Cold-case expert Paul Holes, who played a key role in identifying Joseph James DeAngelo, better known as the “Golden State Killer,” said there could be as many as 2,000 bloodthirsty serial killers living in the United States.
“I saw statistics that about two thousand serial killers are operating in the United States today,” Holes wrote in his new book. Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases, The Young York Post reported.
holes, which Los Angeles Magazine notes served as chief forensic in Contra Costa County, California, told the Publish that the number is “realistic”, although it is an approximation.
Holes explained that serial killers tend to prey on those on the fringes of society, including homeless individuals, drug addicts and prostitutes. The former forensic chief said killers target these people, considering they often lose communication with family, who may be used to them disappearing for long periods.
“Often these predators are preying on people whose lives have dropped, so when they disappear, no one is really paying attention,” he told the Post. “Killers are hiding behind the opiate crisis.”
Holes went on to detail that killers use the crisis as camouflage, as less violence is needed to strangle someone with opiates as opposed to a sober victim. Pathologists may attribute the cause of death to drug use, notnot notice a small bruise on the victim’s neck, or another subtle indicator that crime was involved due to the use of less violence, Holes said.
He referenced Samuel Little, a serial killer who admitted to strangling 93 women over four decades, according to the paper. Publish. Little would require their victims to swallow while suffocating them, which overwhelms the physical evidence of their bodies and made investigative efforts more difficult for experts, Holes explained.
The former head of forensics went on to chronicle the differences in how serial killers operate today compared to four to five decades ago.
Holes explained that while in the 1970s a predator might have forced entry into someone’s home to commit a murder or target a hitchhiker, surveillance systems and other public safety efforts deterred them from such blatant murders. Instead, they try to meet individuals, such as prostitutes, online and catch them on their own.
Holes used “genetic genealogy” and DNA mapping to help identify DeAngelo as the “Golden State Killer,” leading to his arrest in 2018, according to the paper. Publish and LA Magazine. DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges in June 2020 and was sentenced to life without parole in August 2020, NPR reported.