'I'll Be Gone in the Dark': Did Michelle McNamara Find Golden State Killer?

I'll Be Gone in the Dark is now airing on HBO, and is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Michelle McNamara, which was assembled by the writer's husband Patton Oswalt, researcher Paul Haynes and true crime writer Billy Jensen after McNamara's death in 2016. The book was about the writer's obsession with the Golden State Killer, and in 2018 a suspect was arrested who is believed to have committed a dozen murders and over 45 rapes in the 1970s and '80s.

In April of that year, two months after I'll Be Gone in the Dark was published, police arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, who is expected to plead guilty in a court hearing scheduled for June 29, 2020.

According to ABC News, police said that though McNamara's book did lead to renewed interest in the case, it did not lead directly to the arrest of DeAngelo. However, Oswalt has written on Twitter that he disagrees with this.

It did, but #MichelleMcNamaradidn’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. https://t.co/krMOWaWh9m

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 25, 2018

The answer to this headline’s question is “Yes.” #MichelleMcNamara #IllBeGoneInTheDark #GoldenStateKiller https://t.co/VSON0S8xVh

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 25, 2018

Also, the cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case. But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark.

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 25, 2018

Asked by a fan whether her booked helped to catch the Golden State Killer, Oswalt wrote: "It did, 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."

Posting an article with the title "She wrote the book on the Golden State Killer before dying. Did she just help catch him?" the comedian tweeted: "The answer to this headline's question is 'Yes.'"

In another tweet, he pointed out that the fact that the police used the phrase "Golden State Killer," which McNamara coined, suggested that I'll be Gone in the Dark had been influential in the case. He wrote: "The cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case. But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark."

Though Oswalt believes that his wife was crucial in the hunt for the Golden State Killer, the book is mostly about the impact that the killings had. Oswalt told Time: "She said, as soon as there's a face on this person, it's just a loser. Once you see that pasty, old horrible dude, it's not even interesting in some ways. It's the powerful absence that's so haunting."

The book and the HBO documentary also are about the impact the search for the killer had on McNamara's own life. To deal with the anxiety the case caused her, McNamara took prescription drugs, an accidental overdose of which lead to her death.

Speaking to Yahoo!, I'll Be Gone in the Dark director Liz Garbus said: "Michelle took on an enormous amount. She was being asked to reflect on herself and her own journey, and she also felt a huge responsibility to find this guy. There's always this feeling, like, 'I can get through it, I can get through it,' but you can't just bury everything and cope."

I'll Be Gone in the Dark airs on Sundays on HBO.