The ski-masked face tormented Larry Crompton for decades.
It started with a string of sexual assaults that plagued Contra Costa County, California, where Crompton worked as a sheriff's deputy and sergeant.
First labeled the East Area Rapist, the attacker became known as the Golden State Killer and the Original Night Stalker as rapes escalated to murder. The case eventually became linked to 12 murders, 51 rapes and hundreds of burglaries throughout California from 1974 to 1986.
But it was that unrecognizable, sketched face that kept Crompton hunting for answers, even after he retired from law enforcement and settled down in Salem.
Then on Tuesday, more than 40 years after the reign of terror began, the suspected serial killer was unmasked.
Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old ex-cop and Navy veteran, was arrested outside his Citrus Heights home 20 miles northwest of Sacramento and charged with eight murders.
Suddenly his mugshot was everywhere.
Crompton almost couldn't believe it.
After years of poring over police reports, tracking down leads and even authoring a 479-page book on the crime spree, the suspected serial killer was now behind bars.
Crompton called a retired detective he worked with on the East Area Rapist task force to see what he knew. It was true, he said. They had the DNA evidence to prove it.
"It took 42 years, and he finally got caught," Crompton said.
Hunting the Golden State Killer
Four decades ago, Crompton was working in the crime lab of the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office when he was asked to meet with investigators from neighboring Sacramento County.
News didn't travel as fast back in those days, and law enforcement agencies were terrible about sharing information, Crompton said. By the time he learned of the attacks, there already had been 37 rapes.
Sacramento investigators outlined what they knew: The attacker always wore a mask, gloves and threatened to kill his victims. They dubbed the man the East Area Rapist.
"We think he's coming to your area," the investigators warned them. "You had better be ready for him."
By 1978, the serial rapist had arrived in Contra Costa County. They weren't ready, Crompton said.
The attacks occurred a few time times a month, sometimes even weekly.
Crompton, now promoted to sergeant and placed on a task force to hunt the serial rapist, watched as the brutal details piled up.
Husbands would be tied up and forced to listen to their wives being attacked. The rapist stacked dishes on their backs, telling the husband if he heard the dishes rattle, he would kill his wife.
A 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in her home. Women woke up to a flashlight shining in their faces, a stranger in their bedrooms. The attacker always promised to kill his victims. Sometimes he would call his victims years later and remind them of that promise.
Crompton said the attacker wanted to instill terror in his victims. He succeeded. The community grew fearful. Families planned escape routes. Gun sales skyrocketed, especially among women.
Some victims divorced. Others began drinking. One woman was so traumatized she couldn't return home, not even to collect her belongings.
"He was the most terrorizing rapist in California history," Crompton said.
He took police reports to a psychiatrist, who reviewed the information with convicted rapists at a nearby prison. A week later, she told him: "You had better catch him. ... He is going to kill, and he wants to kill."
The attacker wanted "justification" for killing, the psychiatrist said, and it was only time before he found it.
Crompton chased potential suspects doggedly, even having one threaten to file a restraining order against him. He and his partner, thinking the attacker might have a criminal history, eliminated all but 34 people on a list of more than 9,000 parolees.
During the last Contra Costa incident, the couple involved had planned an escape route. When the husband awoke to find a man in his bedroom pulling on a mask, he shouted and yelled, giving his wife time to escape. In the commotion, the husband was also able to flee the home.
Crompton said he believes this foiled attack provided DeAngelo with justification. After that, he wasn't going to let anyone escape.
By 1979, the rapes ended in Contra Costa County.
The task force disbanded, but Crompton couldn't let go of the case.
He stayed in contact with victims and kept tabs on similar attacks. When he heard rumors of a serial killer in Southern California with similar crime scenes, he and another investigator tried to warn authorities. The killer would tie up couples, sexually assault the woman and either shoot or beat his victims to death.
"It is our man," Crompton remembered saying. "No doubt about it. But nobody would believe us."
He was told to forget it.
"What did I miss?"
Crompton didn't forget it.
The attacks mysteriously stopped in 1986 after the rape and murder of 18-year-old Janelle Cruz in Irvine, California.
Crompton retired from the sheriff's office in 1998 and moved to Oregon, first to a home outside Scio then to South Salem.
The unsolved case haunted him.
"All those years, I couldn't put it away," he said. "It was my job to catch him, and I didn't. I would wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning and wonder: What did I do wrong? What did I miss?"
In 2000, a criminalist from Contra Costa County called Crompton to get victim information. He told him of his suspicions: That the East Area Rapist was also behind five homicides in Southern California.
The criminalist called him back seven months later and said, "No, they didn't have five homicides. They had 10."
Once he'd confirmed the connection to the murders, Crompton published his book "Sudden Terror," detailing the decade of fear instilled by the man he dubbed "California's most infamous sexual predator."
The self-published book garnered some attention, including from true crime journalist Michelle McNamara. Before her death in 2016, McNamara interviewed Crompton for an LA Weekly article about the Golden State Killer. Her book on the same subject was released posthumously earlier this year.
Crompton appeared on a handful of television shows about the attacks. He said his goal was to keep the cold case in the news. Maybe it could generate a new lead. Maybe a new suspect would surface.
"I didn't do it for the money," he said, adding that he gets about 90 cents per book sold. "I did it to get it out there."
Genealogy website helps break the case
Using DNA recovered from the scene of one of the attacks, investigators began combing genealogy websites to track down possible relatives of the Golden State Killer.
The search even led them to Oregon, where investigators mistakenly identified a Clackamas County man as a potential suspect. They convinced a judge to order the 73-year-old man to provide a DNA sample in 2017.
They later turned their attentions to DeAngelo, conducting surveillance on him and collecting DNA from discarded items. On Wednesday, investigators made their announcement: They had found the Golden State Killer.
Sitting at his kitchen table Friday, Crompton sorted through old photos and timelines. He joked about his wife being fed up with his years obsessing over the case.
Crompton said the case could serve as important lesson. It was solved when people from different agencies worked together, he said. Communication among law enforcement is vital to connecting the dots and catching serial offenders.
Crompton also hopes DeAngelo will talk to investigators.
He knows he would have a few questions for the suspected serial killer.
What did police miss? Why did he switch from rape to murder? How did he pick his victims and plan the attacks? Why did he stop?
The night he found out about the arrest, Crompton couldn't sleep.
"The first thing I could think about was the families," he said. "They can now put it to rest."
He called one of the victims to break the news. They were overcome with joy and relief.
"We're so happy it's over," he said.
For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at email@example.com, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth