Michelle McNamara was an American writer who is rated as one of the best among some of the recent eminent crime writers and bloggers. She finished graduation from the University of Notre Dame and later pursued MFA from the University of Minnesota. Michelle grew up in Illinois and later on moved to Los Angeles for career purpose. She was well known for her website ‘True Crime Diary’, which reflected her passion for reporting on crime. McNamara was one of the most passionate crime writers who reportedly got hooked to investigating and writing about criminal cases since a young age. It all began with the murder mystery of her neighbour; Kathleen Lombardo, which happened two blocks away from where she lived then. McNamara is well known for her avid involvement in the ‘Golden State Killer’ case which revolved around the ‘Original Night Stalker’ and ‘East Area Rapist’. The usage of the term ‘Golden State Killer’ by the Californian authorities speaks a lot about the impact of her research on the case.
In 1997, after graduation Michelle McNamara moved to Los Angeles to work as a writer in the film and Film and TV Industry. Her longtime fascination and inquisitiveness towards studying and researching true crime made her launch her website named ‘TrueCrimeDiary’, in 2006. The ‘Golden State Killer’ case drew her attention, and she reported several accounts of it in the ‘Los Angeles’ magazine in 2013 and 2014.
Around the same time, ‘SXSW Interactive panel’named ‘Citizen Dicks: Solving Murders with Social Media’ invited her along with her long-time friend and true crime journalist, Billy Jensen, for crime-related discussions. Based on the evidence by the Californian authorities, on the linked DNA profile that connected the ‘East Area Rapist’ and ‘Original Night Stalker’, it was Michelle who coined the term ‘Golden State Killer’. ‘Harper Collins’ rewarded her with a book deal on the same and she began her work on the case.
Due to her untimely death, she could not conclude the project which was then updated and completed by her husband, Patton Oswalt, and crime writer, Paul Haynes. ‘Harper Collins’ posthumously launched the book entitled, ‘I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer’, on February 27, 2018. The book earned number ‘2’ ranking in the ‘New York Times Best Seller List’ in the nonfiction genre and the topmost in the combined e-book and print in nonfiction.
HBO announced a documentary series based on the book on April 2018 and is being directed by notable American documentary filmmaker; Liz Garbus. Californian authorities arrested the alleged ‘Golden State Killer’ known as James DeAngelo on April 25, 2018.
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Michelle McNamara died in her Los Angeles home on April 21, 2016, under strange circumstances precisely one week after her 46th birthday. She was suffering from Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The autopsy report revealed that accidental overdose of various drugs including Xanax, Adderall, Fentanyl, and amphetamines led to her death.
The research regarding the case was consuming her psychologically which was later reported by her husband and can also be read in her book mentioned in her own words. All that stress probably worsened her health and resulted in insomnia too.
Michelle McNamara was born on April 14, 1970, into an Irish-American family. Her father, Thomas W. McNamara, a trial lawyer by profession and her mother, Rita McNamara, was a homemaker. She was the youngest among her four sisters and a brother.
Michelle grew up in Oak Park, Illinois and went to St. Edmunds in Oak Park for elementary schooling and later on moved to William Beye Elementary. She graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. Later on, she did MFA from the University of Minnesota in Creative Writing.
Michelle married Patton Oswalt on September 24, 2005, and they had a daughter, Alice, on April 15, 2009.