The future of ‘genetic genealogy’ crime solving

| | May 24, 2018
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William Earl Talbott II. Image credit: Andy Bronson / The Herald
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Just three weeks ago, law enforcement in California announced the arrest of the Golden State Killer using DNA.

On Friday, police in Washington State announced the arrest of William Earl Talbott II for a double murder in 1987, and this time, they proudly announced the use of the same method of tracing distant relatives through DNA a field known as genetic genealogy.

On May 8, [Parabon NanoLabs] announced the creation of a new genetic-genealogy unit led by [genealogist CeCe] Moore. The company recently told BuzzFeed it had uploaded DNA from about 100 crime scenes to, with about 20 of them generating matches of a third cousin or closer.

In the double murder in Washington State, the suspect’s DNA matched two relatives, both fairly close by the standards of this research: a second cousin and a half–first cousin once removed. The former relative was on the mother’s side, the latter the father’s side, so the suspect was not hard to identify. “No cases are easy, but when they are straightforward, it really falls into place very quickly,” says Moore.

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The strangest part of this story may be that a small, volunteer-run website,, has become, as the genealogist Debbie Kennet has similarly observed, the de facto DNA and genealogy database for all of law enforcement.

Read full, original post: The Coming Wave of Murders Solved by Genealogy

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