How a genealogy site led to the front door of the golden state killer suspect – station finder gas in oil tank

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Those who had investigated the case for years in vain were ecstatic by the sudden breakthrough. “He was totally off the radar till just a week ago, and it was a lead they got, somehow they got information and through checking family or descendants — it was pretty complicated the way they did it — they were able to get him on the radar,” said Ray Biondi, 81, who was the lieutenant in charge of the homicide bureau of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department during the crime spree.

The big players in commercial DNA testing — including 23andMe and AncestryDNA — extract genetic profiles from the saliva that customers send to the company in a tube by mail. It would not be easy for law enforcement to upload a profile to one of those sites. Over the past few years, numerous smaller genealogical websites have emerged, however, giving customers more avenues to upload a DNA profile and search for relatives.

If law enforcement located the suspect through a genealogy site, it could raise ethical issues, particularly if individuals did not consent to having their genetic profiles searched against crime scene evidence. GEDmatch said in its statement that it had warned those who used its site that the genetic information could be used for other purposes. “If you are concerned about non-geneatological uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded,” the statement said.

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, tormented his victims with sadistic rituals. Some he shot and killed with a firearm. Others were bludgeoned to death with whatever he could find — in one case a piece of firewood. He had many trademarks: He wore a mask, he bound his victims’ hands. He started by raping single women and then went on to raping married women with their husbands present, before killing them both.

Ms. Schubert has been central to the efforts to find the killer. Her childhood in the Sacramento suburb of Arden-Arcade, just miles from where the suspect prowled through houses and raped women, was marked by the terror of wondering if she or people she knew might be next. Video Suspect Arrested in Golden State Killer Case

Monica Miller, who was in charge of the Sacramento F.B.I. field office from 2013 to 2017, said that when she retired, the case of the Golden State Killer was cold. She said that Ms. Schubert, “was central in leading this, convincing people this was worth pursuing.” For the people of Sacramento, she added, “it was almost an open wound. People would still talk about it. He was a phantom or a ghost in people’s minds.”

In her career as a district attorney, Ms. Schubert championed DNA technology and taught courses about cold cases, creating a unit in the Sacramento district attorney’s office to pursue them. Eighteen years ago she reached out to an investigator from Contra Costa County who specialized in the East Area Rapist, beginning a collaboration to re-energize the case.

Two years ago she convened a task force on the 40th anniversary of the attacks in the Sacramento suburbs. It was the work of that group — a collaboration with counties in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the F.B.I. — that helped solve the case, Ms. Schubert said.

Many questions remain about the suspect. Did his family or his former colleagues have hints about his grisly past? Why did he appear to stop his spree of rapes and murders in 1986? Did he leverage his job as a police officer to elude detection?

All of these questions swirled in conversations among residents of Citrus Heights, Mr. DeAngelo’s neighborhood. They awoke on Wednesday shocked to find that their neighbor, a man who liked to tinker with his motorcycle in front of his neat beige stucco house, had been accused of being one of America’s most notorious serial rapists.