Paul Holes was always rushing to murder scenes, hundreds of them in the 27 years he worked as a criminalist and crime lab chief for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department. He looked for blood, bullets and other fragments of evidence from drug-fueled homicides in Richmond, the house-of-horrors property of Jaycee Dugard’s kidnappers and the remains of Laci and Connor Peterson after they washed up on the East Bay shore.

But Holes’ attention was always drawn back to the cold cases, the scores of unsolved Bay Area rapes and murders of girls and women in the 1970s. Those cases figure heavily in his new memoir, “Unmasked” (Celadon Books, $29), which paints a dark portrait of the Bay Area suburbs in that tumultuous decade, when Joseph DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer, and at least five other notorious serial predators turned the upscale towns and burgeoning middle-class neighborhoods east of the Caldecott Tunnel into their hunting grounds.

“Unmasked” by Paul Holes 

“That’s part of what pulled me in. There was this pattern of what was going on in the late 1960s and 1970s that just fascinated me,” Holes said during an interview. “You have cases in towns like Moraga, Orinda, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, in Danville and San Ramon – low-crime areas. You have all these women and young girls being targeted in these sexually motivated crimes. I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’”

Even though Holes retired from the sheriff’s department and moved to Colorado in 2018, he maintains a database of 690 sexually-motivated attacks that occurred in Contra Costa during that time period. “The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession,” he said.

Holes’ departure from law enforcement coincided with the big break in the case that made him a true-crime celebrity. In April 2018, authorities identified former Auburn police officer DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer, who was linked to at least 13 murders and 50 rapes throughout California, including in San Jose and the East Bay, from 1974 to 1986.

Holes began searching for the man who came to be known as “GSK” soon after joining the sheriff’s department in 1990, working with other investigators to find DNA links between the Contra Costa crimes and homicides in Southern California. As leads grew cold, he and other investigators employed a new technique — genetic genealogy — to finally locate DeAngelo, a father of three living a quiet life in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Paul Holes and the dark side of Bay Area suburbia

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