Investigators in California say DNA evidence led them to one of the country's most notorious serial killers. Former police officerand is believed to be the so-called "Golden State Killer." That elusive predator is accused of about 50 rapes and 12 murders, crimes that terrorized California in the 1970s and '80s.
Two years ago, a law enforcement task force jump-started efforts to catch the Golden State Killer, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone. The ex-police officer became a suspect in the last week, identified using what authorities would only describe as a sophisticated new kind of DNA technology.
"We started some surveillance. We were able to get discarded DNA, and we were able to confirm what we thought we already knew -- that we had our man," Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said.
"All of a sudden, in a six day period of time, we solved the case of the century," Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said. She was just 12 years old when the Golden State killer began his harrowing crime spree. On Wednesday, she announced the arrest of DeAngelo.
"We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento," Schubert said.
Linda O'Dell is victim No. 20. O'Dell was raped when she lived in Citrus Heights in 1977, the same neighborhood where DeAngelo lives and was arrested Tuesday. Deputy Carol Daly took her to the hospital.
"We just didn't give up," O'Dell said.
"No, and we're just so pleased that this is over," Daly said.
"Thousands of nightmares and thousands of sleepless nights by everybody," O'Dell said.
The 72-year-old DeAngelo has been charged with eight murders in Sacramento, Orange, and Ventura Counties. He is suspected in several other killings and dozens of rapes. Many of the crimes were committed just miles from his home in Citrus Heights where he was arrested on Tuesday.
Bruce Harrington's brother and sister-in-law were two of the alleged victims.
"For the 51 ladies who were brutally raped in these crime scenes, sleep better tonight. He isn't coming through the windows," Harrington said.
The Golden State killer terrorized Californians from 1974 to 1986, raping women while their husbands or boyfriends were tied up nearby. He even took souvenirs of his crimes and made frightening phone calls to survivors threatening to kill them.
In the past year, a special episode of "48 Hours" helped keep the case in the public eye, as well as a best-selling book written by Michelle McNamara, the .
Police are still poring through DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights, near Sacramento, for evidence.
DeAngelo retired last year after 27 years working in a local supermarket warehouse. He was an officer in two California police departments in the 1970s. Investigators are trying to determine if he committed any of the alleged crimes while on duty or if his knowledge of policing helped him evade capture. He will be arraigned Friday.