View Full Version : how the Golden State Killer was found: A covert operation and private DNA

12-08-2020, 05:32 PM
The untold story of how the Golden State Killer was found: A covert operation and private DNA
By PAIGE ST. JOHN in the LA Times (subscription required)
The dramatic arrest in 2018 of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. was all the more astounding because of how detectives said they caught the elusive Golden State Killer— by harnessing genetic technology already in use by millions of consumers to trace their family trees.

But the DNA-matching effort that caught one of America’s most notorious serial killers was more extensive than previously disclosed and involved covert searches of private DNA housed by two for-profit companies despite privacy policies, according to interviews and court discovery records accessed by The Times.

The revelations are likely to heighten debate about genetic privacy and the self-policing models of testing companies, as well as law enforcement access.
When DeAngelo was arrested, prosecutors would say only that they had used family tree searches to find relatives of the killer and, from there, identified DeAngelo. Shortly after, a detective confirmed the investigative team had uploaded semen from a rape kit to develop a fresh DNA profile that was then uploaded to GEDmatch, an open-source platform frequently used by members of the public to trace their heritage.

What prosecutors did not disclose is that genetic material from the rape kit was first sent to FamilyTreeDNA, which created a DNA profile and allowed law enforcement to set up a fake account to search for matching customers. When that produced only distant leads, a civilian geneticist working with investigators uploaded the forensic profile on MyHeritage. It was the MyHeritage search that identified the close relative who helped break the case.

12-08-2020, 08:03 PM
I hope this way they will eventually find out the Zodiac and the responsible for the Chicago Tylenol murders, among others. It definitely will help to solve many crimes.

12-08-2020, 08:12 PM
I have read a lot about this guy and I find it amazing (frankly almost hard to believe) that his early weird and threatening behaviour didnt ring any bells when several people came to the conclusion, prior to the DNA, that he may well have been a local cop or ex-cop. Certainly with hindsight he showed a lot of very alarming signs in his younger life.

01-04-2021, 08:34 AM
Murderers must receive the highest sentence!