ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley recounted her personal experience with the Golden State Killer investigation that started when she was a college student to her current involvement.
"I was actually there. I lived through this," said O'Malley as she shared her perspective and analysis with KTVU.
She is a member of the special task force formed two years ago with the specific mission to find the killer.
The focus was to use dna to identify the serial rapist without knowing if that person was dead or alive.
O'Malley said on Tuesday, she got the call that a suspect had been arrested after four decades.
"I just yelled, "Oh my god!' And in my mind, I said, 'Please tell me he's not a cop,'" said O'Malley.
Suspect Joseph DeAngelo is a former police officer.
Authorities suspect he could be responsible for dozens of rapes, including one in O'Malley's jurisdiction: Alameda County.
That crime took place at a home in Fremont in 1979.
A man raped a woman at gunpoint while her partner was in another room
The victim has since moved out state. But one neighbor told KTVU she remembers a chilling detail.
She said that the rapist was lying in wait in the victim's attic.
"Candy wrappers, soda cans...that he has been there waiting. That's the scary part," said Betty Franco who lives just steps from the victim's home.
The 85-year-old said what happened shattered the neighborhood's sense of security.
"Everybody was saying be careful. Keep your doors locked," said Franco.
But O'Malley says this case and the other rape cases cannot be prosecuted despite DNA evidence.
"At that time, the statute of limitations was only three years. You have to file charges within three years of it happening. Of course, nobody knew who he was," said O'Malley.
It was only last year that a state law took effect removing the statute of limitations for rape cases.
O'Malley said her involvement with the Golden State Killer case began in 1978 when the perpetrator was known as the East Area Rapist.
She was a college student in her 20s and a volunteer with the Contra Costa County Rape Crisis Center.
She says she took calls from victims and even accompanied one to the hospital.
Although the rape cases likely won't be prosecuted, she thinks the judge in the murder cases will allow rape victims to speak up during the sentencing hearing.
"When survivors want to speak at the sentencing, they really want to say this is what you did to me and not just to me, but my family," said O'Malley.
O'Malley said all the prosecutors from the different jurisdictions will meet to decide which county will put the suspect on trial first.
She thought maybe Orange County since it leans conservative and may go for the death penalty.