STOCKTON — The newspaper clippings have turned yellow over the past 40 years but the stories of the East Area Rapist brutally assaulting two of his many victims in Stockton still haunts those neighborhoods, clear as day.
“They are awakened by a man holding a flashlight and a gun,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. “He threatened to harm them. Both the female and male were tied up.”
Jones spoke at a press conference Wednesday evening about the horrors those two women were likely reliving Wednesday night now that authorities say discarded DNA evidence led them to arrest their suspect, now 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo.
“A bittersweet thing where finally somebody is apprehended, but it opens old wounds,” Jones said at a press conference Wednesday.
On Meadow Avenue in Stockton Don Gannon recalled the terror of having one of those rapes occur right across the street.
“You couldn’t sleep. It was that scary,” Gannon told FOX40.
Dan Fidler’s current home is one of the locations the East Area Rapist is believed to have assaulted a 24-year-old woman while her 29-year-old husband was tied up on March 18, 1979.
“And now I see pictures of him and I imagine him roaming this house and doing the kinds of things that he did, like hiding ropes, and it’s kinda creepy,” Fidler said.
At the other victim’s Stockton home on Portage Circle North, one of the victims answered the door. At the time he was 31 years old when his 29-year-old wife was assaulted on Sept. 16, 1977.
Off camera, he told FOX40 they had been married now for 48 years and that they always wondered if the “SOB was still alive.”
It is now known that DeAngelo was living in Citrus Heights with his daughter and granddaughter.
“There’s a lot more to be done in the criminal justice system,” Chief Jones said.