CITRUS HEIGHTS — The man arrested in the East Area Rapist investigation, Joseph James DeAngelo, lived along Canyon Oak Drive in Citrus Heights for 30 years.
It’s a quiet area, so neighbors never expected one of the state’s most notorious serial killer cases would come to a head on their street.
“It just shakes you to the core,” neighbor Deborah Fischer said.
Investigators believe DeAngelo, 72, was the East Area Rapist — otherwise known as the Golden State Killer — suspected of killing 12 people and raping dozens of women from the mid-1970s into the 1980s.
“It’s terrifying to know this man was kiddie corner to my house,” neighbor Beth Walsh said.
Paul Sanchietti has lived off of Canyon Oak Drive for more than 20 years. He says DeAngelo was often seen in front of his house, helping neighbors with various projects but would often see outbursts.
“He often times used a lot of four-letter type of words but he seemed… from other neighbors would express him as nice,” Sanchietti said.
Sanchietti and others never expected to see FBI agents and county detectives descend on their quiet neighborhood.
“It shakes you to the core. It really does. When you grew up with the fear of him,” Fischer said. “And to find out he lives right around the corner?”
Barbara Wammer moved to the neighborhood 31 years ago. She never thought the man she often made small talk with would be suspected of some of the region’s most notorious and brutal crimes.
“He had to have felt awfully secure that he wasn’t going to be found out because he wasn’t hiding in his house,” Wammer said. “He was just out here being a neighbor.”