Retired agent Julia Cowley served nearly 22 years in the FBI. Her first assignment was to the Boston Division, where she investigated white collar crime, public corruption, and civil rights matters. Julia was then selected to join the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, VA.
In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Julia reviews her detailed analysis of the then unknown subject, referred to as the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist.
Between 1976 and 1986, this individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries in California in communities from Sacramento to Orange County. As a member of the BAU, Julia joined the working group of local law enforcement agencies and FBI agents from the Sacramento Division, seeking to identify and apprehend this violent offender and create a behavioral profile to assist them in their investigation.
Thirty-two years after his last known brutal attack, Joseph James DeAngelo, a 74-year-old California man and former police officer, was identified as the serial rapist and killer and arrested.
On June 29, 2020, as part of a plea bargain that spared him from the death penalty, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder and kidnapping.
Julia’s time in the BAU was followed by her selection to the FBI Laboratory, Evidence Response Team Unit. She later returned to the Boston Division, Springfield Resident Agency, where she oversaw all federal criminal investigations in western Massachusetts, including public corruption, civil rights, white collar crime, organized crime, gangs and crimes against children until her retirement.
Currently, Julia is an investigator in the Equal Opportunity office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the host of The Consult, a true crime podcast where she and former BAU colleagues examine behavior exhibited before, during, and after the of a criminal act.
Special Agent (Retired)
June 1999 – May 2021
“I felt they were going to solve this case someday because they had his DNA. Being a former forensic scientist, I always knew it would be the technology that solved this case, not the behavior.”—Retired Agent Julia Cowly
The following are links to FBI and news articles about the multi-agency investigation that led to the identification and arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist:
FBI Website – June 15, 2016: Cold Case Killer – Help Us Catch the East Area Rapist
Los Angeles Magazine – 2/272013: In the Footsteps of a Killer, By Michelle McNamara
ABC News – 10/30/2020: The ‘Golden State Killer’: Inside the timeline of crimes
Washington Post – 4/26/2018: ‘We found the needle in the haystack’: Golden State Killer suspect arrested after sudden DNA match
Here’s a list of more FBI Retired Case File Review episodes with former BAU profilers and retired agents reviewing serial murder investigations.