To make sure they had the right man, investigators quietly approached Mr. DeAngelo's auto in a Hobby Lobby parking lot in Roseville, Calif., on April 18, and swabbed the door handle to collect a sample of his DNA, according to an arrest warrant.
A heavily redacted search warrant, arrest warrant and accompanying affidavits issued in connection with the case were released Friday upon the request of several news organizations.
Investigators linked DeAngelo to the killings by plugging DNA collected from a semen sample at one of the crime scenes into a genealogical website.
The secret collection occurred in April in a public parking lot in Roseville, just outside Sacramento.
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After identifying DeAngelo as a suspect, investigators followed him to a store in April and took a swab from the handle of a door he used.
The 123 pages of documents released Friday show that detectives lifted traces of DNA from DeAngelo's vehicle door while he shopped at a California Hobby Lobby in April, allowing them to match the genetic material with semen gathered from an old crime scene, the Los Angeles Times reports. The documents detail how detectives watched the suspect's home in Citrus Heights, Calif., for three days. A piece of tissue plucked from the trash gave them the DNA they were looking for, according to the document. Robert Offerman, 44, and Debra Alexandria Manning, 35, who were killed December 30, 1979, in their condo on Avenida Pequeña just west of North Patterson Avenue south of Cathedral Oaks Road; and Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, who were killed on July 27, 1981, in a residence on Toltec Way, less than a half-mile away. By then, authorities already considered Joseph DeAngelo a suspect. They managed to escape.
He also is charged with murders in Ventura and Orange counties.