Friday, November 16 , 2018, 10:36 am | Fair 67º


Bill Macfadyen: Decades-Long Hunt for Golden State Killer Comes Down to DNA

NoozWeek’s Top 5 also includes 2 fatal wrecks on Highway 1 south of Lompoc, an ocean rescue off Goleta Beach, and the latest Santa Barbara restaurant in the shadow of the New Vic

Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo is shown next to a composite sketch used during the lengthy investigation. Officials say genetic information obtained from genealogical websites led to DeAngelo’s arrest. (Sacramento County Jail photo / FBI sketch) Click to view larger
Old Joseph DeAngelo may not look much like a composite sketch of the Golden State Killer from decades before, but authorities say his DNA is a match. (Sacramento County Jail photo / FBI sketch)

This has been no country for old men the last few days, what with the arrest of a 72-year-old suspected serial killer and the conviction of Bill Cosby, an 80-year-old serial sex offender.

But, dayum. That was some impressive police sleuthing to thaw out the Golden State Killer cold case. I guess you just never know what’s tangled up in the roots of the online family tree.

Noozhawk’s genealogical roots are tracked by Google Analytics and not, and this past week we identified 137,334 readers who were kin to us.

Here’s my take on your most-read stories. Thank you for leafing through.

1. Golden State Killer Suspect Arrested; Tied to Goleta Cold-Case Murders

In one of the biggest DNA “solves” in California history, a suspect has been arrested in the notorious Golden State Killer case that terrorized the state in the 1970s and ’80s. The vicious attacks included three in Goleta that left two couples dead.

On April 25, authorities announced the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, at his Citrus Heights home in suburban Sacramento. The one-time police officer and retired warehouse worker initially was booked into Sacramento County Jail on two counts of murder from a warrant out of Ventura County.

He is expected to be arraigned April 27 in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Officials initially provided few details about what led cold-case investigators to DeAngelo, but they credited “emerging DNA technology” as a crucial breakthrough in the last week. On April 26, Sacramento County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi told our Tom Bolton that detectives used genetic information obtained from an online genealogical database to make the match.

The Golden State Killer — also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker — is suspected in at least a dozen murders, 45 rapes and more than 120 residential burglaries throughout California from 1976 to 1986.

Locally, the mystery man is suspected in the brutal 1979 murders of Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and his girlfriend, Alexandria Manning, 35, in Offerman’s Avenida Pequeña condominium off Cathedral Oaks Road west of North Patterson Avenue.

He also is suspected in the 1981 murders of Cheri Domingo, 35, and her boyfriend, Gregory Sanchez, 27, at a residence on Toltec Way, a quiet cul-de-sac a few blocks west of North Patterson.

A few months before Manning and Offerman were murdered, a couple on nearby Queen Ann Lane was accosted, tied up and terrorized by a man, presumably the same suspect, but they managed to escape.

After years of sorrow and pain, Debbi Domingo has a good reason to smile. (Domingo family photo) Click to view larger
After years of sorrow and pain, Debbi Domingo has a good reason to smile. (Domingo family photo)

Santa Barbara County is expected to file its own charges against DeAngelo.

Domingo’s daughter, Debbi, talked to Tom after the arrest was announced, and you can imagine the relief she described.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” she said in a phone interview from her Texas home. “I held off being excited until I was really, really sure.”

Debbi Domingo was 15 at the time of her mother’s murder, but was staying with a friend the night of the attack.

In a lengthy 2016 interview with Tom, she told a gripping story about her tumultuous teenage years, her memories of receiving and coping with such horrific news, and how the circumstances of that period eventually drove her to turn her life around.

“The sense of relief is overwhelming and it’s wonderful,” she said April 25. “I’ve spent over two thirds of my life wondering if we would ever get answers.”

2. 1 Killed, 3 Critically Injured in Highway 1 Crash South of Lompoc

Three people were critically injured in this vehicle that left the roadway on Highway 1 after a head-on crash on Friday. One person in the other vehicle was declared dead at the scene. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo) Click to view larger
The other guy died, the three victims ended upside down and trapped with critical injuries. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A Lompoc man driving an allegedly stolen car — and suspected of driving under the influence, to boot — was killed early on April 20 when his, er, someone else’s, vehicle crossed Highway 1’s double yellow lines south of Lompoc and slammed into an oncoming sedan.

All three people in the second car were trapped in the wreckage with extensive injuries.

According to the California Highway Patrol, 34-year-old Travis John Grant was headed north just before 6 a.m. when the car he was driving crossed the line and hit a Ford Taurus head-on. The impact sent the Taurus hurtling off the road, where it landed upside down and down an embankment about 50 feet away.

