Gay and Bob Hardwick were in their 20s when they became victims of the Golden State Killer at their home in Stockton, California in 1978. At that point, the predator was known only as the East Area Rapist, a serial rapist in the Sacramento area who would target both women alone or couples.
In 2018, Joseph James DeAngelo was identified through DNA evidence as the Golden State Killer, responsible for 13 known murders and over 60 rapes and other crimes. The 74-year-old DeAngelo pleaded guilty to these crimes and admitted responsibility on June 29, 2020, in a plea deal that would see him avoid the death penalty.
Where are Gay and Bob Hardwick today?
They Have Shared Their Experience & Been Outspoken About Their Journey, Especially Since DeAngelo’s Capture
Bob and Gay Hardwick have given a few interviews about their experience as a couple surviving the Golden State Killer. Back when he was known only as the East Area Rapist, DeAngelo attacked the Hardwicks in their home in 1978. Gay told KCRA that at the time, “[DeAngelo] was beginning his murder spree, his transition. We were very lucky that we lived that night.”
They explained that they were in their 20s, not yet married, when DeAngelo broke into their home: “We were awakened by a gruff voice and a glaring light,” Gay said. He threatened the couple with a gun and told them that he would kill Bob if she didn’t tie him up.” Bob also spoke to the outlet, saying: “I thought about it many times, ‘Is there anything I could do?’ But, I’d rather be alive today than dead.”
DeAngelo used the same MO as with the other East Area Rapist victims. After the couple was tied up, he placed dishes on Bob’s back and said he’d kill them if he heard the dishes moving. He took Gay to the living room where he sexually assaulted her multiple times. For over two hours, he would pretend to leave only to come back and keep them on edge.
They Are One of the Only Couples Known to Have Stayed Together After the Attacks
After DeAngelo attacked about a dozen women living alone or with kids as the East Area Rapist, he began targeting couples in their homes. According to RecordNet, there were 29 male victims of the serial rapist, who were tied up and threatened while their partners were sexually assaulted. These male victims are rarely mentioned and their trauma is not often discussed.
Bob Hardwick was one of the few men who’s shared the experience of the attacks and the impact it had on his relationship. He was a 29-year-old divorce lawyer living with Gay in Stockton, California, when they became victims of the East Area Rapist. Bob said, “I was the same way as any other man, that Gay was the real, the real victim. I felt bad that I couldn’t do anything about it.” He said he threw himself into his work and sports and often let his anger get the best of him.
The couple only decided to address the aftermath and trauma of the attack when Gay threatened to leave Bob. More than half of the couples attacked by DeAngelo divorced or separated afterward.
On June 29, 2020, after DeAngelo admitted to attacking the Hardwicks and raping Gay in 1978, Gay told the Charlotte Observer: “It’s unfortunate that he’s not younger and able to serve a longer sentence. It’s unfortunate that he was able to live the prime of his life unfettered, and that the rest of us had to carry a burden for all those years.”