The man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, might have had an accomplice, at least one law enforcement official believes. But others disagree with this theory. The idea of an accomplice has long been debated among people who follow the crimes closely, and some even think the accomplice might have been a woman. Here is what we know so far about the potential suspect.
1. The Accomplice Might Have Helped with Earlier Crimes That Weren’t Homicides, Suggested Retired Detective Paul Holes
Retired Contra Costa County Detective Paul Holes believes a second person may have helped the Golden State Killer with some of his early crimes, the Sacramento Bee reported. Those incidents would likely have only involved his early crimes of assault, and not the homicides.
“Those of us who are familiar with the case files recognize that is a possibility,” Holes told the Sacramento Bee. “I’ve always just held open the possibility of a second person assisting in a few cases, but not being active through the whole series.”
Holes came up with the family tree method to catch suspect Joseph James DeAngelo.
2. Not Everyone Agrees that the Golden State Killer Had an Accomplice
However, not everyone agrees with Holes’ theory. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department does not believe that suspect DeAngelo had an accomplice. Sgt. Shaun Hampton, spokesman for the department, said the theory is “absolutely not true.” In an email to the Sacramento Bee, Hampton wrote: “According to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detective Sergeant Ken Clark, the sole suspect behind all of these alleged crimes is Joseph DeAngelo.”
Holes acknowledged that it’s possible the Golden State Killer was pretending to talk to someone in order to make his victims think more than one person was there.
3. Four Victims Thought They Heard the East Area Rapist Speaking with Someone Else
In at least four cases attributed to DeAngelo — three in Sacramento and one in Concord — victims heard him speaking to someone else. And in at least one of those cases, the victim thought she could hear a second voice.
In the Concord case, the victim said the Golden State Killer entered the garage with a bag full of stolen items and said to someone, “Take this to the car.”
In a Sacramento attack, one victim heard the East Area Rapist speaking to someone outside. Another heard the rapist in their living room, saying to someone: “I thought I told you to shut up.”
4. One Victim Said She Thought She Heard a Muffled Female Voice Outside During an Attack
Internet sleuths have long used online discussion boards to talk about the possibility that the Golden State Killer had an accomplice. With the latest news, they are discussing the possibility yet again, with some wondering if that accomplice might have been a woman.
During attack #24, which is described on the cold case website here, the female victim thought she heard muffled voices, and one of those voices sounded like a woman. She could hear the voices after someone knocked on her window. Right after that, the assailant left through the sliding door. It’s not known if this is one of the incidents that caused Holes to believe there might be an accomplice. The 24th attack happened on October 1, 1977, and the East Area Rapist called the victim on October 21, 1982, threatening her again.
Back in January 2018, before the suspect was identified, an in-depth discussion was posted about the possibility of a female accomplice. They cited the case above, and also mentioned that in the incident where he told someone to take bags to the car, he told the victim earlier: “I only want money and food for my girlfriend.”
The discussion points to a couple other incidents which might just be circumstantial evidence. In the Concord, California attack on October 13, 1978, a man and woman claiming to be from a Mormon church visited before the assault. Then, most Mormon visits were from two men. And just before a murder in Goleta, California, several eyewitnesses claimed they saw two prowlers at different times: one was a woman with dark hair in her mid-20s and the other was a white male between 5’8″ and 5’10”. It’s not known if this was just a coincidence, however.
One person on Reddit recently suggested the accomplice might be a woman, adding: “How else would he be able to get out of all the dragnets? I imagine his accomplice was mainly used as a driver. She waited in the car and whenever GSK got back he simply jumped in the truck, allowing his accomplice to coast through any roadblocks.” Not everyone agreed with this assertion, however.
5. The Golden State Killer Likely Killed Anyone Who Was Helping Him
Holes said that if there was an accomplice, that person was likely killed by the East Area Rapist in order to hide his identity, The Sacramento Bee reported. “If there was a second person, I think (the East Area Rapist) would have just killed him,” Holes said.
This is a developing story.