The recent arrest of a man suspected in a decades-old cold case has sparked all kinds of conversations about how the DNA collected by genealogy websites might help investigators solve other cold case crimes.
For over 40 years, the serial killer known as the Golden State Killer has managed to avoid police detection. In April 2018, authorities finally arrested a suspect for the brutal crime spree that began in 1976 and left at least 12 people dead in California. The suspect, 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo, is a former police officer who was arrested after law enforcement compared DNA from one of the crime scenes to DNA that one of DeAngelo’s relatives gave to an ancestry website.
Popular ancestry sites 23andMe and Ancestry both denied involvement in the case. A spokesperson for 23andMe said that it is “our policy to resist law enforcement inquiries to protect customer privacy.” Ancestry representatives said their company “advocates for its members’ privacy and will not share any information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process.”
True crime buffs are excited about the possibility of more infamous cold cases now being solved. The case that has been talked about the most are the unsolved murders of the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Time will tell…