New era hunting serial killers as police use new technology.
And it’s all due to advances in DNA technology and new databases.
All of it means a revolution is taking place solving cold case murders.
So police are closing cold cases that are decades old.
Police are using DNA samples and genealogy to solve these cases.
The techniques police are using is known as forensic genealogy.
It first came into the public forefront with the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo.
The 72-year old retired cop was thought to be the Golden State Killer.
He was suspected of being a serial killer – committing at least 12 murders.
As well 50 rapes and 100 burglaries were thought to have been committed by the Golden State Killer.
This happened over a 12-year-period from 1974 to 1986.
New Era Hunting Serial Killers
On April 24 police charged DeAngelo with eight counts of first-degree murder.
The charges came to be based on forensic genealogy.
And in large part due to the efforts of Paul Holes.
He had been on the case since the late 1990s.
He was then a deputy sheriff in California’s Contra Costa County.
“I started working on this case as a hobby,” he says.
“Nobody ever assigned this case to me; I just decided, ‘I’m going to take this and run with it.’ It just snowballed over the years until I was obsessed, to be frank, with getting this solved.”
Police had a master suspect list of 8,000 people.
But DeAngelo’s name was not on it.
It was only when forensic genealogy came into play that DeAngelo entered the picture.
“Cold cases, I can’t say they will be a thing of the past entirely, but if there is biological material available on a cold case, there’s a very high likelihood that it can and will be resolved,” says CeCe Moore, a prominent genealogist.