WEST TEXAS (KWES) - For 40 years, Debbi Domingo asked many questions after the brutal murder of her mother Cheri Domingo and her mother's boyfriend Greg Sanchez.
"I spent 20 years accepting this unknown and I've only allowed myself to have the hope for 15, 16, 17 years," said Domingo.
Cheri and Sanchez were both brutally murdered in their home 1981 in Santa Barbara County, California.
"My life took ugly turns," said Domingo. "I suffered depression for a long time. I lost several years to drug abuse. I was hopeless for a long time."
With dead ends and no major leads, the case turned cold. But 20 years later, the case re-opened. And the question of who one man in a 40-year-old composite sketch is finally answered.
"He's been called the 'East Side Rapist,' 'the Ransacker,' the 'Original Night Stalker' and the 'Golden State Killer,'" said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "Today, it's our pleasure to call him 'Defendant.'"
Joseph James Deangelo, 72, is who authorities said is the suspected killer in the Golden State Killer murders and rapes. It was an investigation that would've lingered for many more years if it weren't for the DNA evidence.
"I got a phone call close to midnight someone in the investigation and they said we've got him and I just couldn't believe it," said Domingo. "My first question was 'Is he alive?' They said, 'Yes, we have the DNA match and he's in custody.' For me, that's just overwhelming."
Investigators found Deangelo through stored DNA and arrested him at his home this week. He was charged with eight counts of murder and could face more charges according to authorities.
For Debbi, it's more than a sense of relief. It's closure now that this case will bring justice for Cheri, for Greg and the more than 50 victims. Because no matter how old he is, no matter how many years it's been or how many murders and rapes he stopped committing, a crime is a crime. It could be the last time Deangelo will ever see the light of day.
"He deserves everything he has coming," said Domingo. "He tortured way too many people and stole way too many innocent lives out of this world. It's time for him to pay."
Michelle McNamara, the author of I'll Be Gone in the Dark, wrote about the case and her effort to find who the Golden State Killer was. Domingo said she and McNamara were good friends before McNamara passed away. McNamara mentions Debbi and Cheri in the book. You can find it here on Amazon.