Prime Suspect in Unsolved Davis Rapes from 1978 Believed to be East Area Rapist

(From Press Release) – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that his office is working in conjunction with the Davis Police Department, the FBI, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office on three sexual assault cases from the summer of 1978.  Law enforcement authorities believe that the “East Area Rapist” suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, who was arrested in Citrus Heights this week, is also a suspect in the Davis rapes.

DeAngelo is a former police officer who has lived under the radar in Citrus Heights for decades.  He is believed to be the “East Area Rapist” and “Golden State Killer” who is suspected of committing over 50 rapes and a dozen murders across 10 different Northern, Central and Southern California counties between 1976 and 1986.  A DNA profile of the “East Area Rapist,” now believed to be DeAngelo, matched DNA profiles of evidence collected from these crimes.  The Sacramento District Attorney has filed a complaint charging DeAngelo with two counts of murder and special circumstances for the murders of Bryan and Katie Maggiore that occurred in February, 1978 in Rancho Cordova. He is also facing murder charges in Ventura County.

The crime spree spread fear throughout the Davis community in the late 1970s.  The first rape occurred on June 7, 1978, on Wake Forest Drive at 4:26 am.  The victim was a 21-year-old female college student.  On June 24, 1978, the “East Area Rapist” struck again at 4:18 am on Rivendell Lane where he raped a 32-year-old housewife.  His third rape occurred on July 6, 1978, at 4:30 am on Amador Avenue where he victimized a 33-year-old housewife.

Davis resident Sharla Cheney, who grew up in Davis, stated, “We locked and double checked every window and door before going to bed even though it was summer and it felt claustrophobic. Friends created elaborate stacks of cans and hanging bells across windows and doors to alert them if someone broke in. It was a really scary summer and it took a long time before I felt comfortable sleeping with an open window.”

Reisig has been working closely on this case with the “East Area Rapist” investigative task force called “Team Justice” under the leadership of Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert for several years.  “Over the past 10 years my office has solved numerous cases using DNA, some of which were cold cases.  My colleague, District Attorney Schubert, is one of our statewide experts on innovatively using DNA to solve murder and rape cases.  We will continue working hand-in-hand with her office, the FBI, the Davis Police Department and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office to solve the Davis rapes, to vigorously prosecute the rapist, and to achieve some sense of justice for the victims, family members, and the Davis community.”

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  1. Dave Hart

    I hope at some point, there is a photo of the suspect taken during the late 1970s or early 1980s to compare with the police drawings.   Such a photo should be easily available considering his employment history.

    1. Ken A

      I’m sure that if any of this guys past employers still have a photo it will soon be “lost” since the last thing any business or public agency wants is a photo on this guy in a uniform with a company or public agency name on it on every news site in America.

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