After a lengthy extraction operation, the Taurus driver, 33-year-old Eduardo Rojas, and a passenger, 35-year-old Juan Rodriguez, were transported by an American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of major injuries.

The other passenger, 65-year-old Jesus Rojas, was taken to Lompoc Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries.

All three men are from Lompoc.

Grant, authorities said, was at the wheel of a car that had been reported stolen in Goleta. The CHP is investigating the collision, and said alcohol and/or drugs are believed to have been factors.

The family of Eduardo Rojas said his name actually is Eduardo Cano, and that the married father of two is facing multiple surgeries from his injuries. A GoFundMe page has been established to help with medical expenses. Click here to make an online donation.

A GoFundMe page also is going for Grant, who apparently was the father of twin sons born prematurely 10 days before he made his fateful choices. They’re in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cottage Hospital. Click here to make an online donation.

3. Woman in Distress Rescued from Ocean Off Goleta Beach

A 44-year-old woman in distress was rescued Saturday from the ocean at Goleta Beach. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo) Click to view larger
Successful fishing expedition. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Thanks to good Samaritans and emergency crews, a woman was rescued from the water off Goleta Beach early on April 21. How the fully clothed woman ended up in the ocean isn’t known.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason, firefighters and water-rescue crews were dispatched at about 8:30 a.m. to the west end of Goleta Beach.

When they arrived, he said, a stand-up paddleboarder was trying to assist the woman, who was described as “uncooperative.” A private boat also helped.

The woman eventually was brought to the Goleta pier, and then was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to Santa Barbra Cottage Hospital.

The name of the 44-year-old woman and her medical condition were not disclosed.

4. Motorcyclist Killed in Collision on Highway 1 Near Jalama Road

A motorcyclist was killed April 22 in a collision with an SUV on Highway 1 near Jalama Road south of Lompoc. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo) Click to view larger
Nightmare ending to a longtime dream. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

An Italian architect died April 22 when the motorcycle he was riding drifted into oncoming traffic and collided with an SUV on Highway 1 near Lompoc.

According to Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, 39-year-old Enrico Marafatto was riding north on a 2017 Harley-Davidson when the motorcycle crossed the double yellow lines as it rounded a curve south of Jalama Road.

The bike slammed head-on into a Ford Explorer, ejecting Marafatto.

The California Highway Patrol said the Explorer’s front-seat passenger — identified as John Curtis, 69, of Lompoc — suffered major injuries in the wreck. The driver — Darlene Curtis, 67, of Lompoc — and two teenage girls from Lompoc who were riding in the backseat, received minor injuries.

All four were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital by American Medical Response and county Fire Department ambulances.

The CHP said the collision remains under investigation, but alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors.

According to the Venezia Today newspaper, Marafatto was a well-known architect in Favaro Veneto. The married father of two sons was said to be pursuing a lifelong dream to ride a motorcycle across the United States.


5. BizHawk: Locavore to Feature Rustic California Comfort Food in Downtown Santa Barbara

Locavore restaurant is to open in June at 21 W. Victoria St. in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo) Click to view larger
The umpteenth time is the charm. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

There’s a new restaurant going in at 21 W. Victoria St. in downtown Santa Barbara. The revolving-door history of the place isn’t terribly reassuring for its future, but this time the operators aren’t putting all their eggs on one menu.

Sharon and Andrew Crawley are the latest restaurateurs to move in at the former home of The Nugget, Arlington Tavern, HobNob Tavern, Blue Shark Bistro, Epiphany and ... man, that’s only going back about 15 or 20 years. I’m having a hard time remembering the old days next to the New Vic.

Andrew Crawley, the executive chef, told our Josh Molina that the restaurant he and his wife have named The Locavore will be serving “rustic California comfort food highlighting local flavors.” The plan includes six beers on tap and 20 different bottles of beverages.

One thing that I think they’re doing differently than past tenants is to provide a full-service catering business for parties, weddings and special events.

Look for The Locavore to open in June. Good luck.

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? An Hour After 3.5 Earthquake Jolts Southern Santa Barbara County, 3.1 Quake Strikes.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Who knew? How to Download a Copy of Everything Google Knows About You.

                                                                 •        •        •

Best of Bill’s Instagram

What’s in my Instagram feed from this past week? @codyjohnsonband, in between a stay at Santa Barbara County’s coolest new retro hotel, the @skyviewlosalamos, and eating my way along Bell Street.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

I’m no expert, but I recognize an excruciatingly tedious meeting I’ve attended when I see one. HT to my longtime colleague, Dave Bemis, who was right there with me. HITYL.

(Lauris Beinerts video)

                                                                 •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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