Police Believe Suspected Golden State Killer Was Behind 2 1980s Rape-Slayings in Irvine

Irvine police released information on two brutal rapes and slayings of women in the city during the 1980s that the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer was charged in on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, prosecutors and law enforcement officials from multiple counties came together to announce the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, in Sacramento. He is alleged to be the Golden State Killer, accused of killing a dozen people across California and raping some 50 women.

The booking photo for Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer, was released by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department on April 25, 2018.

The booking photo for Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer, was released by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department on April 25, 2018.

Irvine police said DeAngelo is believed to be the person who raped and killed Manuela Witthuhn, 28, on Feb. 5, 1981. He is also believed to be behind the rape and slaying of Janelle Cruz, 18, five years later — on May 5, 1986.

He was charged in both crimes by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.

Witthuhn was a bank teller whose husband was in the hospital when she was killed inside her home while alone there, police said. Cruz was also home alone when she was killed, as her family was away on vacation.

The body of 18-year-old Cruz was discovered by realtors who walked into the home, police said.

It took 40 years for FBI officials and other investigators across the state to identify DeAngelo as the person behind a devastating years-long crime spree across at least 10 California counties.

“Today’s arrest is the first step in achieving justice for all of the victims and their loved ones who were devastated so many years ago and will forever be scarred,” Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel said in a news release.

DeAngelo is a former police officer who was fired back in the 1970s for shoplifting. He was living in a quiet Sacramento suburb at the time of his arrest.