Investigators used genealogy database to ID Golden State Killer suspect

Investigators identified the suspect in the so-called Golden State Killer case using genetic information from a relative that was available on a genealogical website.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said that DNA found at a crime scene was compared to the genetic profiles on websites for people who want to learn about their family backgrounds, according to The New York Times.

“We found a person that was the right age and lived in this area — and that was Mr. DeAngelo,” Grippi said.


Police arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, on Tuesday. The former police officer is accused of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders, dating back to the 1970s.

Law enforcement said their case began to focus on DeAngelo last Thursday and that they then began to surveil him, The Sacramento Bee reported.

They obtained his DNA from an item he discarded and then compared it to the DNA collected at a crime scene.

That sample came back as a positive match, as did a second sample obtained by the Sacramento district attorney’s office.

The "Golden State Killer" — also known as the "East Area Rapist" and the "Original Night Stalker" — is believed to have committed multiple rapes and murders between 1976 and 1986.