DNA Evidence Helps Investigators Catch The Golden State Killer

Allie Boyle, Reporter

The infamous Golden State Killer was found through DNA testing when a woman from Rexburg, Idaho took her dad’s DNA, and ended up helping investigators find her distant cousin Joseph DeAngelo who was suspected to be the Golden State Killer, killing 11 people and raping 50 women from 1978-1986 in California.

DeAngelo’s DNA matched the father’s YDNA, making a connection between him and the serial killer. YDNA goes from father to son and is solely found in the direct paternal line.

“The male line can go back 20 to 30 generations,” the woman said in a Idaho State Journal article. “Having a 12 marker match, they don’t share the same surname. It’s way up in the tree. It was because of that test and that rare genetic marker, that the FBI initially thought my dad was the killer.”

The FBI first got the father’s DNA from a shared webpage, using DNA from the killer’s crime scenes, and linked it to the woman’s father’s DNA. The Police also thought that the father was the killer at first because they had such similar traits but it was proven that he was not.

In April, the woman got a phone call from the FBI saying that her father was not the killer. In the meantime, the FBI went to the genealogy website GEDMatch, where they found a match that led to DeAngelo.

“I think that’s why my dad is here. All these years later, this DNA helped to solve a murder. We did help in the search, but we didn’t solve the crime,” the woman said.