Every body has a story.
Every body has a story.
April 14, 1970—April 21, 2016
Michelle Eileen McNamara was born in Chicago-adjacent Oak Park, Illinois, on April 14, 1970. She and her five siblings were raised in a traditional Irish Catholic household. She spent the first half of her life earning an education, including an MFA from the University of Minnesota, and most of the second half of her life utilizing all that knowledge to research and write about unsolved crimes.
McNamara originally planned to write scripts for a living, so after graduation she moved to Hollywood. Once there, she quickly abandoned that dream in order to follow her heart, writing true crime articles, mostly about unsolved cases. Her fascination with true life murder mysteries started in 1984, she believed, when a young woman was murdered less than two blocks from McNamara’s home.
McNamara married actor/comedian Patton Oswalt in 2005, started her own website, True Crime Diary, in 2006, and had a baby, Alice, in 2009. It was around the time of Alice’a birth that McNamara started reading about the Original Night Stalker, and, by her own admission, became obsessed with the subject. She made it one of her main missions in life to uncover his identity. When evidence led the police to determine that the Original Night Stalker and another prolific criminal, the East Area Rapist, were one and the same bad guy, McNamara dubbed him the more-inclusive Golden State Killer. The moniker stuck.
After spending countless hours researching and writing articles about the topic, McNamara signed a contract with Harper Collins to write a book about the case.
Sadly, McNamara’s immersion in the horrific details of the case took its toll. She developed problems with anxiety and insomnia and was prescribed drugs to combat both conditions. On April 21, 2016, McNamara died in her sleep. It was later announced that her cause of death was an undiagnosed heart condition, coupled with an accidental overdose of her prescription medication.
After her death, McNamara’s widower carried on with her work, hiring two of McNamara’s colleagues to help him finish the book. The result was the non-fiction book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, released on February 27, 2018. (I listened to it on CD; it was a good listen.)
In great part due to McNamara’s efforts, the police put renewed effort into solving the case. On April 25, 2018, police arrested a suspect in the case, citing a DNA match with evidence collected in the investigation. And he’s getting no more publicity from me.
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