Police Say Michelle McNamara's Work Didn't Help Catch Suspected Killer; Patton Oswalt Disagrees
"The cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case," the actor wrote.
Patton Oswalt was quick to respond on Wednesday when authorities said his late wife's work chronicling the Golden State Killer did not help with the apprehension of a suspect.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested on a warrant from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and booked on two counts of murder. He is the suspected serial killer and rapist who terrorized Northern California for two decades in the '70s and '80s.
True-crime journalist Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016, was dedicated to solving the case and wrote I'll Be Gone in the Dark, a book all about her search for the elusive criminal. "Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was," the book's description reads.
During a press conference about the arrest on Wednesday, authorities were asked whether McNamara's work, which renewed interest in the case, helped at all in leading to DeAngelo's arrest. Their response: No.
Fans and supporters of McNamara shared their frustration about the answer with Oswalt on social media. The actor and comedian said his late wife's work certainly did help.
"It did," Oswalt wrote on Twitter, "but #MichelleMcNamara didn't care about getting any shine on herself. She cared about the #GoldenStateKiller being behind bars and the victims getting some relief. She was Marge Gunderson in Fargo, not Chilton in Silence of the Lambs."
In a 2013 Reddit "Ask Me Anything" interview, McNamara was asked what she would do if the killer ever contacted her for an interview or information for her book, but on the condition of anonymity. "I would turn him over to the police. Justice is more important than a good quote in this case," she responded.
Oswalt on Wednesday said he was not surprised his late wife was being denied some credit from authorities.
"Also, the cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case," he wrote. "But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark."
McNamara's book was completed after her death with the help of Oswalt. It was published in February.
Oswalt's initial reaction to the news of an arrest was "I think you got him, Michelle."