Patton Oswalt is speaking out in the stunning arrest in the Golden State Killer case—and his late wife Michelle McNamara’s interest in it. The comedian, known for work on The King Of Queens, Ratatouille, The Goldbergs and more, believes McNamara’s work as a true crime writer and her dedication to the 1970s case may have helped lead to the arrest of 72-year-old suspect Joseph James DeAngelo. DeAngelo, a former police officer, is being held on suspicion of four counts of murder, according to Yahoo.
Michelle McNamara passed away suddenly in April 2016. At the time of her death, she was working on her book about the Golden State Killer investigation and documenting some of her findings on her website True Crime Diary. In the book, in a haunting passage titled “Letter to an Old Man,” McNamara addresses the killer directly under the assumption that he would someday be found.
McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, was released in February, two years after her death, after Oswalt helped finish it with the help of lead case researcher Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen. I’ll be Gone in the Dark traces the Golden State Killer, who is suspected of at least a dozen of murders and more than 45 rapes that took place across California between 1979 and 1986.
During a press conference about the case, police credited DNA evidence and the public’s interest in the case for the arrest, but they stopped short of naming Michelle McNamara’s book. According to Yahoo Entertainment, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said Michelle McNamara’s book had no bearing on the investigation that led to DeAngelo’s arrest. Jones told reporters:
“I’m glad you asked that question, because it’s a question we’ve gotten from literally all over the world in the last 24 hours, and the answer is no, other than the fact that it, like the media, kept this in the public eye, kept public interest. It kept interest and tips coming in. Other than that, there was no information extracted from that book that directly led to the apprehension.”
But Patton Oswalt is not having it. Oswalt took to social media to credit Michelle McNamara for helping to find justice in the case two years after her death. Patton posted a series of tweets in which he revealed that Michelle, who had made it her mission to help solve the case, would have never looked for credit and that she just wanted the killer behind bars. Oswalt added that police have never credited a writer for helping to solve a case, but he added that in this case they gave Michelle credit every time they used her coined term, “Golden State Killer.” You can see Patton Oswalt’s passionate tweets below.
It did, but #MichelleMcNamaradidn’t care about getting any shine on herself. She cared about the #GoldenStateKiller being behind bars and the victims getting some relief. She was Marge Gunderson in FARGO, not Chilton in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. https://t.co/krMOWaWh9m— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 25, 2018
Also, the cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case. But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark.— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 25, 2018
In addition to Oswalt, several celebrity friends, including actors Rob Lowe and Emmy Rossum, credited Michelle McNamara’s book for reviving interest in the 40-year-old case.
It appears police have caught the Golden State Killer. Go get Michelle McNamara's excellent book about the case, I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 25, 2018
It is heartbreaking that Michelle McNamara did not live to see her lifelong pursuit bear fruit. Congratulations to @pattonoswalt for completing her work and staying vigilant in a cause to which she devoted so much of her life. #GoldenStateKiller https://t.co/GB3TiDiKMT— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 25, 2018
During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers just hours after DeAngelo’s arrest, Patton Oswalt celebrated Michelle McNamara’s legacy, saying her book “really amped up all of the interest in the case and really put a lot of focus on this.”
“It was her dream,” Patton said, according to the Daily Beast. “She always said, ‘I don’t care about credit, I want to know that he’s in jail.’ And now he’s caught, the bracelets are on, and it feels like this thing that she wanted so badly is now done. It’s just amazing.”
Patton Oswalt also recalled that he wanted to help finish Michelle’s book because he knew that he wouldn’t “be able to live and go on with life if this was left undone.”
“And now, you know, because he’s been caught, now they can start linking him to all these other cases. There’s all of this new evidence. I mean, it’s amazing,” Oswalt told Meyers. “This is the beginning of the whole other chapter of this, of this saga—this insane crime saga.”