The Visalia Police Department said it is confident 72-year old Joseph James DeAngelo is the “Visalia Ransacker”, and likely the same man who has been identified as the “Golden State Killer”.
DeAngelo is accused of ransacking hundreds of homes in the Visalia area in the early 1970s. Police also believe DeAngelo is the man who shot and killed a College of Sequoia’s professor in 1975.
Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said they unfortunately don’t have any DNA from those cases, but they will continue to work on them to bring justice to the victims.
“I mean obviously DNA would be nice, it’s a pretty solid identification. We do have some evidence from our crimes that we will continue to compare. We’re also standing by to see how the case evolves in Sacramento. Obviously, they’re still conducting their investigation. It’s our hopes that maybe additional information may come from those, that investigation as it unfolds there, that may help us to provide additional leads or evidence related to the ransacker,” stated Salazar.
According to an article published in The Exeter Sun from August 22, 1973, DeAngelo was a police officer for the Exeter Police Department.
Tulare County Librarian Jonathan Waltmire showed us the archival article that was written to highlight DeAngelo as Exeter PD’s newest employee. It also stated that DeAngelo was a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam. According to the article, he went to high school in Folsom, near Sacramento, and graduated from Sacramento State.
“It really kinda drives home that you don’t know your neighbors sometimes. And especially in 1970s, it was easier. There was no social media, so it was easier for people to do things on their spare time that you didn’t know about,” stated Waltmire.
The article states, “James DeAngelo Jr. believes that without law and order there can be no government and without a democratic government there can be no freedom. Law enforcement is his [DeAngelo’s] career, he says, and his job is serving the community.”
The current chief of the Exeter Police Department said he’s shocked and disappointed to hear the “Golden State Killer”/“Visalia Ransacker” may have been a police officer with their department.
The Visalia Police Department is urging anyone who may have known DeAngelo in the South Valley in the 70s, to please give them a call.