VISALIA, CA — The April 25 arrest of Joseph DeAngelo as a suspect in the Golden State Killer (GSK) case shocked and amazed observers worldwide — but perhaps none more profoundly than Rebecca Thompson, a lifelong California resident who suddenly learned that her younger brother may well be the infamous serial rapist and murderer.
At present, Rebecca Thompson lives in Exeter, a town in Tulare County where Joseph DeAngelo worked as a police officer from 1973 to 1976. Following DeAngelo’s bust, Thompson spoke via telephone to The Sacramento Bee. She described herself as “pretty much in a state of shock,” and said:
“As stunned as I am – because I’ve never seen him display any kind of madness or anything like that – I just can’t believe it. I’ve never seen anything to allow myself to think he could do such things.”
In addition to crimes associated with the Golden State Killer, DeAngelo is also the prime suspect in sprees committed by assailants known as the East Area Rapist (EAR), the Original Night Stalker (ONS), and the Visalia Ransacker (VR).
More than her own upset over her brother’s arrest, though, Thompson emphasized her family’s sympathy for those who fell prey to the Golden State Killer, stating:
“We’re saddened and all kinds of things. We’re sorry for the victims without any doubt. It’s really hard to think about all the victims. The victims come to mind every time I think about it, of course.”
Approached at home by a reporter from The Visalia Times Delta, Thompson said she had met with her pastor Thursday night and declined to be interviewed this time. Speaking through tears, though, she reiterated:
“We are very sympathetic to the victims and their families.”
As for other relatives of Joseph DeAngelo, his estranged wife, Sharon Huddle, is an attorney specializing in family law. Together, they have three daughters, one of whom is a doctor. So far, they’ve made no statements.
James Huddle, Sharon’s sibling and DeAngelo’s brother-in-law, said the news ignited “true shock and awe in the family.” He also described the ex-cop as a “good father” and said Joseph once even asked him:
“’What do you think of that East Area Rapist, Jim? What would you do?’ I think I told him, ‘I already got a gun.’ I don’t think he was surprised by what I said.”
Grant Gorman, a neighbor who grew up around the DeAngelo family, said he avoided playing with the DeAngelo girls as a kid because Joseph had a volcanic temper. Gorman told a reporter:
“This guy [Joseph DeAngelo] just had this anger that was just pouring out of him. He’d just be yelling at nothing in the backyard, pacing in circles.”
Joseph DeAngelo is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, May 4. He is expected to be formally charged with murder.
Watch the full series of Investigation Discovery’s The Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over on ID GO now!
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Main photo: Joseph James DeAngelo [Sacramento Sheriff’s Office]