Police have identified 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, as the suspected East Area Rapist. A serial killer who committed at at least 12 homicides, 45 rapes and dozens of burglaries across the state in the 1970s and 1980s.

Related: Golden State Killer: Ex-cop Joseph James DeAngelo arrested as suspect in serial murder-rapes

DeAngelo was identified through DNA connected to the two-decade old killings in Sacramento County.

The announcement came on April 25, also known as National DNA Day.

Related: How Michelle McNamara's book renewed interest in the Golden State Killer: Review

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the national holiday started 15 years ago and was created to celebrate the successful competition of the Human Genome Project, which was the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said during a press conference "the answer was always going to be in the DNA," and the connection came in the slayings of Brian and Katie Maggiore. The two were killed while walking their dog in a neighborhood near their LaVerta Court apartment on February 2, 1978.

Follow WFMY News 2 on Facebook and Twitter

► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WFMY News 2 App: Apple Users, Android Users