What the Golden State Killer Arrest Means for Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara

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What the Golden State Killer Arrest Means for Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara

“I think you got him, Michelle.”

Two years and four days after her unexpected death, it looks like true crime writer Michelle McNamara helped solve a decades-long mystery. Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, certainly seems to think so (and most fans agree), based on the joyous activity of his social media accounts today after the announcement that an arrest has been made.

Patton has recently been on a book tour, promoting McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the exhaustive, gorgeously written but also seriously gutting true crime book she had been hard at work on up until her death on April 21, 2016. She died unexpectedly in her sleep from a combination of medications and an unknown condition that caused blockage in her arteries, after a long period of long days, sleepless nights, nightmares, and anxiety all surrounding her attempts to unmask the serial killer and rapist she officially named “The Golden State Killer.”

Also referred to as the “East Area Rapist” and “Original Night Stalker” and the combined “EAR/ONS,” the GSK operated around Sacramento, California in the 1970s and 1980s. He was known to stalk middle class neighborhoods, often entering homes to scope them out, unlock windows, and unload guns days before actually attacking. He started by raping women who lived alone, but later moved on to attacking couples. He was connected to at least 50 rapes, eight murders, and many burglaries and stalking cases, while possibly connected to countless other incidents. The details of his crimes are brutal even just for light Wikipedia skimming—unimaginable at the level of a deep dive Michelle was in.

In an interview with The New York Times, Patton said that he had suggested to his wife that she take a night to “sleep until you wake up,” but she never did.

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