By Cheri Mossburg, CNN
(CNN/KDKA) — The man who police say is the Golden State Killer was found using DNA-matching information from genealogy websites, according to the Sacramento District Attorney’s office.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi confirmed the news, first reported by the Sacramento Bee, that investigators used crime scene DNA and matched it to a relative who was registered on genealogy sites and narrowed down possible suspects using that person’s family history.
Grippi told CNN that other details in the Bee report are “accurate.” Shaun Hampton, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s department spokesman, also told CNN that investigators used sites that collect DNA information.
KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland has more from local professionals:
The Sacramento Bee report didn’t say which genealogy websites might have been involved. Four companies contacted by CNN denied having any connection to the case. Ancestry, Vitagene, MyHeritage and 23andMe said they didn’t provide customer information to law enforcement officials.
An investigation that lasted more than four decades led authorities to Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who was arrested Tuesday evening in a Sacramento suburb after detectives matched his DNA to evidence from the investigation, police said.
DeAngelo is accused of being the man who killed 12 people and raped more than 50 women in the 1970s and 1980s. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday for two of the slayings in Sacramento County.
Investigators used information stored by websites that accept DNA samples in order to provide information about family histories, the Bee reported.
“There’s so many DNA out there. There is a site in Florida called GED Match and that allows people to put their DNA on the website and it’s open to the public,” said Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams.
The detectives would find family trees that appeared to be a match to DNA they had for the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist. The investigators would look at the people listed on the tree and see whether any of them could be a suspect, the newspaper said.
DeAngelo lived in the area where the crimes were committed and was about the right age, the Bee reported.
Detectives matched a discarded DNA sample from his home to DNA evidence from the investigation, authorities said Wednesday.
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