Comedian Patton Oswalt is crediting his late wife for her work in pursuit of the so-called Golden State Killer.
In an Instagram video on Wednesday, Oswalt says: “You did it, Michelle.”
Michelle McNamara had made it her mission to find the person responsible for at least 12 murders and 50 rapes throughout California in the 1970s and 80s.
McNamara died in her sleep at the age of 46 in April 2016 before she could finish the book she was writing about the case.
Oswalt helped finish the book and it became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.
On Wednesday, authorities said a DNA match led them to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, as a suspect.
Police say the book had no information that “directly led to the apprehension.”
McNamara, who published the website True Crime Diary, was long fascinated by the unsolved case, dubbed the suspect the “Golden State Killer” and investigated it on her own.
“The displeased felt that (nickname) sounded too glamorous, like he was a Hollywood star. But as my research takes me across California the more I feel the moniker, with its jarring juxtaposition, is apt,” she wrote in a 2014 post.
When California authorities on Wednesday announced that DeAngelo was in custody, McNamara’s fans were quick to link his arrest to the release of McNamara’s book, which renewed interest in the case.
Since news of DeAngelo’s arrest Oswalt has been especially active on Twitter, where he remembered the countless hours his former wife dedicated to the case.
“I hope you got him, Michelle. I hope THEY got him. #IllBeGoneInTheDark #MichelleMcNamara #stepintothelight,” reads one of his many tweets.
Oswalt also pointed out the irony that the arrest happened on DNA Day — the US holiday celebrating advancements in DNA research — since McNamara firmly believed DNA evidence would play a key role in uncovering the killer’s identity.
As it turns out, she may have been right. DeAngelo was arrested after police matched discarded DNA evidence from his Sacramento area home with genetic evidence from the crimes, Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said.
Readers of her book praised McNamara’s legacy and her role in helping victims of these decades-old crimes possibly find peace.
“#MichelleMcNamara you are a true hero. I hope you are looking down and smiling. #IllBeGoneInTheDark,” wrote one reader.
Many posted screenshots of an excerpt from the book in which McNamara addresses the killer directly, assuring him that he would be found.
The excerpt ends like this:
“This is how it ends for you.
‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,’ you threatened a victim once.
Open the door. Show us your face.
Walk into the light.”
Now McNamara’s family, friends and fans are rejoicing at the thought that partly thanks to her, a killer may no longer be able to hide in the dark. Oswalt appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Wednesday night to discuss DeAngelo’s arrest and his former wife’s investigation.