U of M graduate worked to uncover 'Golden State Killer'

The author of a book that chronicled the investigation into the “Golden State Killer” is a University of Minnesota graduate.

Michelle McNamara’s book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” shot to the top of best seller lists this year, reigniting interest in the decades-long cold case. While police deny it, many believe the book contributed to an arrest in the case.

Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home in Sacramento Tuesday. Police believe he is the man who terrorized several California neighborhoods in the late-1970s and mid-1980s.

Sadly, McNamara didn’t live to see the serial killer arrested. She died two years ago.

“It was sort of a mixture of very extreme positive emotions and then very extreme in the other way--kind of a bitter sweet thing,” said her nephew Connor Stratton. “We wanted her to be there… so we could be happy with her.”

The “Golden State Killer” is believed to be responsible for 12 murders and nearly 50 rapes. 

McNamara dedicated the last years of her life to investigating the killing spree. When she died in 2016, her husband comedian Patton Oswald saw to it that the book was published.

Stratton said his aunt had the utmost respect for the detectives working the case, and wouldn’t want to take any credit for the arrest.

“She would have wanted zero credit for it,” said Stratton. “She just wanted to hunker down and do the detective work.”

McNamara graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. Stratton says while her focus was originally poetry, she eventually turned to fiction writing. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a screenwriter.