The attacks on sleeping women - and sometimes their partners - in middle and upper-middle-class subdivisions east of the state Capitol shattered the security of an area where people didn't lock their doors and children rode bicycles to school and played outside until dark.
USA detectives analyzed DNA to capture the former policeman alleged to be the notorious "Golden State Killer" - but it was a book that sparked renewed interest in the murders.
McNamara dedicated her life to the case of the Golden State Killer - a name that she herself coined.
Mary Rita Skrine, 53, a co-owner of Skrine Chops, 7230 Madison St., Forest Park, and the older sister of McNamara, was at the April 24 book event in Naperville with Oswalt and other family members when DeAngelo was being arrested. DeAngelo was arrested Tuesday and charged with six counts of murder in the more than 30-year cold case, authorities said.
"There's exhilaration, and I don't feel it now, but I can sense that tomorrow or the next day there's going to be a huge drop in serotonin and happiness when I realize she really isn't here", Mr. Oswalt said in an interview.
"It's never defined who I was or who I am today", she said. Investigators said they matched DNA from one of the crime scenes to the suspect's relative on the site.
- By Associated Press writer Gillian Flaccus in Oregon City, Oregon. DeAngelo's arrest, he said, will "bring closure to the anguish that we all suffered for the last 40-odd years".
The FBI said DNA as well as "patterns used in the crimes", led them to believe the same suspect committed "45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries" throughout the state.
Then: on Tuesday, April 24, nearly four decades after the Golden State Killer began his crime spree, two years after McNamara's death, and less than two months after the publication of I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Joseph James DeAngelo was quietly arrested at his home in Citrus Heights, California in relation to the case.
News that police had arrested a suspect in the decades-old "East Area Rapist" case gave Betsy Reamer a nightmare about the time in 1979 when she thinks she may have seen him. She died two years ago.
McNamara built such positive relationships with law enforcement officers that several of them attended her funeral in 2016 and "talked about her in a lovely way", Skrine said.
By sheer coincidence, the trio gathered in IL on Tuesday night to celebrate the book, just hours before DeAngelo was taken into custody.
"To see this book come out and have people see the lovely writer that she was, was just incredible", Skrine said. He is accused of being the man who killed 12 people and raped more than 50 women in the 1970s and 1980s. And it took another 18 years before DeAngelo was linked to the crimes.
Patton Oswalt disagrees. He said so on Twitter and also during his previously scheduled appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Authorities say DeAngelo is the man once dubbed the East Area Rapist for some four dozen sexual assaults in the suburbs east of Sacramento.
Initially, police didn't suspect a serial killer.
"She cared about the Golden State Killer being behind bars and the victims getting some relief".