I could keep up with it.”

Stockton Victims Relieved

The husband of one of the Stockton victims told FOX40 he is happy and relieved to hear about DeAngelo’s arrest. It answers the question he has long had of whether he is still alive and, if so, where he may be.

His wife has been very emotional and the past couple of years have been hard on her, especially with the media coverage bringing back the feelings she had over 40 years ago.

The man told FOX40 he never worried about the East Area Rapist coming back to their home.

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