Local sleuths, inspired by crime writer, aimed to solve Golden State Killer case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The suspect has a lot of names: Visalia ransacker; East Area Rapist; Original Night Stalker. We now know him as the Golden State Killer, a nickname coined by late author Michelle McNamara in her best-seller, "I'll Be Gone In The Dark."

"I wanted to know more, so from there I ended up purchasing multiple books by retired detectives and purchased others from true crime writers and listened to podcasts and went online and ended up consuming really all the information there is," said Tom Frawley of San Francisco who is one of many fascinated by the Golden State Killer case.

WATCH: ABC7 Presents 'Chasing the Golden State Killer'

"I cleared my schedule and I literally read as much as I could about the potential criminal who was involved in this," he said.

Why exactly are people like Tom so fascinated by this case? It turns out that maybe, we are conditioned to be fascinated from childhood.

"Let's remind ourselves of those nursery rhymes from days gone by, Lizzie Borden takes an ax, doing the worst thing possible to her family members," said Greg Woods, a San Jose State professor who believes the theory by criminologist Dr. Scott Bonn that humans are drawn to the rare and exotic, like natural disasters.

PARALLEL PATHS: Tracking Joseph DeAngelo and the Golden State Killer

Serial killers are their human equivalent.

He associates serial killers and serial offenders for their appeal because of deviant behavior. It's the same appeal that we would have watching Shark Week.

That's a reassuring tidbit for Frawley's wife, who doesn't share the same enthusiasm for his true crime research.

"I wouldn't say she finds me excessive. I would say she finds this hobby a little weird and a little unique," Frawley added. "She also understands the need to know who the killer ultimately is."

See more stories, photos, and video on the Golden State Killer.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.