Why genealogy tests will ‘send a lot more people to jail’ in 2019

Police added a new tool to their investigative options when they used DNA ancestry data to capture Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo. Image credit: Reuters

In April [2018], a citizen scientist named Barbara Rae-Venter used a little-known genealogy website called GEDMatch to help investigators find a man they’d been looking for for nearly 40 years: The Golden State Killer. In the months since, law enforcement agencies across the country have flocked to the technique, arresting a flurry of more than 20 people tied to some of the most notorious cold cases of the last five decades. Far from being a forensic anomaly, genetic genealogy is quickly on its way to becoming a routine police procedure.

GEDMatch is becoming even more powerful, as it grows by nearly a thousand new uploads every day. And with hundreds more cases currently in the hands of full-time family-tree builders, one thing’s for sure: In 2019, genealogy is going to send a lot more people to jail.

Related article:  ‘Game changer’ for genetic privacy: Court forces GEDmatch to open its million-person genealogy database to police scrutiny


As an example, [Rae-Venter] points to the arrest in September of the man believed to be the NorCal Rapist, another serial offender who terrorized victims in six California counties over a 15-year period beginning in 1991. Detectives from the Sacramento District Attorney’s office, who Rae-Venter had trained, uploaded a genetic profile of the suspect and built out family trees on their own. According to the DA’s office, they singled out the man arrested, Roy Charles Waller, in just 10 days.

Read full, original post: The future of crime-fighting is family tree forensics

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