‘You did it, Michelle’: Patton Oswalt praises late wife for work on Golden State Killer
Two years ago, almost to the day, crime writer Michelle McNamara was found dead in her Los Angeles home.
She left behind not just a husband — comedian Patton Oswalt — and a seven-year-old daughter, but a half-finished book on the Golden State Killer, who terrorised Californians in the 1970s and 80s.
Through his grief, Oswalt collaborated with journalists Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes to finish the five-year-old project.
It was released as I'll Be Gone In The Dark in February.
Overnight, at an event in Illinois to promote the book, Oswalt suggested the Golden State Killer would be caught soon.
"He's running out of time," he told the audience.
How prescient that turned out to be.
Within hours, police in the United States announced the arrest of a 72-year-old former police officer in connection with the killings, and Oswalt praised his late wife for her persistence.
"You did it, Michelle," Oswalt later told his 137,000 Instagram followers.
"Even though the cops are never going to say it, but your book helped get this thing closed."
The suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, who was fired from the Auburn Police Department, was arrested after a DNA sample came back as a match to the Golden State Killer, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
He has been linked to a total of more than 175 crimes between 1976 and 1986.
Officials said Mr DeAngelo had been arrested on suspicion of committing four killings in Sacramento and Ventura counties and charged with two counts of murder in the Ventura case.
Author struggled under weight of investigation
"Michelle put a great big spotlight on him," Oswalt said of the killer, adding on Twitter that McNamara did not care about getting accolades for her work.
"She cared about the Golden State Killer being behind bars and the victims getting some relief."
The police said the book did generate renewed interest from the public in the case, but that it didn't directly lead to the arrest.
But Oswalt said the fact that, in a press conference announcing the arrest, Californian authorities used the phrase Golden State Killer — coined by McNamara in the book — was proof of the impact of her work.
In an interview earlier this year, Oswalt said the research for the book consumed McNamara.
The prescription medication she was taking for the stress and anxiety likely contributed to her death at 46, he said.
On Twitter, the comedian appeared to find solace in the similarities between the end of the book — which includes an imagined scene of the killer's arrest — and how authorities actually came to detain Mr DeAngelo.
Oswalt also said he would like to meet with the suspect to get answers to questions his wife could not get.