Patton Oswalt congratulates late wife Michelle McNamara as suspected Golden State Killer is arrested — even if sheriff won't (updated)

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After Patton Oswalt’s wife, writer Michelle McNamara, died in her sleep in 2016, he spent the better part of two years helping to finish her final book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The book, which has been on the New York Times bestsellers list since it was released in February, traced the so-called Golden State Killer, who is suspected of 12 killings, 45 rapes, and dozens of home burglaries between 1976 and 1986.

On Wednesday, officials from Northern and Southern California announced that they had arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, and that he’s being held on suspicion on at least four counts of murder. They noted the usefulness of both DNA evidence and the public’s unrelenting interest in the case for helping them to solve it.

Oswalt didn’t hold back his excitement, even before the scheduled news conference to make the announcement. “I think you got him, Michelle,” he said proudly on Twitter.

During that press conference, a reporter asked Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones whether McNamara’s book had affected the case. Jones said it had not.

“I’m glad you asked that question, because it’s a question we’ve gotten from literally all over the world in the last 24 hours,” Jones said, “and the answer is no, other than the fact that it, like the media, kept this in the public eye, kept public interest. It kept interest and tips coming in. Other than that, there was no information extracted from that book that directly led to the apprehension.”

Oswalt, who live-tweeted the news conference, was quick to comment.

Oswalt married McNamara in 2005, and their daughter, Alice, was born four years later. McNamara, who had worked on her book throughout their marriage, died on April 21, 2016, of what was determined to be a previously unknown condition and a combination of prescription drugs. She was 46.

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara make an appearance on Nov. 5, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for LACMA)
Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara make an appearance on Nov. 5, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for LACMA)

The comedian was open about his grief following the death — in his posts on social media, in interviews, and in his standup appearances.

More than a year after McNamara’s death, in October 2017, Oswalt told Vulture that he was coming to terms with what had happened. He was married again, to actress Meredith Salenger, in November.

“I’m waking up every day and living,” he said. “It’s hard to describe it as ‘healing.’ It’s more like you’re evolving. You know, you never truly heal. But you do evolve into someone different, someone who can still live life and experience joy.”

Fans of the book Oswalt helped to complete lauded him and McNamara after reports about the arrest in the high-profile case broke.

At the end of his thread of tweets about the twist in the final story McNamara documented, Oswalt wrote sweet words to his new wife.

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