DNA from genealogy site caught serial killer
Golden State Killer linked to other unsolved murders
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — More than three decades after his trail went cold, one of California’s most prolific serial killers and rapists was caught by using online genealogical sites to find a DNA match, prosecutors said Thursday.
Investigators compared the DNA collected from a crime scene of the Golden State Killer to online genetic profiles and found a match: a relative of the man police have identified as Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who was arrested at his suburban Sacramento home on Tuesday.
Authorities didn’t give the name of the site, one of many that allows people to send in their DNA and find long-lost relatives, like Ancestry and 23andMe.
They also didn’t outline the rest of the investigative process — how they used that match to home in on DeAngelo, the former police officer accused of being California’s notorious Golden State Killer. Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, DeAngelo’s name had not been on the radar of law enforcement before last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
Contacted Thursday, both Ancestry and 23andMe.com said they weren’t involved in the case.
Investigators also revealed Thursday that DeAngelo is the prime suspect in the 1975 killing of a community college teacher, raising the total number of his alleged victims to 13.
Detectives are trying to link Joseph DeAngelo to the slaying and about 100 burglaries that occurred in Visalia, in Central California, while DeAngelo served as a police officer in nearby Exeter, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said.
The police chief said he believes DeAngelo is the so-called Visalia Ransacker, who terrorized the farming community about 40 miles south of Fresno from early 1974 until late 1975.
Authorities alleged that he was responsible for 12 murders and dozens of rapes in California from 1976 to 1986. The suspect, they said, was tied to many of those crimes through DNA.
The Ransackers’ crimes have not yet been added to that tally.