The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist or the Original Night Stalker, was finally revealed to be Joseph James DeAngelo when he was charged and arrested for his various crimes in April of 2018. When his true identity was exposed, it was speculated that he was driven to rape and murder dozens of innocent people because of his undying hatred for his ex-fiancee – a blogger who went into hiding soon after he was charged. But, no more. Bonnie Colwell, now Bonnie Ueltzen, finally came out to tell her story to the world via the HBO original ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark‘ and during his sentencing hearing this week.
Who Is Bonnie Ueltzen?
Bonnie Jean Ueltzen was just 18-years-old when she started dating Joseph James DeAngelo. At that time, though, she had no idea of what he was capable of. In August of 1968, Joseph started attending Sierra College in Rocklin, 20 miles from Sacramento, to study law enforcement, and in 1969, he met and began dating Bonnie, who was in nursing. For about a year everything was perfect; he was kind, generous, and outgoing, and so when he gave her a solitaire engagement ring in May of 1970 and told her that they were going to get married, she said okay. Soon after that, however, everything changed for the worse.
Bonnie was a rule follower, but Joseph, along with being possessive and ambitious, craved adrenaline. He took her hunting without a license, made her spear-fish illegally, and also made her cross into a no trespassing zone at night with him. While they dated, she saw him handle a .22 rifle with ease to kill several animals. And so, she started fearing him. There were a couple more incidents, but Bonnie’s breaking point arrived when he asked her to cheat for him in a subject that he was failing. She refused, and when he kept pressing her and said that she owed him, she broke off their engagement, gave him back his ring, and walked away.
Two weeks went by, and then suddenly, at around 2 or 3 in the morning, Bonnie woke up to what sounded like knocks on her bedroom window. When she pulled back the curtains, she saw Joseph, who immediately ordered her to get dressed so that they could go to Reno and get married that night. He had a gun in his hand, which he was pointing at her. But since she still lived at home at the time, she was able to wake her father up and tell him what was happening. He asked her to hide in the bathroom and went to talk to Joseph.
Her father never told her what transpired between him and the Golden State Killer, but as Bonnie never saw her ex-fiance again, she never bothered to ask much about it either. It is believed that GSK’s heartbreak and hatred for his ex might have been what broke him for good and led him to go on his rape/crime rampage. His repeated cries of “I hate you, Bonnie” during one of his sexual assaults can only be proof of it.
Where Is Bonnie Now?
Bonnie Jean Colwell eventually went on to marry another man, one who cared for her and loved her in the way she deserved and became Bonnie Ueltzen. She has spent most of her adult life in Sacramento, California, and that’s where she still resides. After Joseph’s arrest, Bonnie’s story, her face, and her identity was plastered everywhere, so much so, that she has said that it felt like an invasion of her privacy. There were even satellite cameras over her home. This was only made worse because she started to feel haunted by her ex-fiance all over again.
But now, she has faced him head-on, and will hopefully never have to see him again. On August 19, 2020, – two days before Joseph DeAngelo is expected to be sentenced to life in prison – during his sentence hearing, his survivors and their family members read impact statements to him in the courtroom. One such survivor was Jane Carson-Sandler, who was bound, raped, and terrorized by him in October 1976. And, her guest was none other than Bonnie. The latter wasn’t allowed to speak directly to the confessed killer, but she conveyed her message via Jane.
“If Bonnie were able to speak Joe, she would want you to know that as just a teenager 50 years ago, she broke her engagement to you when she realized that you had become manipulative and abusive,” Jane said. “Even a gun pointed at her face could not make her choose you.” As Jane addressed the serial killer, Bonnie, standing in the front row, removed her mask and looked her ex-fiance right in the eye to make her feelings clear. She wanted him to realize that he will never have that sort of control or power over anyone ever again.
Read More: Golden State Killer’s Family