The first episode of HBO’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
was released on June 28. The true crime documentary
series revolves around Michelle
McNamara’s book of the same name. Before her death, McNamara was heavily involved
in investigating the Golden State Killer, a serial rapist, and killer who
terrorized citizens of California between 1974 and 1986 before going dormant. In
April 2018, Joseph DeAngelo was arrested for the crimes, just two months after
McNamara’s book was released posthumously. He stands accused of at least 13
murders, 50 rapes, and 100 burglaries and is expected to plead guilty on June
Who is Michelle McNamara?
McNamara, the author of I’ll
Be Gone In the Dark, was a television writer before starting her blog, True
Crime Diary. On the blog, McNamara wrote about cold cases but paid specific
attention to a series of crimes committed in California between 1974 and 1986. Her
attention to detail, and desire to uncover who was behind the string of heinous
crimes spiraled into an obsession.
Oswalt in 2005, is often credited with giving the killer the moniker he is
best known by. Before McNamara dubbed him The Golden State Killer, the
perpetrator was known by multiple names, including The Visalia Ransacker, The Original
Nightstalker, and The East Area Rapist. RELATED: ‘I’ll Be Gone In The Dark’: What Is the New HBO Docuseries About?
McNamara died in April 2016, two years before DeAngelo was
charged with the crimes that occupied so much of her time. Upon the
announcement of his arrest, Oswalt paid tribute to his late wife on social
Did Michelle McNamara help capture the Golden State Killer?
The announcement of DeAngelo’s arrest caught the world by
surprise. It was just two months after McNamara’s book was published. Oswalt
was still working on promoting the nonfiction offering, and readers were still
working their way through the 352 pages of information. One would assume, given
the timing, that something inside the book led to the capture. According to Marie
Claire, that’s not the case. While the Sheriff’s department noted that McNamara’s
blog and the book might have renewed interest in the case, they insist there
was nothing inside the pages that led them directly to DeAngelo. Instead, a DNA
match through a genealogy database helped identify the suspect.
McNamara may not have found DeAngelo herself, but the profile
she developed from countless hours of research was incredibly close to the man
who would eventually be charged with the crimes. McNamara theorized that the
perpetrator had a background in the military or the police, for example. DeAngelo
is a Navy veteran who went on to work as a police officer for a brief time.
Popular blogs and podcasts have led to the closing of high
profiles cases before
While the sheriff’s department has failed to credit McNamara
with helping to solve the case, they have, at least, admitted that McNamara did
help to bring renewed interest and increased tips. She is not the first, nor
will she be the last, citizen
detective that has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about long-forgotten
cases. Occasionally, that awareness kicks investigations into high gear and
helps bring killers to justice.
True-Crime Podcasts That Will Leave You Convinced Your Neighbor Is a Murderer
and Vanished, renewed interest
in the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Grinstead, a beauty queen, and teacher vanished
mysteriously in 2005. As Lindsey recorded his podcast, a tip led the Georgia Bureau
of Investigations to two friends who were charged in Grinstead’s disappearance and
murder. Investigators credited Lindsey’s podcast for bringing the case back
into focus for locals.
Reenstierna and Tim Pilleri, are hoping for a similar outcome with their podcast,
Missing Maura Murray. The duo has spent years combing over the
evidence in Murray’s
2004 disappearance from a lonely road in New Hampshire. The nursing student
hasn’t been seen since, but Pilleri and Reenstierna are hoping their podcast will
help jog the memories of locals who have been reluctant to speak.