SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A newspaper clipping may lend clues to identify “Bonnie,” the name the East Area Rapist reportedly muttered during at least one of his attacks.
Ex-cop Joseph DeAngelo is finishing up his first weekend in the Sacramento County Jail. He’s accused of a dozen murders and more than 50 rapes in the 70’s and 80’s.
The name “Bonnie” has been a mystery to law enforcement for years.
Investigators say a victim once reported the suspect saying the name “Bonnie” after an attack in 1978, but police say the victim was hysterical and thought she could have mistaken the word for “mommy.”
The name went under the radar, until now.
“I hate you Bonnie, I hate you Bonnie, as he was sobbing,” said a Contra Costa County investigator who had been working the case for years.
Who is Bonnie, and what’s her connection to Joseph Angelo, the suspected Golden State Killer?
Law enforcement officers say the suspect said Bonnie’s name following a rape he allegedly committed in the 1970s.
“We knew there was a Bonnie who was significant to him,” the investigator said.
Now, there’s a newspaper clipping from the Auburn Journal displaying a photo of a woman named “Bonnie Colwell,” who was once engaged to DeAngelo.
A mystery woman for decades, law enforcement officers say they relied on DNA to bring them closer suspected Golden State Killer.
“We were able to do this without seeking the legal authority, [the] federal grand jury subpoena we would need if we wanted to search the other types of genealogy sites,” said Paul Holes.
Cold case investigator Paul Holes says detectives identified DeAngelo as a suspect several months ago using DNA from crime scenes in the 70’s, which they submitted to a publicly-shared genealogy website called GEDmatch.
To prove their finding, investigators say they collected DNA from outside DeAngelo’s Citrus Heights home.
“It could be a tissue, it could be a way that he left his hands on a door handle, it was what I call abandoned DNA,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
The discovery is raising concerns about the privacy of DNA collection and the legality of the process.
“We are fully prepared to deal with that through the court process as well,” Schubert added.
On Friday afternoon, DeAngelo appeared in a Sacramento courtroom.
Defense attorney, Diane Howard, says she has yet to meet with her client and to review the documents alleging a decade of terrorism across the state.
“If this case truly has hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery, I’m not surprised, it could take months,” said Howard.
DeAngelo will make another court appearance in Sacramento County on May 14.
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