Golden State Killer suspect's arrest brings hope to families and detectives in other cold cases

The arrest of the Golden State Killer suspect near Sacramento for crimes committed four decades ago, has given new hope to other victims' families and investigators still searching for answers in their own cold cases.

For those families, news of the suspect, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, was more than a headline. It struck straight at their hearts, thinking of the victims.

"We can share the feeling. We've been through that and we know how painful it is," said John Lin, who in 1994 found his teenage daughter Jenny Lin stabbed to death inside their Castro Valley home. Now, decades later, her killer still hasn't been found. 

"Just looking at this 40 year old case that can be solved, it gives us hope," Lin said. 

But hope can be hard for victims' families who often face daily heartbreak, with no answers. It is also difficult for detectives who devote years, even entire careers, trying to solve cases.

"It's emotionally draining because most people who do these kinds of cases do them, not to get the stat," said Russell Lopes, a former Berkeley Police Department Lieutenant who spent years working cold cases and training homicide detectives.

"It's difficult for the family and it's difficult for you because in my experience in working cold cases, is you live it. You live it for years. And that's where you put the vast majority of your efforts," said Lopes, "you pray that you can bring satisfaction." 

Some families, such as Mike and Maddie Misheloff in Dublin, say Tuesday's arrest also reminds them that advances in DNA analysis can help find answers. Their daughter Ilene disappeared 29 years ago. Her DNA is now registered with the FBI's database.

"Never give up hope," said Mike Misheloff.

"What they can do with it now, to identify, unidentified bodies, perpetrators, felons, killers, rapists, is amazing," said Maddie Misheloff.

Each cold case arrest serves as a reminder to families of victims still waiting for a break in their cases, that they must never give up hope.

"Hoping that someday justice will be there for Jenny," said Mei-Lian Lin, Jenny's mother, "And we keep on praying."

Both the Lins and the Misheloffs hold annual events to keep their daughters' faces in the public eye. 

They and other families still suffering, know that sometimes just one person's tip can make all the difference. 
 

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