Updates in DNA Matching Help Investigators Solve the 40-Year-Old Case of the Golden State Killer.

By Maya Mellberg

September 21, 2020

   After 40 years on the loose, the Golden State Killer has been identified as Joseph James DeAngelo and has been given multiple life sentences for his numerous murderers, rapes, and burglaries that terrorized California between 1973-1986. Investigators were able to discover the notorious killer with the use of online genetic DNA matching systems such as GEDmatch.

    Joseph James DeAngelo began his 13-year crime spree in 1973, as he moved across the state of California taking a minimum of 13 murder victims, 50 rape victims, and 120 burglaries. Originally investigators believed that these were the crimes of multiple different men, but as DNA testing further developed they were able to match the numerous different samples from the countless crime scenes to a single person. Although the identity of this man was still unknown. 

     For over forty years, his identity was a mystery, until the recent DNA sharing companies allowed investigators to submit and connect his DNA to potential family members. Investigators were able to directly relate the DNA to the great-great-great-great-grandfather of the unknown killer. Then through the creation of multiple family trees, they connected the DNA back to previous potential suspect DeAngelo. These technological advancements have greatly aided in the capture of multiple criminals. Without this new technology, he would have continued to live without consequences for his heinous crimes. DeAngelo received multiple life sentences without parole on August 21, 2020. 

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